By Randi Thompson
I attended the Chamber’s business summit last week and found a host of great resources that support employers and employees. One of the more interesting conversations was with a woman from the Washoe County Library System. She told me of the many services they offer business owners and job seekers alike, including job training data bases, resume writing, computer skills classes, and a new program call Maker Space, which is a place for people to gather to create, invent and learn.
I gotta tell ya, folks, this is not the library system of my grade school days!
She also told me of the resources they have for folks like me who are self employed and work from home – meeting and working space with free Wi-Fi! I decided to check out my local library and headed down to the main branch on Center Street.
I must say that building is still one of the most architecturally- fascinating structures in all of Reno. The open space, the “floating” pods of sitting areas, the plants that seem suspended, and the beautiful stone work all create such an elegant and yet approachable space. I felt a bit guilty that I had not visited for so many years!
After renewing my library card, I went downstairs and found a table where I did some work in peace and quiet. The folks around me were courteous and respectful, and no one was talking loudly on their phone as is often the case at a coffee shop.
There are few options for folks who work out of their home but would still like to have an office downtown for meetings and gatherings. Of course there are coffee shops like Starbucks that provide free Wi-Fi and let you sit for hours, but too often there is someone chatting loudly on their phone. And there are places like the Bosma Business Center, which offers office and meeting space for a reasonable monthly fee.
But I have to admit, a library was not on my list of working spaces. Yet there are branches all around town that are free, quiet and full of resources you won’t find elsewhere – like their tech cafes. You can take your mobile device to the Downtown, Spanish Springs or South Valleys branches and get help with your device. They’ll also set up your device to access their e-books system. Yes, you can check out an e-book!
I am really impressed with the resources the library has online for folks who want to improve their professional skills. They have access to training programs that teach business, technology and creative skills to help you reach professional goals, as well as programs that offer career certification and license preparation exams.
Yes, you can still check out books, CDs and other reading materials, but our libraries are so much more. Kudos to our library leaders for making libraries so relevant! And do yourself a favor and check out your library system at WashoeCountyLibrary.us.
Randi Thompson is a public and government relations consultant. You can contact her at RandiThompson.com.