May 20th, 2011

Libraries: Creating a Better Future for Our County and Citizens

Denise READ PosterWhen I came to Cecil County to lead our public library system in 2001, the community was examining how best to lay a foundation for the success and well-being of our citizens, communities, and businesses in the 21st century.   One of the strongest messages was that our economic success would be based in large part on the quality of our county’s education system.   In the 21st century, businesses that offer good salaries and benefits would locate in counties where the workforce is educated and engaged in lifelong learning.  Those well-educated employees would demand the best of their county’s educational institutions for themselves and their families.  Although the recession set us back, it is not a reason to give up on our aspirations.

As we now emerge from recession, my hope is that we can reflect on the valuable insights of those discussions and, as part of our plan to facilitate strong economic and community advancement, protect funding for education.

One of the strengths of public libraries is how quickly they can adapt their educational services to any era to give our citizens and communities an edge.  Literally tens of thousands of Cecil County citizens are using Cecil County Public Library for exactly that reason today.  We have focused intently on job and career skills, teaching basic computer usage for the newly unemployed, and giving our small businesses a competitive advantage as they work to survive and grow.  And we have reinforced our outreach to our community’s children – introducing them to the powerful library services that underwrite success in school, work and life.  These are the kinds of services we mean when we say lifelong learning.

Cecil County Public Library now has 55,900 active users.  Library usage continues to grow.  I am very proud of how much value we provide to so many citizens with just 2.7% of the county budget.

Cecil County citizens care deeply about their public library.  In 2010, more than 1,000 of our citizens wrote to the County Commissioners telling them why their public library system is a lifeline for themselves, their families, and their communities, and many are writing once again.  Several Cecil County business owners have written the County Commissioners this year about how the library’s high quality business reference services were critical to their opening and growing small businesses in Cecil County.  One new business now has 15 employees!

We take the economic challenges of the recession very seriously.  Our library budget has been essentially flat for two years.  During that time, we have eliminated about 5% of our positions—a percentage comparable to other education agencies, renegotiated contracts, raised fines and fees, and eliminated an entire service, “This Way to Books.”   But we have preserved the quality of our library’s educational services, our book budget, and the hours of operation in every branch by working harder and smarter, as well as squeezing budget lines.

The proposed county budget would reduce public library funding by 4%.  We really hope to avoid that cut.  We ask that the County Commissioners restore half the reduction in library funding.  If the Commissioners can take that step, we can develop a Fiscal Year 2012 budget that preserves our book budget at the FY 2011 level.   I sincerely thank them for their efforts, and I pledge that the library will continue to make a difference, creating a better future for our county and its citizens.

Denise Davis is the director of the Cecil County Public Library system. Contact her at ddavis@ccplnet.org.


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October 20th, 2009

Need Help with Your Resume?

Resume Myth #1: Your resume should be no longer than one page.

Resume Myth #2: Always include your references in your resume.

Resume Myth #3: One solid resume is all you need.

When it comes to resumes, the rules are always changing.  For instance, job-seekers were once instructed to limit their resumes to a single page—tough when you have years of experience in your field.  The new rule?  Multi-page resumes are totally acceptable.  Used to including a list of references in your resume?  No longer necessary, not to mention a waste of precious space.  And that last myth may be a disappointment to some—while a one-size-fits-all resume used to be the norm, resumes that are targeted to specific positions and companies are king, especially as more employers go online to connect with job seekers.

Having trouble keeping up?  Never fear!  CCPL’s free Resume Review service is here to help you give your resume the added punch and professionalism that will help get you noticed.  Launched in August 2009, Resume Review has helped a number of Cecil Countians perfect their resumes by providing feedback on formatting, spelling, grammar, and overall effectiveness, as well as suggestions for improvement.  How does it work?  Simply email your completed resume to resumereview@ccplnet.org as a Microsoft Word attachment and within two weeks, our trained staff will review and return your resume with comments and suggestions that will help move your resume from the “NO” to the “YES!” pile.

In addition to Resume Review, CCPL offers a number of free classes and resources for today’s job-seekers.  Whether you’ve recently been laid off, are returning to work after years as a stay-at-home mom, or simply looking for a career change, we can help.  In addition to offering courses that will help bring your computer skills up to par, we also provide two classes specifically geared toward job-seekers:  Job Search Smart and Resume Rescue.  Click here to see upcoming dates for these classes, or contact your local branch.

Explored our website lately?  Check out this list of resources for job-seekers, which includes tips and guides as well as links to online job-search sites.  And last, don’t forget that your library system houses an award-winning Small Business and Information Center where you can receive free information and individual assistance for starting or growing your small business.

Whatever your situation, CCPL has the resources and expertise to help put you on the fast track to professional success!


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