Small Business and the Public Library: Strategies for a Successful Partnership [Review]

reviewed by Jill Mitchell

Small Business and the Public Library:  Strategies for a Successful Partnership
Luise Weiss, Sophia Serlis-McPhillips, and Elizabeth Malafi
Chicago:  ALA Editions, 2011
ISBN:  978-0-8389-0993-5
132 pages, $55.00

Luise Weiss, Sophia Serlis-McPhillips, and Elizabeth Malafi are all adult reference librarians who are associated with the Miller Business Resource Center at Middle Country Public Library in Centereach, New York.   Their combined experience produced Small Business and the Public Library:  Strategies for a Successful Partnership, a book that suggests strategies for catering to small businesses or to patrons wanting to start a business.

Small Business and the Public Library’s succinct chapters offer great tips on topics that include:  Business Services and the Mission of the Library, Collection Development,  Programming, Marketing, Networking, Partnerships, Funding, and the Future.  Each chapter includes a list of resources in addition to examples of brochures, room arrangements for programs, and newsletters.  Of particular help is the Collection Development chapter which contains a section on career service and provides names of free websites such as CareerOneStop, Career Builder, WorkSearch (sponsored by AARP), and Susan Ireland Resumes.

Although this book  is more relevant to larger public libraries, the smaller public library can also benefit from the resources included as well as the suggestions for how libraries can partner with local businesses.  For example, the authors suggest that smaller libraries can create a brochure with key ingredients for writing a resume, and that they can also host a workshop where participants can bring their resumes to be critiqued by a professional.  As availability of staff and budget allow, the smaller library can then decide on future steps to expand their business resources such as adding business materials, adding databases, doing programming, and arranging networking opportunities.

Small Business and the Public Library is recommended to Idaho public libraries who are looking for ideas to improve their services to the business community.

Jill Mitchell is currently finishing her MLIS with the University of North Texas SWIM cohort and works as Adult Services Manager/ILL Specialist at Meridian Library District.

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