The economy may be heading into recovery, but for Evanstonians who are still struggling with joblessness, the public library is the place to turn for personalized career coaching, computer training, test preparation and help starting a business.

Sometimes job-seekers are not even sure what career they want and wonder where to start. One idea is to sit down with a professional career counselor to get some ideas. Counselors from Jewish Vocational Services are available every second Monday and fourth Thursday to go over resumes, assess career strengths and interests and discuss options. Whether embarking on a first career or considering a later life career change, job seekers may find JVS career counseling sessions are just what they need. To register for a counseling session, call the reference desk at 847-448-8630.

Starting a new career can be overwhelming, especially for those who have been out of the work world for some time. Job hunting has changed so much in the last few years it is easy to feel out of touch. That is the idea behind Reboot!, a support and information-sharing group for those easing back into full employment. Members meet at 10 a.m. the second Thursday of every month to discuss strategies for seeking jobs in midlife, skills for interviewing and networking, tricks for using social networking and blogs and techniques for job searching on the Internet. To join Reboot! call the library reference desk at 847-448-8630, or simply show up at the next meeting.

For those whose computer skills need a reboot, the Evanston Library offers drop-in computer help for job seekers every Wednesday night from 6-7 p.m. A team of volunteer computer instructors is available to help format cover letters and resumes or fill out online job applications. In addition, starting in January, the library will be offering a six-week class in Microsoft Office skills for the modern workplace. For details or to register, call the reference desk at 847-448-8630.

Back to work may mean back to school, and success may depend on doing well on tests like the ASVAB or the GRE. Some may need to take a licensing exam for a commercial driver’s license, nursing, or skilled-trades career; for those applying for civil service exams, taking a test may be part of the application process. Do not sign up for expensive courses and tutoring. Tutor yourself using Learning Express, a free online service offered through the Evanston Public Library. Learning Express includes timed practice tests that provide an accurate prediction of performance on the real thing. Learning Express also grades the results, suggesting areas in need of review and providing study guides. To use it, go to from a home computer, (an Evanston library card is needed to get in).

Everyone knows networking is essential to finding a job, especially in a tough economy. But getting key people to remember an individual and to pass his/her name along is a skill. Networking expert Phil Roth will explain how to create a personal marketing plan, make effective elevator speeches, ensure effective introductory meetings and use follow-up techniques. Join him for a free presentation: “Networking Steps: What Works,” at 10 a.m. Nov. 10 in the Community Meeting room.

Those who dream of starting their own business can learn how to write a successful business plan using EPL’s “Business Plans Handbook.” Browse through dozens of actual business plans that successfully attracted start-up funding. “Business Plans Handbook” is available in the library reference collection and can be accessed online 24/7 from a home computer. Just go to and click “business plans” in the article index box (an Evanston library card is needed to get in).

Once a business is up and running, it is necessary to market it. Learn to format a business and marketing plan in seconds with Demographics Now, an online provider of up-to-date demographics and market information for Illinois. Demographics Now will help individuals determine where to locate a business, identify competitors and target direct mail and advertising to customers most likely to buy a product/service. Use it free 24/7 from a home computer by going to and clicking “demographics” in the article index box (an Evanston library card is needed to get in).

For monthly tips on job searching and small business support, check out the Library blog, Evanston Means Small Business, and the Career Search site,