The universal mission of public libraries is to serve and meet the cultural and information needs of their local communities. The business community, without doubt, is an important sector and services are offered with the goal to help local businesses thrive. Unfortunately, many businesses do not know about all the wonderful resources that are available. Here is a list and reasons why businesses, both large and small, should be utilizing the offerings provided by public libraries. It is not necessary to physically visit the library, as most resources are available in 24/7 accessible digital formats.
Business Research Databases
Accessing quality business research data can be expensive and many times the high cost of business databases limits the purchasing of these types of resources. Most public libraries have at least one or two databases that provide company and industry information and access to key business and trade publications. Larger libraries provide access to many of the databases widely used in corporations. Databases that provide the ability to create targeted company lists for sales and supplier identification are commonly available.
It’s true that your business probably subscribes to the key trade publications that are important in the industry in which you practice. What to do when you want to read more than just a select few? The library has access to many key business journals, in addition to local and regional business newspapers (which are important for searching small, private companies). For general business, Zinio is a service that provides access to magazines online and there a Business/Finance genre where publications can be viewed/downloaded.
The business book collection in your local library will contain titles that are hot off the press, popular titles, and classics. Business books can be expensive to purchase, which might limit the enthusiasm to read and keep current. Many books can be downloaded on a device of choice from Overdrive or Hoopla and enjoyed while you are commuting to work or jogging around the block.
Books, Music, and Movies for Enjoyment or Relaxation
Download or check out the latest best sellers, songs, or movies. Enjoying fiction and non-fiction books either by reading or listening to them lets you get far away from the stresses of work. Libraries have unique and excellent DVD collections that include hard-to-find foreign films and documentaries.
Access to Search Experts
Many librarians take on subject expert roles, and there is a good chance that one of your local librarians has expertise in business research. Tap into that knowledge to learn the best resources to use for your information need and how to perform research that gets results. Research and digging up information is what reference librarians truly love to do and the harder the challenge, the better!
Free Meeting Spaces
If you are a solopreneur and don’t want to meet clients at your home office (and want a break from the usual coffee shop) the library has small meeting rooms available for free.
Interlibrary Loan Service
Let the librarians find that obscure or hard-to-get article, report, or book. If your local library does not have what you need, the librarians can make a loan request to a lending library, anywhere in the country.
Free Wi-Fi and Computer Use
Many professionals do not work in an office and often work with a laptop anywhere there is a Wi-Fi connection. Also, computers are available for use, along with printers and scanners. As a minimum, expect most to have all the Office applications available.