The American Library Association has released a new report that showcases the impact of the Libraries Build Business initiative on small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country, as well as the library profession. Libraries Build Business (LBB), a $2 million national initiative supported by Google.org, launched in early 2020 and culminated with the release of the Libraries Build Business Playbook in February 2022. The insights, lessons, and outcomes from this initiative can be leveraged for further impact on economic opportunity and advancement in communities across the United States.
The Libraries Build Business Initiative Highlights report demonstrates the critical role of libraries in the small business and entrepreneurial ecosystem while providing specific examples of impact in urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities across the country. Because of their reach, information and resources, and strategic and flexible collaboration, libraries are uniquely positions to be partners, leaders, and connectors in thriving local economies.
The Laramie County Library System is part of the LBB cohort with the Wyoming Library to Business program. It’s a free business-focused and community driven resource, based in local libraries around the state. The goal is to connect Wyoming entrepreneurs and business owners with a curated network of business experts, resources to learn new skills, and the tools to succeed at every stage.
Wyoming Library to Business (WL2B) launched in 2021 through collaboration between Rachael Svoboda, Laramie County Library System’s Business Services Coordinator and Stephen Boss, UW’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship Librarian. Svoboda won the Wyoming Library Association’s 2021 Outstanding Librarian award for her work as WL2B Project Manager, her role as a Libraries Build Business peer coach, and her instrumental role in securing continued funding to advance the work of scaling WL2B across the state. Boss is the recipient of the University of Wyoming’s 2022 Agnes Milstead Distinguished Librarianship Award for his work as WL2B Project Engineer, his partnership with public libraries, and for assisting the development and implementation of a program that improves access and support for rural entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses across the state. These achievements are one example of the effort, commitment, and caliber of the LBB grantees and the significant opportunity this project provided to make a long-lasting, scalable impact in the small business space.
For more information about Libraries Build Business, visit the ALA website to learn about the Libraries Build Business cohort programs and view other available resources, including the Libraries Build Business Playbook and Libraries That Build Business: Advancing Small Business and Entrepreneurship in Public Libraries from ALA Editions. This book is available from the Wyoming State Library and other Wyoming libraries through WYLDCat.