Green shoots at the library?

Loyal MinnEcon reader and library assistant Teresa Lynch helped us during the summer understand why Hennepin County workers were volunteering to take less money to save jobs.

Now she’s pointing us to some potential green shoots on the economy.

Lynch dropped us a note recently to tell us she was feeling a recovery right now because the patrons she’s been helping at her library are starting, slowly, to find work.

I’ve been hearing from people who come into the library where I work that they’ve either found jobs or are getting interviews! It’s great to see some smiles on a few more faces.

A patron who’s working at a very undesirable-type job at a grocery store had to miss an interview for a good paying, benefit earning position because he was “needed at the store.” But the good news is that the interviewer agreed to see him anyway, and this man actually has hope!

Another man who’s been searching on the internet at the library for months, walked by waving, telling me he found a job.

The library offers a cool vantage point on the economy. We know library use jumps in a recession. When Minnesota employers were shedding jobs this year, many headed to their local libraries to search for jobs and retraining opportunities.

In May, a library assistant from Wadena gave us a great look at what she was seeing at the city library — job searching by older adults replacing chatting and games played by teens on the library’s free computers.

Things were pretty grim at that point in Wadena and across Minnesota. The climate’s improved since then. We saw Minnesota’s jobless rate drop below 8 percent in September, though employers continued to cut jobs and several thousand Minnesotans dropped out of the labor force.

Still, Lynch’s perspective is an encouraging sign. “As for myself,” she adds, “the good news, as always, is that I still have a job which I love….”


Lynch reminds me that good things are happening in parts of this economy. Below are some other “good news” stories people in MPR’s Public Insight Network have been telling us. Click on the map icons to read them, then share your story.

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