Library Spurs Successful Job Search
Juan Campos left the Navy after six years of active duty in 2009, he was confident his experience had prepared him for future success. He had traveled the world, gaining valuable leadership, team work and time management skills as a certified cook. Juan moved back to San Diego to be closer to his family and began what was to become a year and a half search for employment.
“I had worked hard in the Navy and never imagined it would be so difficult to get a job,” says Juan. “I was so worried about the future – not just for myself but for my family and fiancé.”
As time went on, Juan went through most of the money he had saved while enlisted. He began to struggle financially, worrying about paying for necessities, supporting himself and his fiancé and was constantly on the verge of eviction.
“I was going door‐to-door inquiring if local businesses had open positions, but everyone told me I needed to apply online,” says Juan, who had been forced to give up his phone and computer to save money. “I had not been to the library since I was a young kid in school, but I decided to get a card to use the computers.”
Juan began visiting the San Ysidro Branch Library in early 2010. At the time, the library had only seven Internet computer workstations for adults. Juan would often line up an hour before the library opened, only to wait another hour for a computer once inside.
“There were limits on how long we could use a computer because there was always a line of people waiting,” says Juan. “I would take my time filling out applications since I wanted everything to be perfect. Sometimes I was not able to submit even one application before my time was up.”
In December 2010, thanks to a generous gift from donors Lloyd and Caroline de Llamas, the San Ysidro Branch Library added 11 additional Internet computer workstations for adults and six for children, allowing Juan more time to complete his online job searches. Juan also began reaching out to library staff for help in everything from formatting his resume to proofreading his online applications and helping him prepare for interviews.
“We see more than 100 computer users each day and a majority of this usage is job related,” says San Ysidro Branch Library Assistant Elaine Arcelona. “Library patrons like Juan heavily depend on the computer resources for filling out applications, communicating with potential employers and researching Cal-jobs and unemployment.”
In October of 2011 Juan was offered a job with Levi Strauss & Co. He is thankful the library was there for him when he needed it the most. “It is always darkest before the dawn,” he reflects. And, now that he working, he encourages other job seekers to visit their library.
“I would tell any job seeker to check out their library,” says Juan, who continues to regularly visit the library to check out movies and books and access the Internet. “You will be surprised how much it has to offer. And the librarians know everything – anytime I had a question they were there to help me.”