The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not a dedicated business center within a public library acts as a key success factor in a public library’s services to the community entrepreneur.
A questionnaire survey was sent to 88 public libraries with dedicated business centers, and posted to BRASS-L and BUSLIB-L, for input from public libraries without business centers. Interviews with three survey respondents and one local city official followed.
Fifty-seven per cent of all respondents felt that a dedicated business center is very essential or essential to the services provided to the entrepreneurial community. The services most often offered were workshops/seminars/classes, counseling sessions by collaborative agencies and one-on-one research sessions with librarians. The majority of responding libraries collaborated with a community business agency (80 per cent). Fifty-one per cent spend between 6 and 20 hours/month on the collaboration.
Since 2007, many of the dedicated business centers in public libraries have closed or been consolidated with other sections and services of a public library. This should be further studied. Further research on librarian expertise in market and industry research is recommended.
This study updates the business services associated with public libraries business services since the push in the late 1990s for public libraries to be more active in community economic development.
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