Starting one’s own business may soon become the most viable path to achieving the American dream. It is projected that by 2020 half of all workers will be independent freelancers, responsible for their own fortunes and well-being. Knowing this, the East Baton Rouge Parish Library is partnering with 11 other public library systems from across the U.S. and Canada to explore ways libraries can reach and engage entrepreneurs in their communities — particularly people of color, women, immigrants and veterans. This effort is being led by the Urban Libraries Council, a membership organization of North America’s leading public library systems, as an extension of ULC’s collaboration with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to strengthen libraries’ capacity to support entrepreneurship.
“The library plays an important role in building businesses and our economy,” said ULC President and CEO Susan Benton. “This experience will shape current thinking about how libraries can support entrepreneurship and create new opportunities for all community members.”
Participating in this initiative, the East Baton Rouge Parish Library (EBRPL) will develop a program to connect its new business librarian to established and new entrepreneurs, to provide them with customized Library resources that will meet their specific needs. Andrew Tadman, Coordinator of Reference Services, and Natalie Denby, Business Librarian, will take the lead on the Small Business Services project.
“We are excited about the opportunity to connect budding entrepreneurs with the Library’s excellent resources, whether they are brainstorming or ready to develop a business plan,” said Tadman.
Entrepreneurs play an increasingly important role in growing local economies as technology continues to transform the labor market. However, barriers to resources and information prevent many individuals from pursuing or achieving entrepreneurial success. Public libraries are uniquely equipped to reach populations who are underrepresented in today’s entrepreneurial economy and most in need of guidance.
Coordinating efforts with EBRPL, 11 additional public library systems will pursue projects to explore new approaches to reaching and engaging entrepreneurs in their communities.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s mission as a community service organization is to connect our citizens with information, resources, materials, technology, and experiences in order to make a positive difference in their lives.
To that end, the Library offers a variety of FREE tools for business with its Small Business Services. Established organizations can receive help for finding new customers, and budding entrepreneurs can get assistance for transforming and idea into a solid business plan. We also offer FREE consultations with a business librarian who will guide entrepreneurs through the Library’s resources. Staff can come out and meet with business owners and entrepreneurs to customize what we have to match their unique needs.
Visit the Small Business Services InfoGuide at http://ebrpl.libguides.com/smallbusiness. For more information or to set up a consultation, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (225) 231-3750. To learn more, contact Andrew Tadman at email@example.com or call (225) 231-3735.
Information about the Library and any of its other programs, events and resources can be found online at www.ebrpl.com.