written by Karen Kalantzis
When was the last time you visited a public library? If you have children, it might have been for story time or when you were running short of ideas to keep them entertained on a rainy day. You may be surprised that your local public library has a plethora of resources to help small businesses! From references to workshops, consider checking them out to help grow your business.
Libraries of course have the expected business books and magazines, but many of them also have free access to costly business databases that can be used for market research. Information such as economic data, statistics, almanacs, maps, and legal regulations can help you shape your business strategy and identify new customers.
The Montgomery County, MD Public Library has, for example:
- Reference USA, with information on over 14 million companies
- Business Insights, with information on 465,000 global companies
- Morningstar, with financial information on publicly traded companies
Libraries have been known to host book clubs, but they are also a resource for workshops on learning English, new computer skills, and how to find a job. You can also find free online courses through the library system. Most have subscriptions to Rosetta Stone featuring 50 popular languages and instructor led Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Montgomery County Public Library has 6 week Gale Courses that teach Accounting Fundamentals, Google Analytics, and Business Finance, just to name a few. All you need is a current library card!
So the next time you have a serious research project or skill to learn, don’t waste time searching the internet blindly. Consider contacting your local public library to see how they can help you!