Supporting Local Businesses, Part 2

Supporting Local Businesses, Part 2

Posted on Friday February 11, 2011 at 10:24AM

Supporting Local Businesses, Part 2

I’m a big fan of the “For Dummies” and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide To” series. Generally, for anyone trying to learn about something which they currently know nothing about, they are ideal. They’re also a good way to bulk up the general non-fiction section, but if your library has chosen the second service response, Build Successful Enterprises: Business and Nonprofit Support, then resources such as these are not going to be overly helpful toward meeting your goals.

The last blurb focused on space and staff resources. This week, the focus shifts towards physical resources: books, periodicals, software and equipment. Now before you go out and blow your budget trying to cover every area that’s mentioned in the Sandra Nelson book, Strategic Planning for Results, page 155, take some time to get to know your business community. You may find that they have access to computers, printers and fax machines and may be more interested in improving their knowledge in, say, accounting, retailing, or customer service. If you live in a smaller community, this may be easily done: you either know all of the business owners in town and spending a few hours making (brief) phone calls can solicit all the feedback you need. For larger areas, enlisting the help of your local Chamber of Commerce would be the way to go.

Consider subscribing to a couple of business related periodicals. Yes, I am aware that the Business Sources section of the eResources in TRACpac has oodles of respected journals online – here’s the kicker: the recent editions may not be available for several months after the publications have been on the newsstands due to a publisher’s embargo. They wish to sell more physical copies, so they only allow their information to be put online several months later, sometimes up to a year. While for most businesses waiting a few months may not be such a big deal, some businesses rely on knowing trends as they are happening or even before. Journals to consider are: Business Week, The Economist, Forbes, and Harvard Business Review.

Another reason to consider subscribing to business journals is so that you can look at them first. It’s not as selfish as it sounds. While you may garner some great ideas for marketing or customer service in the library, you will also get to read reviews of recently published books – business books! And although you can occasionally come across reviews for business related books in Publisher’s Weekly and the Quill and Quire, the books reviewed tend to be more mainstream, do-it-yourself, earn $500 a day while sitting on your couch – type books. Not for the serious business person. While keeping in mind that a public library is not meant to collect academic tomes (which are kind of pricey anyway), they should be a little more substantial in content than mainstream fluff. Some examples may include:
• David Mosso, Early Warning and Quick Response: Accounting in the Twenty-First Century (Accounting)
• Fiona Czerniawska, The Trusted Firm (Consulting Services)
• Lon Safko and David K. Brake, The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools & Strategies for Business Success (Customer Relations)
• Manish V. Sidhpuria, Retail Franchising
• Gavin Waring, How Not to Commit Business Suicide (Small Businesses)

Most of your library’s public computers will have the most recent versions of Microsoft Office, which meet the basic needs of many businesses. Again, it’s best to check with the businesses themselves for their additional software needs, as some can be quite pricey. For example, for creating marketing and communication tools, Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Adobe In Design come in at $699 US each. If you do provide access to this type of software, you will probably also want to supply a high quality colour printer.

The bottom line for your business resources: do your homework. Find out what your business patrons really need and want. Once you’ve made your purchases, be sure to let them know that it’s available. Once local businesses thrive the entire community benefits, including the library.

LaGuardia, Cheryl (2007). Magazines for Libraries, 16th ed. New Providence, NJ: ProQuest.
Nelson, Sandra (2008). Strategic Planning for Results. Chicago: American Library Association.

• You should have received via email all of the information you require to complete your Annual Report. If you have not yet received the form, contact Kerry Anderson at Municipal Affairs. If you have not yet received the information regarding your statistics that are not readily found in Polaris, please contact NLLS headquarters.
• At the end of the year I sent out satisfaction surveys that need to be completed and returned to me by the end of today! We need these to complete our Annual Report. Thank you.
• Don’t forget to check out the training calendar on the NLLS website The next webinar is Polaris Basics 2 and will occur on January 19 at 2 p.m.


Author: Northern Lights Library System


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