Libraries Build Business



Overview & Objectives

Libraries Build Business (LBB) is a national initiative supported by Google.org to build capacity in libraries offering programming or services to local entrepreneurs and the small business community. The purpose of this initiative will be to answer the following question: What library-led entrepreneurship models will best help low-income and/or underrepresented entrepreneurs start and grow small businesses? Google.org recognizes that public libraries - with their nearly 17,000locations nationwide - are critical pillars of the community in supporting job seekers, small business owners and entrepreneurs alike. They have a critical role in addressing inequities in opportunity and there are numerous examples of libraries leading and partnering in local and state digital inclusion efforts.  

The LBB cohort, in collaboration with the ALA project team, will help answer this question and contribute knowledge and practical resources to the field, ultimately identifying successful entrepreneurship programs in public libraries and scaling the LBB initiative. The cohort consists of 13 libraries representing a selection from 12 states and including rural, tribal, urban, and suburban communities. In line with the overall project emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion, selected libraries have demonstrated an institutional commitment to providing programming, resources, and other supports for small businesses and/or entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups and/or low-income communities.  

The LBB cohort will create a playbook with promising practices and example programs and peer-to-peer learning network available to all libraries so that these successful models can be replicated across the country. Additionally, an evaluation framework will be available to observe and measure their program outcomes. The initiative aims to provide 15,000 people from underserved and/or low-income backgrounds with direct entrepreneurship services that will measurably help them start or grow their small business. 


Project Phases 

Phase 0: COVID-19 Response & Recovery 

Phase 1: Measurement & Evaluation Development: the Theory of Change, co-developed with the LBB cohort  

Phase 1: Project Implementation 

Phase 2: Scaling 

 

 

 


About the Cohort


Tools & Resources


Join Our Libraries Build Business Community

Are you developing or implementing a small business or entrepreneur program or service at your library? Join our Slack discussion board and get connected with the Libraries Build Business cohort and other library workers! Come ask questions, share resources and advice, learn about events, and get connected with other library workers interested in small business and entrepreneur development!

For more information about Libraries Build Business, please contact Megan Janicki, project manager (mjanicki@alawash.org). 


Meet the Libraries Build Business Peer Coaches

Starting in summer 2021, we will be offering Libraries Build Business coaching! Whether you are new to small business programming, or looking to try something new, connect with a coach and receive peer support, resources, and feedback. No library is too big or small to receive coaching and our coaching pool represents a diverse group of program types, locales, and stakeholders. Sign up now and we will be in touch!

Our Libraries Build Business coaches are valued leaders in our Community and demonstrate expertise in small business and entrepreneurship development. We are pleased they we will be serving in the role of coach and ALA Fellow in 2021-2022. Look out for more more information coming soon about the coaches and the small business programming at their library!

  • Adriana McCleer

    Adriana McCleer
    Appleton Public Library, WI

  • Karly Feinberg

    Karly Feinberg
    Baltimore County Public Library, MD
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  • Christopher Bourret

    Christopher Bourret
    Providence Public Library, RI
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  • Dianne Luccy

    Diane Luccy
    Richland Library, SC
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  • Danielle Milton

    Danielle Milton
    Spokane County Library District, WA
  • Yee Lee Vue

    Yee Lee Vue
    Appleton Public Library, WI
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  • Rachael Svoboda

    Rachael Svoboda
    Laramie County Library System, WY
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  • Ann Poulous

    Ann Poulos
    Providence Public Library, RI
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  • Stacey Goddard

    Stacey Goddard
    Spokane County Library District, WA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Additional Background

US libraries are already contributing to economic vitality in virtually every community across the country. They have a critical role in addressing inequities in opportunity and there are numerous exemplars of libraries leading and partnering in local and state digital inclusion efforts.

Almost 1 in 2 libraries in the US already provides free services to entrepreneurs who wish to start and grow their business. These range from offering free access to market trends databases to hosting business coaching classes, providing incubation space, and in some cases, providing seed capital through business plan competitions.

The purpose of this initiative will be to answer the following question: What library-led entrepreneurship models will best help low-income and/or underrepresented entrepreneurs to start and grow small businesses? Models refer to a broad category of activities that a library may carry out to support entrepreneurs. For example leading a seed funding business plan competition could be one model, leading a small business incubator could be another and partnering with community-based organizations could be a third one. The cohort in collaboration with the ALA project team will help answer this question and contribute knew knowledge and practical resources to the field.

With support from
Google.org.