FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The demands of the Meadowbrook Branch Library in east Fort Worth were far larger than the books housed on its rows of shelves.
Residents like Jackie Anderson and her family are proof of that.
“They used to come up here regularly to use the computers and they used to complain because they had to wait,” Anderson said.
People wanted to search for jobs on the computer or use the library resources to earn a GED. Facing budget cuts, Fort Worth either had to find a new purposed and funding for the library or it would have faced closure.
That’s why the city gave Meadowbrook a face-lift and a new name: The eSkills Library and Job Center.
There are fewer bookshelves and dozens more computers. Many of the books they do have on the shelves are about searching for and landing jobs. And there’s a new classroom for training.
“Fill out the application so you have some awareness about what you don’t know,” an instructor told students holding up a mock job application form.
Its new mission is illustrated in the new schedule of classes. Things like, Interview/Application Tips, Internet Communication, and Finance 101 are all present. They’re courses that give people hope, the students say.
“I have been unemployed for almost two years,” said Debbie McGee, who came to the Lancaster Avenue eSkills library from her Stop 6 neighborhood home. “It’s very important I come here to use it.”
McGee said the resources give her a better opportunity to find a job than what was present at Meadowbrook beforehand.
“They offer so many classes through work forces,” she said.
And the whole operation saves the city money since it’s a joint venture with private donors, Tarrant County and the state. It’s a model city planners say will draw a lot of attention as fort worth ponders its next round of budget cuts. The city is estimating this will save $235,000 in salaries and benefits.