Staff from Monaghan County Library Services attended the 3rd partner meeting of LinkinJob EU project 1st - 4th October in Vantaa, Finland. We were made very welcomed by our hosts of Vantaa Libraries. The trip included 2 days of meetings, workshops along with visits to some wonderful and very inspiring libraries in both Vantaa and Helsinki. These were truly an eye opener in terms of what a public library service can provide to users.

Each partner had to make a presentation updating on the progress of the project in their library service. For Monaghan Library Services, we presented a comprehensive summary of how the project commenced with extensive research into the services currently being provided in our county to the unemployed and jobseekers. We had several meetings with local organisations (government and non government) and groups who provide such services. This was essential research and meetings, as Monaghan is a rural county, with a population of just over 60,000 with approximately 20% unemployment, higher than the national average.

We did not want to be 'stepping on anyone's toes' by organizing a programme of services which are already being provided for adequately to the unemployed. These meetings with our local partners were excellent in terms of letting them know of the wide range of services the public library provides such as free internet, wifi, access to information in so many formats, access to workshops, talks, activities, training but also access to cultural, educational and social activities. They are more aware now of our facilities and capabilities. We will work in partnership with these organisations not only for this project but for ongoing provision of services to the unemployed and jobseekers. This project is the first step in developing services in our libraries which can be sustainable beyond the project end date and complimentary to our local stakeholders.

For example, we worked with Monaghan Integrated Development in running a competition to win an Ipad during the months of August - October to encourage the unemployed/jobseekers to come into their local library and local employment service office. The participants were asked to carry out a number of simple tasks, that is borrow a book, use the internet, ask a query of a member of staff. The aim of this was to simply get them in through the doors of the library, let them see what we can offer them.