The New York Public Library Is Helping People Who Can’t Afford to Look Their Best for a Job Interview

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Job searching is no picnic, and if you’re someone struggling to make ends meet as it is, tracking down leads, putting together a great resume, finding time to go on interviews, and looking the part are all components of the process that can strain a person’s already strapped finances.

The idea that perhaps the library could help with at least one of these things came to librarian Michelle Lee back in 2016, when she was teaching a free class about employment and resume writing to high school students. She tells The Washington Post that many of the kids admitted to not owning the professional attire required at all.

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She pitched the idea for her “tiebrary” to the Riverside branch of the New York Public library and it was approved; they gave her funding to purchase 12 items – ties, handbags, and briefcases – from Amazon. Bloomingdales also stepped up and donated some ties and pocket squares.

Since patrons of the library already take advantage of their services to work on resumes and search for jobs online, it was natural for the library to segue into offering something extra that could give their patrons confidence walking into an interview.

Photo Credit: NYPL

The library makes it clear that the items aren’t reserved only for job interviews, too. They encourage patrons to check them out for weddings, auditions, graduations, proms, or any event that requires formal wear. According to the library’s website, the only prerequisite is “that the borrower has less than $15 worth of library fines. If they pass that test, then they’re free to check out their item for three weeks.”

Kimberly Spring, the network manager of the Riverside branch, reminds NPR, “You know, you look good, you feel good. You feel more confident when you’re going out.”

Photo Credit: NYPL

If you haven’t been to your local library lately, you might be surprised at what they’re now offering at check out. The Arlington County Library even has American Girl dolls available for borrowing, which can help out parents who can’t afford their significant price tags. The goal is, of course, to get people – and kids – into the library.

Julia Karell, the Arlington branch manager, tells The Washington Post that “this is a way to connect kids with books and with history.”

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If you want more information on the “tiebrary” or want to donate, you can find more information here. Libraries are important parts of every community, so, if you get the chance, patronize and support yours.