New Report Shares Highlights From ALA’s “Libraries Build Business” Initiative
From the American Library Association:
The American Library Association has released a new report that showcases the impact of the Libraries Build Business initiative on small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country, as well as the library profession. Libraries Build Business, a $2 million national initiative supported by Google.org, launched in early 2020 and culminated with the release of the Libraries Build Business Playbook in February 2022. The insights, lessons, and outcomes from this initiative can be leveraged for further impact on economic opportunity and advancement in communities across the United States.
“Nearly 15,000 aspiring and existing entrepreneurs attended programs and events offered by one of the cohort libraries, in diverse urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities. Despite launching in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, libraries provided responsive and inclusive programming to advance small businesses and entrepreneurs,” said project manager Megan Janicki. “The Libraries Build Business initiative was an opportunity to build models and promising practices to scale in libraries all over the country.”
The Libraries Build Business Initiative Highlights report demonstrates the critical role of libraries in the small business and entrepreneurial ecosystem while providing specific examples of impact in urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities across the country. Because of their reach, information and resources, and strategic and flexible collaboration, libraries are uniquely positions to be partners, leaders, and connectors in thriving local economies.
In Gwinnett County (GA), the library supported formerly incarcerated aspiring and existing entrepreneurs as they navigated the business landscape with the New Start Entrepreneurship Incubator (NSEI): offering wraparound services, monthly classes, and business mentors. Through partnerships, the library was also able to host prospective funders to speak with and provide feedback for the entrepreneurs. Across two cohorts, 22 participants graduated from the NSEI program in its first year. In Ferguson, Missouri, the library supported micropreneurs with business development resources, meeting space, computers and equipment, and reference support. One local entrepreneur needed assistance with marketing, social media, and computer basics; the library connected him with SCORE and helped him set up a Facebook page. From there, his barbeque sauce business quickly took off — and is now available in grocery stores around the state. These examples illustrate the impact from around the country that libraries are making on local small business communities.
Direct to Full Text Report (14 pages; PDF)
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.