The Durango Public Library might not be the first thing that comes to mind when small-business owners and entrepreneurs think about growth, and thats exactly why the library hosted its first Business Resource Workshop on Thursday night.
Small-business owner Ron Corkish, workshop attendee, said he was intrigued by the idea of the library embracing the business community.
If there are small-business resources at the library, then our businesses in this community need to be aware of those resources, he said.
Corkish, who is involved with the La Plata Economic Development Alliance, said the library can play an important role in the growth of the local economy.
The workshop is for anybody who has a business, said Donna Arment, the librarys business research specialist. The information that we have is good for anybody. Entrepreneurs and people who are even thinking about starting a business this helps them.
Arment guided workshop participants through a variety of online resources, all easily accessible from home. The business resource webpage is linked to online journals, downloadable e-books, e-audiobooks and two new databases.
The recently purchased databases BusinessDecisions and Gale Small Business Resource Center are useful tools that can provide local demographics, salary ranges, household numbers and a variety of other data, Arment said.
The purchase of BusinessDecisions was made possible by a generous donation from Friends of the Library, Arment said.
The databases give market background and help people who are new to starting a business to see what the needs are in the area, she said. It also helps current businesses improve their customer base.
The databases, ideal for startups, also provide templates for business plans, reports for industry research and journal articles for further research, she said.
The library also has a growing collection of instructional books about how to effectively use social media in a business setting.
We know social networking is huge, so we have a lot of books on helping folks work with social networks, Arment said.
A growing collection of business-related paper materials, including books, journals and magazines, also are available.
Nothing is scheduled yet, but another workshop could be in the works by the end of May, Arment said.
We pay for the library with our taxes, she said. Its here, and wed like people to start utilizing us and getting some more support for our economic development here in Durango.
The Durango Public Library also sponsors and co-sponsors other workshops with the Durango Chamber of Commerce and the Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis College.
The development center, located in the Education Business Hall, provides free counseling services to both new and existing businesses.
Joe Keck, director of the center, said it has economic gardening databases to help people figure out how to grow their business and to determine whether the market is big enough to start their company.
Keck said the center, which serves five counties, is able to pull lifestyle lists that can be analyzed to determine what might be the best strategy for a given business.
We had a nonprofit that wanted a list of folks in La Plata County with incomes of $500,000 a year or more immediate family income, and whether or not they had a high propensity for being a donor to non-profits, Keck said. The list ended up being three pages, which surprised the heck out of us.
FLCs Reed Library also provides business-oriented services that are available to the community.
Information Services Librarian Minna Sellers said all of the colleges databases, with the exception of three specialized business sources, are accessible onsite by community members.
Although three resources are available for student use only, there are still several business resources available to the general public, Sellers said. Print materials also are available for on-site community use.
All community users are welcome to use the library onsite, Sellers said. We make all our databases, with few exceptions, as well as our book resources, available to them.