Librarian services to entrepreneurs


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Presentation to Creating Entrepreneureal Communities conference, October 3, Marshall, MI

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  • When you were setting up the biz plan
  • Or when you now need more people and you are the idea person not HR
  • Or you have hired them and it feels like herding cats
  • Or you now have somebody who is totally evangelical about a school of thought you had not bothered with before
  • Cats and processes needing to be herded again
  • Or the excrement has hit the rotary propeller
  • And now you are doing a web page refresh and you suspect you are not speaking the techie’s language
  • The best stuff still has to be paid for, most of the time. If you put together a fabulous information tool using hundreds of man-hours of research, programming, and editing, would you sell it or would you give it away for free? Right. We use economies of scale to purchase those databases so that all our patrons have access to them. We are charged by the potential user, which is why you need your library card or state ID to get in.
  • You or the entrepreneurs you support may not find searching the web or searching a database intuitive.
  • Students and their mothers in panic from assignments, a patron with a new diagnosis of cancer, 15 new emails on the affordable care act, a senior fell down the stairs, inventory loss, tax funding variances and another talk about doing more with less…
  • Librarian services to entrepreneurs

    1. 1. How Do We Add Value? Nicolette Warisse Sosulski, MLIS Business Librarian, Portage District Library
    2. 2. Stereotype • Bunhead Shusher • Storytimes • Moldy Books • Card Catalog • Study Carrels • Agatha Christie, Danielle Steel, Tom Clancy, Janet Evanovich • Introverted Book Custodian • Protected Public Servant in Book-filled Sanctuary Business Librarian • Search Ninja • Market Research Classes • Recent Statistics & Databases • Internet Guru • Wi-Fi on the Road • Guy Kawasaki, Chris Anderson, Sheryl Sandberg, Seth Godin • Community Networker • Tough Cookie
    3. 3. • Weird Brain • Exposure to multiple disciplines • Search Term Strategist • Classes in Taxonomy and Classification ( otherwise known as “what would they call it and where would they have put it?”) • Practice, Practice, Practice (I probably have 20K hours of searching under my belt. One learns stuff) Search Ninja
    4. 4. ad adsad ad One program rather than desired list
    5. 5. Instead of those Moldy Books and Romance Novels that you pictured, would these be helpful? (Warning: Library Collections May Vary)
    6. 6. Instead of those Moldy Books and Romance Novels you pictured, would these be helpful? (Warning: Library Collections May Vary)
    7. 7. Instead of those Moldy Books and Romance Novels that you pictured, would these be helpful? (Warning: Library Collections May Vary)
    8. 8. Instead of those Moldy Books and Romance Novels that you pictured, would these be helpful? (Warning: Library Collections May Vary)
    9. 9. Instead of those Moldy Books, Romance Novels, would these be helpful? (Warning: Library Collections May Vary)
    10. 10. Instead of those Moldy Books and Romance Novels that you pictured, would these be helpful? (Warning: Library Collections May Vary)
    11. 11. Instead of those Moldy Books and Romance Novels that you pictured, would these be helpful? (Warning: Library Collections May Vary)
    12. 12. Search Sectors Search Terms Related Fields Industry Classification Business News Market Trends Census Statistics Professional Associations Reliability Validation Market Researcher
    13. 13. Databases are collections of articles, research findings, patents, directory listings, or other information points that are collected in searchable and sortable formats. Library budgets in the digital age are more and more heading to these types of resources. If we still have print, it is because of availability, or more likely, cost. Databases. Look for these on every library web page. They may be under “online resources” or “research tools.”
    14. 14. Market research is more and more searching the web and databases. Ask your library if they will partner with you to offer search and market research courses. I teach Business Research Essentials once a month and get referrals from the SBTDC and SCORE, among others. Even if you have access to research through the SBTDC for a start- up, the entrepreneur who is updating his or her business plan regularly needs to be able to do some of it on his or her own. Trainer Coach
    15. 15. In your business we know it gets tough. Things get real— we get that. It does not get much more real than the public library…. We have to meet a budget, balance inventory costs vs. personnel costs, keep stakeholders satisfied to maintain cash flow, and do more with less. Sound Tough Cookie
    16. 16. • Some-Assembly-Required Analysis • Professional Associations and Publications • Contacting other libraries to see if they have something we do not • Interlibrary Loan • Professional Referrals
    17. 17. You • Knowledge of your business • Knowledge of your industry (though we will help you better that through market research assistance) • Explanation of information needs and timeframes • Some assembly possibly required—analysis or bringing together of data from multiple sources may be necessary Librarian • Search strategist • Source expert and friend of source experts • Source location and/or acquisition assistant • Search coach, trainer, and consultant rather than researcher on retainer (though some libraries do offer research for a fee)
    18. 18. Public Libraries • May have generalists rather than a business specialist • Open to all—even those from out of district • Databases usually accessible in-house even without library card • Can interlibrary loan for cardholders • Primary focus is cardholders in the library district Academic Libraries • More likely to have a specialty business liaison • Some sources may be restricted • Some access to the library may be restricted in case of private institutions. Many online resources accessible from within the building • Larger collection budget • Primary focus is university community
    19. 19. There is no universal library card good at all libraries—not even for librarians. We can usually see the electronic resources they have but can’t get into them—only those who are taxpayers in that library district or affiliated with that college or university can access the resources paid for by their taxes or tuition dollars. However, the Library of Michigan through the Michigan eLibrary at, provides a quality set of online resources for all Michiganders, as well as the opportunity to see the holdings of other libraries and borrow them through MeLCat, if your library participates in MeLCat.
    20. 20. Lets Get to Work!