If you want help starting and growing your small business, check out your public library.
Business plans and counseling services. Resources to identify and reach your target markets. Programs to increase your business expertise. Multi-media opportunities for prime time recognition. Private rooms for business meetings or presentations. Much more and all for free!
“Our goal has always been to facilitate and partner in economic development,” says Carolyn Anthony, director of the Skokie Public Library inIllinois. “When the community thrives, we all thrive. We welcome the opportunity to respond to the goals and interests of business owners, the chamber of commerce and other development organizations.”
For example, the Skokie Public Library’s Business & Career Center has just added more meeting rooms for business purposes. If you need a projector or white board, want to make a Skype conference call or create a video during your meeting, Business Center staff will work with you. Committee meeting, networking group, presentation to clients or colleagues, the library’s meeting rooms and complementary services support your goals.
Like public libraries across the country, the Skokie Public Library’s Business Center and its online Business Portal offers dozens of resources to launch or grow your business.
Get Ready for Business
- Librarians will work with you – in person, online, by phone or email – to answer your entrepreneurial, business or career questions.
- Schedule private, in-library sessions with SCORE/SBA counselors, and learn more by attending ongoing business programs and workshops.
- Ask about market research and industry information on your industry or field, and check business directories and databases for market and competitive analysis.
- What business plans (templates, books, video and other media), sample contracts, and legal forms do you need?
Build Your Business
- Digital Media Lab staff will help you produce videos and screencasts to market your business. You can create them in the lab, or you can check out a flip cam, hard drive and tri-pod to use, on site, at your business.
- Business Center staff can offer feedback on your website, podcasts or other digital media challenges, and you might Drop in at the Genius Bar discussions.
- Attend business programs and networking groups. For example, several of the chamber of commerce groups hold their monthly meetings at the library: Small Office/Home Office (SOHO), Women in Business, Attorney Roundtable (and other industry-specific groups).
- Work with a business librarian to develop your own databases and mailing lists.
- Look for the books, magazines, newspapers, and diverse digital media on starting and growing a business. You will find resources on trademarks, branding, writing targeted business letters or news releases, and so much more.
- Librarians can direct you to information on millions of companies, industry surveys, market analysis, and investment reports that offer new insights and possibilities.
- While you’re at the library, connect via wi-fi, info-fax service, computers and laptops, and ask about the ongoing programs in technology and digital literacy.
“We invite businesses to use the larger meeting room, which accommodates almost 50 people, for a training session or annual meeting,” Carolyn Anthony says. “Organizational committees may want to meet in the library’s Business Center’s Board Room. And, a smaller conference room is an ideal size for meeting with a client or collaborating with another business person.”
Because public libraries are so involved in their communities and are also on top of national resources and trends, they offer endless opportunities to develop your potential and achieve your business or career goals.
Whether online via the Business Portal — http://business.skokielibrary.info — or on site in the library’s Business & Career Center, it’s always time to pursue your possibilities.