The Obvious Place to Get Started in Business is the Library. Here’s why…

“Americans already think like entrepreneurs. Almost half say they’ve had a specific idea for an entrepreneurial venture in the past year or see opportunities in the economy for such ideas. But they’re unsure how to proceed — only 35 percent would know where to go for help. Think about it: We live in the most economically free country on the globe, yet only one person in three knows how to get help to get started in business.”
— Frank I. Luntz, The What Americans Really Want…Really: Revised Edition

Are you stuck in a job you hate? Looking for something to do with your life? Maybe you’ve always had ideas, dreams, about running a business — perhaps you’ve even shared them with friends or family who tell you to: Go for it! And you really want to…

…But you don’t know the first thing about starting a business. You don’t have much money, and no contacts to help you get started. The entire idea seems incredibly complicated — regulations, forms, lawyers, finances, and taxes all stand in the way. And what if you fail?

So what can you do? Go to the library.

The first step in realizing your new business idea is to go to the library.

The American dream is based, in part, on the notion of being self-made. In recent years, though, American entrepreneurship has been on the decline, and people aren’t entirely sure why. There’s no denying, though, that a lot of obstacles, both real and imagined, stand in the way of starting a business. Yet, with technological innovation rushing ever forward, and the Internet democratizing the business world, it’s more important than ever to have innovators stepping up to create the industries of tomorrow.

Libraries, as always, are here to help. Most people know that job-seekers already flock to the libraries to create resumes, apply for jobs, and learn new skills. What they don’t know is that libraries all over the country have also ramped-up their services to aspiring entrepreneurs. For example:

The New York Public Library’s Small Business Center has a wide array of programs and resources specifically for helping people establish themselves in business.


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Carson City, Nevada has the Business Resource Innovation Center, providing digital production tools and meeting spaces.

Other libraries hold joint programs with SCORE or their Chambers of Commerce, some assist with self-publishing manuscripts, many provide access to online business or investment databases through their websites, and a growing number, such as Chattanooga and Fayetteville, have makerspaces where designers can prototype their products for development.

Many libraries provide notary services, and some can even connect people with legal resources.

Of course, not all libraries have the budget for such innovative and exciting functions. All libraries, though, have resources for the self-starting businessperson. Libraries provide a comfortable workspace where people can meet, use Wifi, and work in a relaxed environment. Not to mention the librarians who are happy to find existing resources that are dedicated to small business in your community and connect you to them — helping you find information is their job, after all. And, of course, there are books — on subjects such as accounting, law, software, management, HR, marketing, writing business plans, grant-writing, and so much more.

You can do it, and the library is here to support. Have a business idea? Visit your local library and see what they have to offer!


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