Public Libraries Briefcase

No. 21, Summer 2009

A publication of the BRASS Business Reference in Public Libraries Committee

Links Updated November 2014

Using Local Business Sources in a Challenging Economy

Pinar Arcan
Reference Librarian
Business, Technology and Science Division
DC Public Library
Washington, DC

Patrons frequently ask for resources in their local community that will help them in these tough economic times. Information provided below for one region can guide users to sources in their local area.  Similarly, general information sources can include local information.  This briefcase includes selected sources divided into three sections: “Economic Recovery,” “Job Searches,” and “Small Business.”

Economic Recovery
This site gives information about the Library of Congress’ business sources and links.
This address lists a selection of organizations useful for business information and research.
This site tracks developments under the: “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.”  It provides links to sites that list job opportunities.
By using this site, users can locate job and business opportunities created by the Act in various states and territories.

The National Governor’s Association website at has several resources, including the Reinvestment Act Resource Center.  Under the title “NGA Center for Best Practices,” there is a guide for “Using Arts and Culture to Stimulate State Economic Development.”  It may be accessed at the following address: 
This site presents the “tracking and implementation assistance for the ‘American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009’” with respect to cities.  There is a listing of “Best Practices” from various cities, including “Best Small Business Practices” from June 2003.
The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance lists Federal programs available to states, territories, and local governments.  It provides information of interest and relevance  to public and private entities, profit and nonprofit organizations, and individuals.

Job Search
Users can search for jobs by state at this site, as well as find information on unemployment benefits..
This site offers a map where users can search for Department of Labor programs by state, including links to job searches.

A helpful “Public Library Briefcase” on this topic, entitled “Job Hunting Tips and Resources” and prepared by Sharon Vincent, can be found at the following address:

Small Business
Sponsored by the U.S. government, this site for small businesses provides links to state and local resources.
One of the goals of Small Business Development Center National Information Clearinghouse is to “empower the entrepreneur with business information.”

Users may locate a local SBDC advisor at  
Searching here under the keyword “business,” users may locate bibliographies or pathfinders on a variety of topics, including “Starting a Small Business.”
This site has essential tax information for small business and self-employment, as well as links to state resources. 
Small business resources—including Small Business Development Centers identified by state —may be searched here. offers free online courses from the Small Business Administration. 
SCORE is a nonprofit organization made up of retired and working executives and business owners who act as counselors to entrepreneurs.  In partnership with SBA, SCORE offers business templates for use in a variety of start-up tasks. Users may locate a local chapter at
This site provides small business toolkits and hosts a small business library.

Users may find a local Chamber of Commerce via an interactive map at

Links to government assistance programs are available at, as are links to small business loans.

The Library of Congress has compiled a bibliography entitled “The Entrepreneur’s Reference Guide to Small Business Information” that is available at the following web address:  Some of the works listed are not as current as others, such as annuals.
Local Business Development Centers--such as the Alexandria Business Development Center, in Alexandria, Virginia—can provide useful information for economic survival.  Posted on its web site is "Strategies for an Economic Downturn,” a checklist with suggestions for surviving in a difficult economy.

A useful “Public Library Briefcase” on this topic, entitled “Small Business Online Sources” and prepared by Rhonda H. Kleiman, is available here: