Suburban libraries join forces to help job seekers

A group of north suburban librarians with expertise in employment and career services have joined forces to launch the Lake Cook Career Collaborative. The initiative aims to centralize and amplify the employment-related resources offered by many area libraries.

Job seekers in Illinois' Lake and Cook counties are encouraged to tap into workshops, online training and other resources offered by Northbrook, Indian Trails and Vernon Area public libraries. All offerings are free. No library card is required to take part in the workshops.

"We are always looking to address our community's needs," said Ashley Johnson, the business and outreach librarian at Vernon Area Public Library "With so many [area residents] unemployed or underemployed, we wanted to make sure that people are aware of the help they can get at no cost from their local library."

A website located at pulls together an ongoing calendar of online workshops being hosted by the partner libraries. The initial schedule includes:

  • "Quit Networking, Start Building Relationships to Further Your Career," on Monday, March 8. Learn to build effective professional relationships and how to leverage these relationships to further your career. Presented by Brian Watkins, BTOM Consultants.
  • "Employment Research with Reference Solutions" on Monday, March 15. Learn to use this powerful search tool to find employers and positions that match your skills and career path. Presented by Ashley Johnson, Business and Outreach Librarian, Vernon Area Library.
  • "LinkedIn & Online Job Sites," on Monday, March 22. ​Learn the basics of searching for jobs and uploading a resume on job sites like Indeed, and get started networking on LinkedIn. Presented by Phil Collins, Librarian, Northbrook Public Library.
  • "Job Seeking and Preparedness Resources for Your Job Search," on Monday, March 29. Learn about free, on-demand online training resources available through your library and how they can help you to land a new position. Presented by librarians Faye Levin-O'Leary, Indian Trails Public Library, and Bryan Brugger, Northbrook Public Library.
  • "Personal Branding," on Monday, April 5. Learn to curate an online image that helps you get ahead personally and professionally. Presented by Julie Kittredge, Business Instructor.
  • "Cover Letters Made Easy," on Tuesday, April 6. Learn how to write a standout cover letter employers will want to read. Presented by Jez Layman, Librarian and Job Coach

All programs are free, open to anyone, and no library card is required. Participants should register in advance to receive the Zoom links.

"You don't even need to be a member of a library to access learning from a library," said Johnson. "[These online workshops] are little bright spots available to anyone."

Those without a library card are encouraged to get one. A free library card provides access to a wealth of additional resources, including online tools for job training as well as books, DVDs and other materials available for checkout.

The vast majority of residents in Lake and Cook counties have access to a public library either through a library district or their municipality. Residents can find their local library by contacting their city or county office or by searching the Illinois State Library map, available at


Indian Trails Public Library District serves the 67,000 residents of Wheeling, Buffalo Grove and Prospect Heights by providing exceptional experiences in literature, programs and services.

Northbrook Public Library nurtures community and stimulates lifelong learning through innovative, responsive programming, partnerships, resources, and services for the 33,170 residents of Northbrook, Illinois.

Vernon Area Public Library in Lincolnshire works to connect information, culture and community for the 43,000 residents and businesses in and around Lincolnshire, Long Grove, Buffalo Grove and Vernon Hills, Illinois.

Article Type: