Many people think the local public library is great for kids and seniors but most of them don’t realize the important role it plays in the lives of small business owners and entrepreneurs. In addition to books and multimedia on creating and running a business, local public libraries often offer space for meetings and training, giving startup teams and entrepreneurs a place to gather outside of the traditional coffee shop locations.
Equally valuable is the availability of resources like sample business plans and employee policies, and extensive databases full of community demographic info, industry trends, competitor information and consumer spending habits. Big companies think nothing of buying these resources for themselves but many of them can be far-reaching and very expensive for the startup entrepreneur.
Morgan Perry from Mid-Continent Public Library (MCPL) says the information in the databases tells the story of the community around you, down to specific households and what they are willing to spend on specific products. “If you are thinking of opening a new restaurant location and you’d like to know on average how many people drive by the potential location every day, you can find that information in our databases – free!” says Perry.
MCPL subscribes to 276 databases, which are available at all MCPL branch locations. In addition, 271 of those resources are available remotely with a valid MCPL card. The library card allows you to go online to the MCPL website and cross-search multiple databases and research topics without leaving the comfort of your home. Lastly, Morgan Perry is available to come out to meet with a business to discuss information a business needs from the database.
“Each taxpayer pays about $4.34 a year for their local library,” says Perry. “Our library decided to take some of that money and purchase several nationwide databases full of information that will really help our small business owners.” Two of the databases purchased were Reference USA and Demographics Now with information in both databases dating back as far as ten years.
The Mid-Continent Public Library has worked to stay current with the services it provides its community. On May 8, 2014, the Mid-Continent Public Library was honored at the White House. MCPL was awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the highest national honor a museum and library can be provided for services available to its individuals, families, and communities.
The businesses in Martin City are excited to see continued growth in collaborative ventures between the Mid-Continent Public Library, neighborhoods, and business people! For more information on business services at Mid-Continent Public Library, please contact Morgan Perry to schedule a visit to your location (you don’t even have to go to the library – they will come to you!) or visit their website at www.mymcpl.org