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Small business development centers and libraries: a survey

Louise Mort Feldmann (Colorado State University Libraries, Fort Collins, Colorado, U.S.A.)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 10 August 2015




The purpose of this study is to investigate how small business development centers (SBDCs) are working with libraries and librarians to provide assistance to entrepreneurs.


An online survey was distributed to SBDC offices in the mountain west region of the USA to discover if and how they are working with local public and academic libraries and librarians to provide information and services to entrepreneurs.


Surveys were sent to 72 SBDCs with 31 responding (43 per cent). A total of 48 per cent indicated collaborating with public libraries and 36 per cent work with academic libraries. Resources and services provided by librarians and libraries are consistent with the reporting in case study literature. Responses to successes and issues with these arrangements indicate areas for improvement and consideration in collaborations.

Research limitations/implications

This research was limited to findings from SBDC offices in the mountain west region. A national survey of efforts might provide more comprehensive results. Future research into whether these partnerships are worthwhile and benefit entrepreneurs and the local economy would be beneficial.

Practical implications

The findings indicate areas in which improvements in collaborations could be made in communication and expectations.

Social implications

This research might inform future collaborations as communities explore economic development and support of local entrepreneurs.


This research provides the unique perspective of non-librarians about these working relationships with librarians. The findings may be useful to improving existing collaborations and in consideration of future partnerships.



This research was funded in part by the Emerald Business Research Grant Award.


Feldmann, L.M. (2015), "Small business development centers and libraries: a survey", Reference Services Review, Vol. 43 No. 3, pp. 369-378.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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