Librarians can find themselves in difficult positions when budding entrepreneurs, in search of answers that may determine the fate of their businesses, rush into the library. Steven Assarian, a business librarian at Grand Rapids Public Library, remembers well the day he found himself in such a situation. “An entrepreneur obviously interested in serving tourists came in and asked very specifically whether a particular town was a resort town,” Assarian recalled.
Not only is it Assarian’s job to provide consultation for entrepreneurs in need of business plans, but he’s also responsible for teaching business research techniques to classes of between 10-20 people. The ability to locate and use relevant information during the formation of a startup is a determining factor in whether the business will succeed. The pressure on librarians like Assarian to link entrepreneurs with current and rich data can be great.
“Usually these are people who really need help,” Assarian said. “They just don’t know what’s available or where to begin the process.”