William F. Laman receives funding to provide digital skills training

September 9-15, 2019

The American Library Association (ALA) announced that William F. Laman Public Library is selected to participate in Libraries Lead with Digital Skills, an initiative of ALA and the Public Library Association (PLA), sponsored by Grow With Google, the tech company’s economic opportunity initiative. Laman Library plans to use the funds to purchase more technology in support of Grow with Google training materials that enrich community members’ digital skills by helping job seekers prepare for and find work and empowering small business owners/entrepreneurs to grow online.


“Statistically, middle-skill jobs, which call for a high school diploma, account for 58 percent of Arkansas’s labor market, but, according to the National Skills Coalition, fewer than half of our workers are trained to the middle-skill level,” said Crystal Gates, the library system’s executive director. “So we aim to help people improve their digital skills and career prospects. You know, we’re always saying, ‘We’re more than just books,’ and this a prime example that of that. Libraries are evolving too. Our mission includes education and workforce development.”


Learners watch Grow With Google videos that teach those digital skills in the context of creating a project, such as writing resumes or preparing a business plan. Job seekers also learn tips to help them find, track, and apply for local jobs. They can “Check-out a Librarian” to arrange one-on-one assistance for designing resumes, interviewing, and incorporating the concepts covered during classes. Free Grow With Google: Job Seekers workshops are 11 a.m. to noon Sept. 9, 16, 23, and 30 at Laman Library’s Main Branch, 2801 Orange St. in North Little Rock. The series will be repeated 6 to 7 p.m. Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31. Working with Resume Templates is 5 to 6 p.m. on Sept. 12 and Oct. 21.


Also at the Laman Library Main Branch, community members are invited to learn more about Google Drive from 11 a.m. to noon Sept. 4 and Oct. 2, Google Slides 11 a.m. to noon Sept. 11 and Oct. 9, Google Docs 11 a.m. to noon Sept. 18 and Oct. 16, and Google Sheets 11 a.m. to noon Sept. 11 and Oct. 9. Grow With Google: Game Design is 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays throughout September and October and Grow With Google: Coding is 6 to 7 p.m. Sept. 9 and 16. The Main Branch LINC Computer Center also hosts Computer Basics from 11 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Fridays. Web Design classes are 6 to 7 p.m. and start with HTML on Sept. 23, CSS on Sept. 30, Covering the Basics on Oct. 7, Java Script on Oct. 21, and Python on Oct. 28. Other Job Skills Workshops include Civility Goes Viral from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 4, 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 11, and 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 18 and 25 and Inclusiveness, from 2 to 3 p.m. Sept. 10 and 12 and 6 to 7 p.m. Sept. 17. Registration is available by calling (501) 758-1720 or online at lamanlibrary.org.


At the Argenta Branch, 420 Main St., entrepreneurs and small business owners learn about Google my Business, a free tool for those wanting to connect with customers on Google Search and Maps. Other sessions include Reaching Customers Online with Google and Using Data to Drive Business Growth. The workshops are offered 8 to 9 a.m. from Sept. 10 through Oct. 1 and repeated Oct. 8 to 29. Evening sessions of this series are held at the Main Branch from 6 to 7 p.m. Sept. 10 to Oct. 1 and Oct. 8 to 29.  Registration is accepted through events and programs calendar at lamanlibrary.org.


“Libraries have long been America’s gathering place for learning,” said Nicky Rigg, program manager for Digital Skills outreach at Google. “From learning new digital skills for the workplace, to creating a résumé or growing your business online, people are going to libraries as resources for professional growth now more than ever. Grow with Google is excited to support library programs across the country to help ensure that economic opportunity exists for everyone.”  


The Grow with Google initiative draws on Google’s 20-year history of building products, platforms, and services that help people and businesses grow. Through this initiative, they aim to help everyone across America – those who make up the workforce of today and those who will drive the workforce of tomorrow – access the best of Google’s training and tools to grow their skills, careers, and businesses. Grow With Google has made a commitment to deliver free, in-person workshops for job seekers, small businesses, and library staff in all 50 states.


Source: Laman Library System   




The Argenta Branch on 420 Main St. will participate in the Grow with Google initiative by offering workshops to entrepreneurs and small business owners to learn about Google My Business and Reaching Customers Online with Google. (Photo courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism)