Thirteen public libraries across the nation received funding from Libraries Build Business, a national initiative funded by a $2 million investment by Google.org as part of its Grow with Google program aimed at supporting community entrepreneurs.
“We're proud to work with the American Library Association to bring this program to life. With the COVID-19 crisis, there has never been a more critical time to support our small businesses and ensure they can survive and thrive well into the future,” Jacquelline Fuller, president of Google.org, said in a news release. "Libraries are the gathering places of many communities, and increasingly they are learning centers for entrepreneurs. Their role is vital in our collective effort to support small business leaders and entrepreneurs who need it most."
With the funding, Richland Library plans to continue its entrepreneur-in-residence program, offer enhanced learning and networking opportunities, and add to its Library of Things, a collection of production equipment ranging from microphones to cameras.
“With a goal of advancing our community, Richland Library intends to support aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners who are ready to take their creative talents to the next level,” Diane Luccy, business and careers manager, said. “By providing direct access to professional resources, we are encouraging learning opportunities, and we are empowering both traditional and creative entrepreneurs who could eventually leave their imprint on the economy.”
Other libraries receiving funds are located in Georgia, Florida, Kansas, California, Missouri, Maryland, Maine, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Washington and Wyoming.
“Libraries Build Business showcases libraries’ role as catalysts for equitable opportunity, just when it’s needed most,” Julius Jefferson, ALA president, said. “In this time of economic hardship for many, the challenges are most acute for communities of color and people with low incomes. Even in a better economy, fewer than 30% of U.S. businesses were minority-owned. By expanding services such as business classes and workshops, mentorship opportunities, database and research expertise, co-working and makerspaces and specialized equipment and technology, Libraries Build Business is paving a way to revitalize our business communities.”o