Libraries mean business. This summer saw the release of The People’s Incubator: Libraries Propel Entrepreneurship (pdf), a new report from the American Library Association (ALA), highlighting how libraries work with entrepreneurs during all stages of the business start-up process—from writing a business plan and raising capital to performing market analysis and prototyping. Coming soon on September 15, WebJunction is offering a webinar, Support Small Business Development at Your Library, going over the basics to help your library be an excellent resource for aspiring and experienced business owners.
We know there are great examples out there of Wyoming libraries supporting local entrepreneurs. We invited Rachael Svoboda, Business Services Coordinator for Laramie County Library System’s Library to Business (L2B) program to share what they do at LCLS and how it can help your library.
L2B Service – Not Just for Patrons
by Rachael Svoboda
Did you know that the Library 2 Business (L2B) service from the Laramie County Library System (LCLS) is ready and eager to help every public library in the state? L2B connects Wyoming citizens with Wyoming resources in business, job seeking, nonprofit stewardship, and financial literacy.
Adding makerspaces and technology centers are important, but in our current economic state these services may not be realistic goals. L2B is a more immediate and cost-effective way to expand public library services in Wyoming. The partnerships between L2B and the Wyoming business community support libraries as community centers.
For example, the collaboration between L2B and the Small Business Administration (SBA) has been presented to the SBA Rocky Mountain Region as a model for community partnership. Amy Lea, the district director of the Wyoming District Office, is working with L2B to provide a partnership framework that can be implemented in any Wyoming public library, regardless of size. Both the SBA and Wyoming Entrepreneur’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) have staff throughout the state who will reach out to their region’s public libraries.
Another statewide resource is the Financial Literacy Resource Handbook that L2B will create when LCLS hosts the Thinking Money exhibition in April 2017. The handbooks will include websites, lesson plans, and program suggestions provided by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation and Jump$tart Wyoming. They will be produced with Thinking Money grant funds and reviewed by exhibit partners such as the Wyoming Department of Banking, and will be available to check out through interlibrary loan.
Other L2B partnerships with statewide resources include SCORE (Counselors to America’s Small Business), Wyoming Entrepreneur’s Market Research Center and Procurement Technical Assistance Center, and the Wyoming Women’s Business Center (WWBC).
LCLS Business Services Coordinator Rachael Svoboda will be delighted to share information, suggestions, and contacts to help you and your patrons make the most of Wyoming’s business resources. Contact her at RSvoboda@LCLSonline.org or (307)773-7200.
Find more information on the L2B program, including handouts and monthly newsletter on the LCLS website.
Rachael Svoboda is a graduate of the University of Wyoming College of Business and a Standing Tall Member of the Center for Cowboy Ethics and Leadership. A Wyoming native, Rachael has working business knowledge of Casper, Laramie, Gillette and Cheyenne. She brings real-world business experience with Wyoming values to L2B.