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Sunday, May 27, 2018

WCC’s Biz Resource Center is a Model for Other Libraries

(Editor’s note: The following article is by Bethany Kennedy, director of access services at WCC’s Richard W. Bailey Library).

Librarians and directors from higher education and municipal libraries recently visited WCC to learn about the Bailey Library’s new collection and services that support small business development in the area.

The half-day workshop, “From Library to Biz Resource Center,” focused on the partnership between the Bailey Library and the Michigan Small Business Technology Development Center, Region 12, which serves clients who are starting or running small businesses in Michigan. The collaboration established a series of market research workshops, a specialized business collection, and individual consultations with librarians for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Presentations at the workshop centered on the development of library services for SBTDC clients, the resources needed to support them, and how to best staff and provide services while balancing the needs of current library users and staff.

Victor Liu, dean of Learning Resources at WCC, felt that it was important to establish a linkage between the library and the economic life of the community. “We hope that by sharing with colleagues at other libraries how we set up and offer our resources and services as a Biz Resource Center, they will do likewise in their own communities,” said Liu.

The Public Libraries of Saginaw is one of a growing number of libraries in Michigan that are interested in providing specialized services and resources to their small business communities. “The program at WCC is very timely,” said Deborah Sanchez, coordinator of community relations. “We are just starting to create a series of workshops for entrepreneurs at our library. All libraries are trying to do more with less. This information will help us allocate our resources to better develop our own collection.”

Debby Sears, reference coordinator at the Jackson District Library, said that her library has started discussions with the MI-SBTDC in the Jackson area. “This workshop reaffirmed what we are already doing in our library, and gave me new ideas to take back,” she said.

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