Report: Public Libraries’ Role in Workforce and Small Business Development Examined
From a Joint News Release
The Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA), in cooperation with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), announced today the release of new research examining the role U.S. public libraries play in supporting workforce and small business development. Conducted by Mt. Auburn Associates with Program and Policy Insight as part of the Measures that Matter initiative, the findings grow out of an extensive literature review, newly developed theory of change, and case studies of 10 public library systems. The research provides an increased understanding of current library practices and how they intersect with existing workforce systems. There is also identification of the challenges to data collection and outcome measurement, and potential topics for further exploration.
“The case studies uncover a diversity of approaches in how public libraries provide and manage workforce-related services,” said Stacey Aldrich, Hawaii State Librarian and COSLA Past President. “They suggest that libraries can contribute to workforce and business development system by complementing, rather than duplicating other local, state, and federal investments. Libraries’ broad community reach and inclusiveness contribute to efficiencies in how resources are being used.”
Researchers also examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on libraries’ approaches to meeting workforce and business development needs of communities. “During and since the pandemic, libraries strengthened and leveraged relationships, including those with job seekers, entrepreneurs, and the business community,” noted IMLS Director Crosby Kemper.“They demonstrated once again through those relationships the strong connection libraries maintain to community needs, their ability to adapt, and the importance of digital literacy and access to technology.”
Intended as a pilot that could be replicated to study the impact public libraries have on other aspects of community wellbeing, the report articulates key themes and hypotheses for further testing. The full report is available at https://measuresthatmatter.net/. Webinars to discuss the research will be held in late October. For more information, email email@example.com.
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About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.