Librarians Who Mean Business: Part 2
Libraries provide invaluable resources to local businesses, especially during tough economic times.
But this isn't necessarily a development that emerged recently.
In 1924, the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (Ohio) began a special center for business reference work. Today it is known as the Business and Investment Center.
“Our name reflects who we are. We provide timely and authoritative information for the business patron, as well as the patron who is seeking information on making personal finance decisions," said business librarian Hannah Moses.
Today, that mission remains strong. The library's Business and Investment Center not only provides valuable data, but also helps patrons who are trying to make important personal finance decisions.
The library serves entrepreneurs, business owners and job seekers alike. In other words, the entire spectrum of the business community.
It offers the most comprehensive collection databases in its three-county region, with resources like ReferenceUSA, DemographicsNow and Dun & Bradstreet Million Dollar Database.
Databases that are normally available to individuals and businesses at great expense are provided by the library at no cost.
At the center of all this activity is Moses, who has worked in the Business and Investment Center for 13 of her 24 years in the library system.
In fact, in one article, it states, "If librarian Hannah Moses had a penny for every time someone asked her for information on how to access funding for businesses, well, she might be able to hand over a business loan herself."
The library's services are especially important for an area that absorbed some tough economic body blows, including the disappearance of the crucial steel industry.
"So we have always felt that whatever we can do to enhance the economic vitality of our area is very important to us," Moses said.
She said the library tries to connect those who are unemployed with services that will lead them to the next plateau in their lives. For some patrons this means starting a home-based business. For others, it means looking to supplement declining wages with another salary.
Over the years, the center has held such seminars as "Finding Financial Aid for Your Business," which featured experts in economic development from such agencies as the Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corporation.
And on its 85th anniversary of serving the business community, the library held an open house at its main branch so patrons could obtain information from the business center on finance, starting a business and guide books to laws and licensing permits.
At the time, Moses was quoted saying about its offering the Morningstar database, "Whenever we have an event, we highlight Morningstar Investment Research Center. Attendees are impressed to learn that we subscribe to this database."
And this month, members of SCORE, Counselors to America's Small Business, advised patrons on starting a business. The seminar is given four times a year. The library also partners with SCORE for its Federal Contracting Workshop and its Creating a Business Plan program, in which the counselors from SCORE and the business librarian present the program.
In addition, the library offers a Book a Biz Librarian program. Business owners and those with a career in the world of business are able to meet for an extended period with Moses or the center's Kelly Marafiote to learn how the center's print and electronic resources can help them achieve their marketing goals.
The databases, which include not only Morningstar but also Standard & Poor's, are among the keys to the center's success.
“I think over the years the databases to which we subscribe have become increasingly important in connecting our business patrons and the other side of the center’s patrons with the information and data that they need," Moses said.
These databases contain, for example, valuable demographic information that will determine how they do business or lead them to important sales contacts or suppliers.
“I know there have been businesses that have said, 'Hurrah.' I call it the wow factor. Our business databases often produce a wow factor when we demonstrate them, either in our programs or one on one with people in the world of business.
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