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November 4, 2018

Not Just for Books- Why the Library Maybe your Best Source of Business resources, coaching and assistance

By Jennifer Hodges, PhD, MS, MLIS

The holiday season brings with it delicious food and celebration, but it is also an important time of year to reflect, give thanks and give back. Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library supports the many ways that local charities, small businesses, and entrepreneurs can give back by reaching out into the community and providing resources to help them thrive.

From startups to established ventures, businesses benefit from quality informational resources and spaces to develop ideas. Hillsborough County libraries offer professional recording studios where community members can record podcasts, create presentations with Adobe Creative Cloud or Apple software, film a commercial, develop a YouTube series to build their brand, or use the green screen to capture professional headshots.

Several libraries host networking events geared to help small business owners and entrepreneurs expand their knowledge base, develop long-lasting partnerships, and establish their reputation in the community. The Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library hosts BizConnect the first Friday of each month at 8 a.m., and Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library hosts a partnership networking group the fourth Thursday of each month at 9 a.m. Both groups are open to anyone who wants to learn about library business resources and listen to guest speakers share their knowledge and experiences.

Wednesdays at 9 a.m., entrepreneurs meet at the Hillsborough County Entrepreneur Collaborative Center (ECC) for 1 Million Cups. This is a unique opportunity for startup companies to present their ideas to an audience of peers, mentors, educators, and advisors. A business librarian is also available at the ECC on Wednesdays between 1-4 p.m. to offer help with research and guidance in using the library’s resources. Individual 1-hour appointments can be scheduled by calling (813) 273-3652.

A Hillsborough County library card provides access to online business resources anywhere, any time. Through the library’s website, the community can take business classes on Lynda.com, develop targeted market research with Demographics Now, or generate sales leads with ReferenceUSA. To learn more, check the events calendar for upcoming workshops or make an appointment for Library Office Hours at the ECC. Visit the library’s business page here https://hcplc.org/research/business and business workshop calendar here http://bit.ly/HCPLCSmallBiz.

The library partners with the Foundation Center to offer their grant research tools to the community for free at the John F. Germany Public Library in downtown Tampa. With Foundation Directory Online, local charities can search for grants to fund community projects or for companies that match volunteer hours with real dollars. Foundation Grants to Individuals Online opens doors to grant and scholarship opportunities to enhance career skills or fund a pilot program. Learn more on the library’s Grants & Fundraising page here http://hcplc.org/research/grants or schedule individual assistance by calling (813) 273-3652.

Community-building connections happen every day at Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Libraries. Visit us at www.HCPLC.org.