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The Public Library as Innovator: Statewide Partnership for Economic Development (presented at PLA) …

The Public Library as Innovator: Statewide Partnership for Economic Development (presented at PLA)
Workforce woes and economic adversity: The local public library is there, both as sufferer and as remedy. Collaboration is imperative in such a climate! The South Carolina State Library has brought libraries to the table with workforce development specialists and small business support agencies, resulting in replicable innovative programs and web resources that spur local economic development and promote library sustainability. Learn how to make your library a "solution institution!"

Benefits and Learning Objectives

Program participants will learn three key lessons from the South Carolina Business & Workforce Development Initiative (WORKSC): How to incorporate business reference and good community business programming into the everyday mindset of the public library with a special emphasis on the training component; how to partner with business, workforce, literacy and adult education contacts to maximize the library's ability to partner in these areas; and, participants will observe an online portal that supports resources and services for local small businesses and Workforce Development Resources, emphasizing a replicable template, and including free tools to enhance communication, marketing and public relations. Participants will discover how to bring together the interests of rural and urban communities in support of local economic development efforts.

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  • New state librarian meant a new planning cycle with new strategic goals. The economy was still looking pretty good.
  • Notes: Many of the library staff surveyed collected book materials, used the statewide databases, but really had not thought of themselves as economic drivers for their communities. tate Library staff felt that it was time to emphasis our importance to the economic development community.
  • She actually has a seminar she calls it’s not rocket science. I think of it not as rocket science but library science. We needed the library community to come and join others from the business community and third sector to come and talk about how we share information. How can libraries be part of the solution and join in partnerships?Work together Nonprofits and govt. agencies learned how to “work with libraries to gather information to support local business clients and foster economic development through partnerships and collaboration.”
  • For many librarians they think of business or economic development as dirty words…but this is only because for many, it is outside their traditional service offerings. It’s just different. So much is changing in our information world, and librarians can be part of the solution. They are great at identifying resources, finding information, finding out what the community needs and providing it. They need to highlight those services, not hide them. In the long run, if you want your community to support you—and vote for supporting the library—you need to show ALL the wonderful things you can do and ALL the ways you are invaluable.
  • Will use notes from libraries that are conducting services.
  • Offer library space for business meetings, workshops and community programsInclude a business link on library websiteCreate/host networking opportunities for entrepreneurs; Sponsor workshops in libraryCreate community Fact Sheets and FAQs
  • KS Roadblocks and Detours


  • 1. The Public Library as Innovator:
    Statewide Partnershipfor Economic Development
    Presented by the South Carolina State Library:
    Denise Lyons, Nancy Rosenwald & Kathy Sheppard
  • 2. In The Beginning
    2007 Brought a New Director to the State Library: New Director = New Goals
    Libraries are essential to…
    Education & Cultural Heritage
    Economic Development
    The wellness of SC Citizens
    Family Literacy
    Good Governance
  • 3. 2008 Business Services Survey
    • 80% of SC Public Libraries reported up to 25 business-related questions per month
    50% of libraries felt uncertain about where to refer patrons
    • 80% of libraries would be willing to host workshops on library resources for the business community
  • Focus on Small Business
    Some libraries doing business outreach
    Was not a priority for others
    Who can help us develop a message about the importance of Economic Development? Opportunities for libraries?
    How about a Librarian?
  • 4. Economic Development Seminar
    Held in May with speaker and facilitator Christine Hamilton-Pennell (known for “economic gardening”)
    Librarians learned how to “put information-seeking skills to work to foster entrepreneurship and encourage business growth.”
  • 5. Mutual Understanding
    • Community agencies have a partner in the library
    • 6. Libraries to understand their role in Economic Development
    • 7. Get those Librarians off the desk and in the community
    • 8. LIBRARIES ADD VALUEto a community for many reasons…this is just one.
  • Facing the onslaught: Are YOU ready to do your part?
  • 9. South Carolina Finds a Way
  • 10. Kicking Your Services Up a Notch!
    Food of Love Productions LLC, http://www.emerils.com/
  • 11. Business Services:
  • 12.
  • 13. Union County, South Carolina
    • The Union County Carnegie Library is the only public library facility in Union, SC
    • 14. We serve a rural population of approximately 29,000
    • 15. The Bookmobile serves the small towns of Jonesville, Lockhart, Monarch, Carlisle, Buffalo, Cross Keys and West Springs
    • 16. Each of these towns was once centered on a textile mill, and each of the mills is now gone.
    • 17. Sumter National Forest comprises approximately one third of the county.
  • Union County Carnegie Library
  • 18. Facts about our community
    Our residents are:
  • Initial Plans to Promote:
    Small Business Development
    Support to Entrepreneurs
    Access to business related resources and websites
    Workshops for local business community
    Partnerships with local commerce agencies
    Support for individuals seeking licenses, permits and registrations
    Links to human resources: real estate agents, SCORE volunteers, business counselors
  • 29. Web Site Visits ( 435% increase FY06-FY09 )
    Library Visits ( 167% increase FY06-FY09 )
    Total Circulation ( 32% increase FY06-FY09 )
    Computer Use ( 154% increase FY06-FY09 )
  • 30. Actual Needs
    Help accessing on-line applications
    Information about government funds to support re-training and continuing education
    Assistance creating e-mail accounts
    Who can teach me how to use a mouse, create a resume, write a business letter?
  • 31. Workforce Assistance!
    Staff shift their efforts to one-on-one computer support
    Swiftly discover where to locate on-line applications for local job openings
    Create brief handouts and lessons for those needing support
    Learn to teach and assist
    Discover when to say NO
  • 32. Solutions
    Develop partnership with Workforce Investment Board
    Support is secured:
    Additional computers
    Trainer to work with patrons needing assistance
  • 33. Results!
    Good News: we received both computers and trainer
    Bad news: public distrusts Workforce Staff and will not work with them
    Important News: library staff are trusted and respected teachers and information experts
  • 34. Librarians as First Responders:
    • Library staff recognized as empathetic, supportive, involved and effective problem solvers
    • 35. Library viewed as third space
    • 36. Both provide vital resources to community as economic resources dwindle
    • 37. “Americans will go back to work at their public libraries”—David Goble, Director, South Carolina State Library
  • Changing Course
    Original Project is Refocused
    Major component is Workforce Development
    Project overlap is Small Business Resources/Services
  • 38. To The Rescue!
  • 39. WorkSC
    Target: Unemployed adults and those in transition.
    Purpose: assist SC citizens develop/enhance workforce skills and find jobs.
    Project overlap: Small Business Development
    Components: Trainer, Portal, Marketing
  • 40. www.worksc.org
  • 41. WORKSC 2010
    Think broadly in terms of employment
    Work in partnership: public libraries, Office of Human Resources, Project Compass & SCSL staff (communications, library development, web, DISCUS)
    Offer marketing support, including social media