Libraries and local businesses—both cornerstones of their communities—often form lasting and mutually beneficial partnerships.
Local business owners and entrepreneurs rely on the services and resources that libraries provide, such as technology education, research services, meeting spaces, databases, and job skill training. Likewise, libraries collaborate with businesses on community-wide projects, initiatives, and specialized programs, like financial literacy training. Both have a vested interest in fostering healthy, vital communities.
Below are some of the resources that Colorado libraries provide for their local businesses. If your library has business resources that you’d like to appear on this list, email Amy Hitchner, ahitchner@coloradovirtuallibrary.
Training and Education
Longmont Public Library offers a Small Business Success series for local business owners, featuring a new topic each month. Past topics have included local business success stories, resources for businesses, the future of Longmont business, and managing for success. The series is in collaboration with Longmont Economic Development Partnership and Coffee and Connections. Check the library’s website for upcoming classes.
The Business & Entrepreneurial Center at Library 21c in Colorado Springs offers resources and training for job seekers and entrepreneurs that want to develop their digital skills. The library also offers a Small Business Research Collection, meeting spaces, and business librarians on site.
Online Resource Collections
Many libraries create collections of business-related resources, such as industry journals, newspapers, databases, census/demographic information, and legal forms and publications. Most also have research librarians on staff that can help entrepreneurs find what they need. Though not a comprehensive list, here are several examples of online resource collections at Colorado public libraries:
- Denver Public Library: Business Databases
- Arapahoe Libraries: Business Resources
- Mesa County Libraries: LibGuides for Businesses
- Jefferson County Public Library: Build Your Business
- High Plains Library District: Business Resource Center
- Loveland Library: Business Resources and Services
Meeting and Work Spaces
The physical library space can be an overlooked resource, yet most libraries have meeting rooms that community members can use for free or low cost. Poudre River Public Library District, for instance, has rooms in various sizes from small collaboration spaces to large meeting rooms (see Rooms for Small Business at the Library).
Mesa County Libraries is taking the idea of community rooms to the next level, with their involvement in Factory, a co-working space for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and creators in Grand Junction. While most spaces are available to rent on a monthly basis, adult patrons of Mesa County Libraries can use the space (which includes gigabit internet) up to 5 times in a 30-day period with their library card.
This post is part of the Spotlight on Sharing initiative, which aims to increase the visibility of resource sharing in Colorado libraries. How does your library support local businesses? The Colorado library community would love to hear about it! Email Amy Hitcher, firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter follow @hitchlib and use the hashtag #spotlightonsharing.