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.

1st Transitional Project Partners Meeting – Romania, November 2014
Brasov in Romania was the venue for the first transitional project meeting, 20-23rd November 2014. Two staff of Monaghan Library Services attended the meeting. The agenda for the meeting was (a) Getting to know all partners (b) Administrative tasks of the project (c) Budget (d) The expected results and outcomes of the project (e) evaluation and dissemination. All partners were given the opportunity to visit the public libraries of Brasov and the National Library in Bucharest.

Library Staff Training Course & 2nd Transitional Project Partners meeting – Austria, April 2015
Linz, Austria was the venue for the 5 day library staff training course and 1 day transitional project meeting. Three members of staff from Monaghan County Library Services attended the week. The training was coordinated by the hosts at the magnificent Tower of Knowledge, Linz and Project Coordinator Ljublana Public Libraries. For many staff, this was the first time being back in a classroom setting, especially as many of us are used to being on the front desk or the floor of the public library dealing with a multitude of queries and work every day. The aim of the training course was to improve library staff knowledge and skills in organising learning activities for the unemployed along with a better understanding of how unemployment effects people lives.

Erasmus+ Funding Application – Update 11th September 2014
Monaghan County Library Services submitted an application in partnership with 6 EU countries in April 2014 under the EU Erasmus+ funding program key action – ‘Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices’. We have been successful in securing the funding for this project with our 6 EU partners, announced on the 2nd September 2014. Partners are Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Austria, Finland and Lithuania, of which 5 are public library services and Austria is an adult education centre affiliated with the public library service.

The Project – Objectives & Needs to be Addressed:
‘LinkINjob: Job-hunting with the Help of Librarians’ project supports the Europe 2020 Strategy, strengthening knowledge and innovation as drivers of future growth. One of the Strategy targets by 2020 is the employment rate of the population aged 20-64 should increase from the current 69% to at last 75%, including through the greater involvement of women, older workers and the better integration of migrants in the work force.
This project, with its activities directly addresses one of common objectives of Education & Training 2020 Strategy: