Engaging with entrepreneurs in academic and public libraries

Jared Hoppenfeld (West Campus Library, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Elizabeth Malafi (Miller Business Resource Center, Middle Country Public Library, Centereach, New York, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Publication date: 10 August 2015



The purpose of this paper is to explore how academic and public libraries support entrepreneurial researchers and, in doing so, demonstrate impact and share best practices.


The authors discuss their own experiences as academic and public business librarians who support entrepreneurs. They do so by revealing the main services they provide to this unique user group and presenting examples from their own institutions. They also present what is done at other libraries by way of a literature review and an informal survey.


After navigating the landscape of business librarian support of entrepreneurs, many commonalities were found among the types of support offered. Most libraries in this study collaborate with a business incubator, center for entrepreneurship, office of economic development or small business development center in some fashion. Numerous outreach and networking efforts were found that had positive effects on the local and national economies. Although public and academic libraries have different base user groups, both types of libraries serve current and potential entrepreneurs, as well as students, who are looking for similar data in the same kinds of resources.


Although specific examples can be found in the literature, little has been published that provides an overview of the entrepreneurial services and resources provided at numerous libraries of different types as well as resulting impact. This paper fills this gap and should provide new ideas to librarians of all kinds wishing to reach entrepreneurs.



Hoppenfeld, J. and Malafi, E. (2015), "Engaging with entrepreneurs in academic and public libraries", Reference Services Review, Vol. 43 No. 3, pp. 379-399. https://doi.org/10.1108/RSR-02-2015-0011

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