The Director of the Henry Whittemore Library, Bonnie Mitchell, spent the summer teaming up with Dawn Ross, director of career services, to draft and propose a grant to the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
The school has been awarded $6,288.
Mitchell said the funding has gone toward developing students’ soft skills, which are mainly skills that allow students and applicants to have acceptable business etiquette.
“Soft skills are skills that train students to have better communication skills, better knowledge of business practices, and decision-making and problem-solving abilities. … It’s things like writing a resume and a cover letter, knowing how to conduct an interview, knowing how to dress properly when going in for an interview,” said Mitchell.
Although the grant was awarded to the library rather than career services, Mitchell said it was the collaboration between the two offices that gave FSU the competitive edge to gain the funding.
Mitchell said the school was given an advantage after identifying a clear need and then showing both the initiative and the ability to collaborate with another department.
She added, “We identified a gap and a need, and we worked with another department on campus to combine our resources and offer, to all students – undergraduate and graduate – library resources that we wouldn’t have otherwise had.”
According to Mitchell, the funding will be allocated to several different projects, but she believes the most impactful will be the online resources that the school will purchase.
The funding will also go toward facilitating several different events that will explain the new programs, and teach students how to access them and best utilize them.
The funding will be used to purchase a subscription to Career Spots, an online program that provides videos produced specifically for college students, and aims to prepare them for entering the job market.
According to CareerSpots.com, the biggest appeal is the convenience this would offer to students unable to come to campus and meet with an advisor to get career guidance.
According to Ross, their office has been trying to find the funding for Career Spots for as long as she’s been at FSU – over 11 years. She said, “It’s more career exploration, and I think our students really need that type of assistance, and because it’s a video they have access to it 24/7. We love the face-to-face in our office, but sometimes students just need a quick video to help them … It’s just so much easier, but of course we’re always here too.”
Mitchell made it clear that while the awarded funds would purchase a subscription to Career Spot, the grant is finite – the funds run out at the end of the year and to continually fund the subscription the library will have to pull from its own budget.
“The grant is for one year and these are ongoing subscriptions. The library plans to continue to subscribe to these videos long-term, as long as they are useful to students. So, we’re not going to abandon this project after the grant money runs out,” she said.
The funding will also pay the library intern’s salary, who will focus on promoting the newly available services paired with related events through various social media platforms as well as other forms of marketing.
Ross stressed that “everybody who can’t come into our office will have this. … We want to provide these resources to all students, and having it online and accessible 24/7 makes our students better applicants and candidates for positions.”