Tag Archives: Job & Career Education Center

Nearest Burning Building

When you do something for a very long time, walking away becomes a big deal. I’ve been a librarian for nineteen years, more than seventeen of those with CLP. At some point in 2013, I realized I wanted to make a change. Luckily I had the resources of our amazing Job & Career Education Center to guide my research into a new vocation. While I always dreamed of pursuing a career in EMS, the career tools there solidified my decision making process.

After twenty months of tests, trials, and waiting, I have earned a place in the January 2016 class at the Pittsburgh Fire Department training academy. In eight months I will be fireman and fulfill a lifelong dream of mine.

I did not get here by magic. After making my decision to switch careers I set about training and reshaping my mind and body for the rigors of the academy’s mental and physical entry exams. This included brushing up on my mathematics. I also read about and developed new training routines to test and challenge myself. This was tough and lonely work. I needed breaks from time to time to recharge. Relaxing meant hiking, and I found plenty of material at CLP to help me with that too. I’ve also vigorously pursued the art of haiku.

The academy is a full-time commitment. This means I will be leaving CLP as a full-time employee effective after the first week of the new year. I will miss it. I will miss my work comrades and the patrons we so diligently serve. Writing for Eleventh Stack and working with its crew of crack library bloggers represents one of my proudest accomplishments at CLP. I’ve been with the blog since near its beginning, and I care deeply for it and the people who work so hard to make it great.

If I can I will try to keep my hand in the library business part-time, and maybe even write a blog post or two from the firehouse. You won’t “see” much of me for a while, that’s for certain.

I did not make this journey alone. Many people helped me get here. You know who you are. Thank you. And thanks to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh for being my home away from home for the last seventeen years. In the meantime if you need me, check the nearest burning building.  

–Scott P.


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Job and Career Education Center

Did you know the library has an entire department devoted to job hunting, career development, higher education, and test preparation?  No matter where you are in your working life, the Job and Career Education Center (JCEC) has something to help you.

Whether you’re wondering what you should be when you grow up, or researching what it would take to switch to a new career, we can help you narrow things down.  A good way to start is to take some career aptitude tests, like the Pennsylvania Department of Labor’s Career Guide.  (I took this quiz a few years ago, and it told me the career I was most suited to was… librarian!  Of course, your results may vary, and are only to be used as a starting point.)

Once you know some specific careers you might be interested in, you can research them in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.  Here, you will see what training and education you might need to become qualified, what the actual work is like on a daily basis, and what you can expect in terms of job openings and salary. 

Or, if you don’t like any of the suggested careers, we have books like “Careers for Night Owls and Other Insomiacs” that explore a range of careers that might be appropriate to your interests and abilities.

At some point in your job hunt, you may have to take a standardized test.  Whether you’re studying for the SATs or the firefighter’s exam, we’ll have something to help you.  And if we don’t have a physical copy of the book on our shelves, we may have access to a full-text version online through the Testing and Education Reference Center

If you need more education before you’re ready for your dream job, the JCEC can show you how to research schools, prepare your application, and look for financial aid.  (If you’re looking for a trade school or apprenticeship, we can help with that too!)

When it’s finally time to apply for that dream job, come brush up on writing resumes and cover letters, interviewing, and other aspects of the job hunt.  Then search for job postings through the “Finding a Job” section of the JCEC’s website

This is only the beginning of what the JCEC has to offer.  Whether you have a specific problem or question, or you’re not even sure what your next step is, stop by the JCEC and chat with a librarian.


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“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

A forerunner of the current “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” this Depression era sing-songy phrase describes the way many folks are learning to manage their money during the current recession. Television, cable, clothes dryer, car — things that used to seem essential are open to redefinition as luxuries.


Repository: The New York Public Library. New York Public Library Archives.

You already know that the library helps fill gaps caused by a reduced family budget: borrow rather than rent films; check books out instead of buying them. CLP also provides important services. At Main we host literacy classes of the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council. Our library workers teach beginning computer skills, assist with job searches in our Job & Career Education Center, and provide homework help to children, teen, college, and adult learners. Some of these services take the form of scheduled programs, but everyday we work with library patrons individually, helping not only answer questions, but sometimes, and more importantly, formulating questions.

Our library is busier than ever. More people need more help. It’s a pattern libraries have seen before. The following paragraph from another urban library’s Web site could describe any Depression-era city library.

The Depression pummeled The Seattle Public Library. Jobless men seeking refuge crowded into the Central Library. Those looking for work or diversion snapped up library books at unprecedented levels, sending circulation past 4 million for the first time in 1932. Yet, at the same time, Library budgets shrunk precipitously, forcing layoffs of employees and termination of programs. The Library was caught in a painful double bind seen during tough economic times – soaring demands and evaporating resources.

Our library’s story mirrors the plight of libraries during the Great Depression. Governor Rendell’s proposed 2009-2010 budget cuts 5.1% from state support for library services. This includes a 2.3% cut to local libraries, as well as significant cuts to such services as shared databases (POWER Library), interlibrary loan, and Ask Here PA, the state’s virtual reference service.

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

Use the library. Wear out our books. But don’t do without us. You can help raise awareness of your library’s vital community role. We need your help to restore funding for public libraries to 2008-2009 levels. Please visit CLP’s Advocacy Web page  to learn how you can help.

Thank you!


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