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Public Library “Business Packages” Follow-up

April 22nd, 2011

Thanks to a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the Illinois State Library will provide more than 60 Illinois public libraries with “business packages”.  The packages include laptops, multimedia projectors, camcorders, software and training videos to assist small businesses and entrepreneurs in local communities. The business packages will be made available to public libraries on long term loan.  We’re thrilled with the early response from libraries interested in participating.  Here are answers to some of the questions we’ve received so far.

1.      What kinds of plans should a library have for working with business, especially if they have not done so before?

We’re looking for ways libraries plan to cooperate with their business community, so examples might be attending Chamber of Commerce meetings, providing library meeting space for business groups, participating in Project Compass: Workforce Recovery, or providing training in business software.

2. How will a library’s proximity to a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or SCORE office affect a library’s chances of being selected to participate?

The Small Business Administration is interested in having libraries use the services of these offices if possible.  However, libraries can work with another business organization if there is no SBDC or SCORE office in your area.  What’s important is that you are in contact with your business community and plan to work with them.

3. Can my public library partner with another public library for this project?

Yes!  One library will need to be the lead partner and complete the Interest Indicator Survey (see below) and be responsible for the equipment and software, but a partnership that makes practical sense for your community is fine.  Simply explain the partnership in one of the text boxes in the Interest Indicator Survey.  Partners will receive only one equipment and software package.

Public libraries must apply for the packages by May 16.  Complete the “Interest Indicator Survey” form posted at (http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/library/what_we_do/busandlibs.html).

On Wednesday, May 4 from 1:30-2:30pm, the State Library will host a webinar to answer any questions you may have about these business package grants. You do not need a password and registration is not required.  Simply point your browser to http://isl.acrobat.com/r36212252/to join the discussion.  (Before using Adobe Connect, it is recommended that participants look at the Getting Started Guide and run the Adobe Connect Test Connection Wizard. This will ensure that all users have the Adobe Connect Add-on installed on their computers. Links to these resources are provided at Adobe Connect Connection: Test: https://admin.adobe.acrobat.com/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm)

For more information or if you have other questions, please contact Joe Natale (jnatale@ilsos.net, 217-558-4185) at the Illinois State Library. (SBA funding should not be construed as an endorsement of any products, opinions, or services. All SBA-funded projects are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.)

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