February 17, 2018

Bob Sisson | Movers & Shakers 2011 – Community Builders

Library Journal March 15, 2011: Bob Sisson, Mover & Shaker

Minding the Store

For users, the plentiful resources at the Free Library of Philadelphia (FLP) may be free, but, as we all know, most of life isn’t. Perhaps that’s why reference librarian Bob Sisson organizes so many job fairs at the Northeast Regional Library, the second largest facility in FLP’s 54-branch system, serving a community in flux, with many new immigrants among its constituents.

“Over the past two years, Bob has organized three very successful job fairs, a community services fair, a senior services fair, and various computer-based training sessions for the public,” says colleague Joe Benford, chief of the extensions division for FLP. “He is constantly looking for ways to help the community, and no project is too large for him to take on.”

Each event—for which Sisson performed the PR duties and recruited the library staff—drew about 15 employers and nearly 800 job seekers. The turnouts have been impressive, but more moving for Sisson was the feedback from the attendees ­themselves.

“I am always glad to hear back from job seekers who said they got interviews from these events and from employers who said they are glad they came—and want to know when the next one will be,” he says.

With an eye to helping people transform themselves from job seekers to entrepreneurs, Sisson also created the “How To Start a Business Expo” and invited business counselors to participate and offer advice to individuals about how to launch their own small business enterprise.

“What distinguishes Bob’s approach is his enthusiasm, boundless energy, and can-do attitude,” says Antoinette M. Hoagland, the Northeast area administrator for FPL. “He has a sales background and uses every means possible to attract employers and presenters to these job-oriented programs. He keeps substantial email contact lists and personally delivers flyers to area businesses and transportation centers.”

As far as Sisson is concerned, when it comes to those he serves and to helping them establish themselves in the working world, all’s fair.


Bob Sisson, Northeast Regional Library, Free Library of Philadelphia

CURRENT POSITION Reference Librarian

DEGREE MLIS, Wayne State University, Detroit, 2007

FOCUS Jobs, jobs, jobs