Do You Keep Your Library’s Business Resources Hidden?

Posted on May 5, 2016

You may remember last year when we published a blog about Samantha Cole’s editorial in Fast Company magazine. Since it’s National Small Business Week, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make sure you’re not missing out on an opportunity to leverage the gift of free advertising. Keep reading; it’s not too late.

Cole’s article, “Who Needs Business School? The Hidden Startup Resources at your Local Library,” perfectly tells the value story of public libraries and specifically, how you support local entrepreneurs and foster economic growth. Do you ever read or hear something and think to yourself, “I couldn’t have said it better myself!”? This is one of those moments. What Cole has explained about libraries—and how she has explained it—is evidence-based and right on point.

Who Needs Business School? The Hidden Startup Resources at your Local Library

Cole may be right—these may be hidden secrets—but with a monthly online readership of 6.3 million entrepreneurs, opinion leaders and business professionals, this gem of an article goes a long way toward exposing what we’ve known all along:“Libraries are an indispensable resource for communities—especially for people looking to start a business.”

I encourage you to read and share the article yourself, but here are some of the “hidden secrets” highlighted by the author:

  • Libraries provide entrepreneurs a number of resources to support business plan development including tools which offer detailed demographic and ethnographic information. Do your patrons know that these resources, like DemographicsNow: Business and People from Gale, typically cost larger companies tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that your library can deliver it to them for free?
  • Libraries stimulate economic growth not just by enabling business to succeed, but by attracting them to a particular geography in the first place.
  • Libraries are a perfect venue for businesses looking for a meeting or networking space.

So there you have it. Now is a fantastic time to make sure Public library resources for start-ups, small business owners, entrepreneursyour library provides all of the resources today’s entrepreneurs need the most, and then shout it from the rooftops, with some additional reach and street-cred compliments of Fast Company.

To get you started, Gale created a guide to the stages of business development—exploration, startup, growth, management and even maturation—which can help you identify the library resources that can deliver the most impact to your local business community and economy.

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