From left, Nicole Thode, library manager for Yelm Timberland Library, and Elizabeth Kalen, library associate, fetch information for one of the library's many guests and members.

Daniel Warn

For a library that hosts yoga events, book clubs and a plethora of children’s activities, Yelm Timberland Library hasn’t lost track of some of its most vulnerable community members.

Nicole Thode, library manager, said the library is always looking at ways to help the community. From a tea table to a table full of free goods for people to use, Thode has worked to make the library as hospitable as it can be.

One group that the library won’t let fall through the cracks is those that are job searching, but don’t have resources to do it effectively. These are people who could simply be down on their luck, or without electricity due to homelessness, Thode said.

Library associate Mike McGowan said that helping jobseekers find employment started as a natural increase of people asking job-search related questions over the span of about five years.

Thode explained that there were several programs that were implemented in order to respond to the community’s growing needs.

“We are very aware of employment challenges in the area, so every Friday, by reservation only, we have Resume Rescue,” Thode said. A business owner in the community comes into the library to volunteer an hour out of their day to work on a job-searcher’s resume.

“Another program we have is Power Hour, which is a technology program,” she said.

Each time Power Hour meets, it covers a different topic for several minutes — topics like internet security — then turns into a question and answer session, covering the most pressing technological questions that each attendee might have.

The IT department of the library has run these programs as well as the Yelm Lions.

Another way the library has shown its commitment to job-searchers is through the third-party programs it offers on its website. Namely, Universal Classroom and, which provide the user with thousands of classes, spanning just about every subject, Thode said. These programs were made available though the leadership of Timberland Regional Library Administrative Service Center.

“You can just watch [Universal Classroom’s] videos and learn it for yourself, or you can actually submit your exams and assignments to an instructor and in the end you get a certification,” Thode said.

She said programs like Universal Classroom and can help a person show an interviewer that despite time off, the applicant has remained current on their skills.

Furthermore, the library boasts 11 computers to be used by community members for a guaranteed hour each. But Thode said Yelm Timberland Library now has a fleet of five Chrome Books.

“They’re not limited to the time constraints of our upright computers, so if somebody is doing something very extensive, or have a lot of homework or maybe just aren’t as fast on the computer, they can have as much time as they need,” Thode said.

McGowan said that oftentimes it’s the littlest questions answered that make the biggest difference, such as how to navigate the internet or how to apply online to a job listing.

“We’ve had several situations where people have come in with questions about job-seeking and we have helped them in a variety of ways, but one fella rejoining the workforce comes to mind,” McGowan said. “He kept coming in and in three weeks or so, he got a job.”

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