Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Out with the library

Before I left P&G it seemed the "library" and the organization running it changed names at least every two years in an effort to find their role and rebrand themselves. It seemed to me as long ago as 15 years ago that they were an organization in search of a problem to solve. Today I read about Governor Strickland in Ohio cutting funds for Ohio public libraries by 50%. While I readily acknowlege that today libraries provide community benefits far beyond their collections (access to computers, social hangout, literacy programs, quiet place to study), I just wanted to reflect on the impact of this to research needs of small business.

In the Cincinnati area where I reside, there are some outstanding opportunities by the public library system to partner with a host of organizations trying to help people create new businesses. This remains important because people don't know what they don't know and can know (for free). Appears to me that much of this will become quickly more virtual in the current funding deficit environment. There will still be smaller brick and mortar libraries but they will perhaps be nothing more than a couple of staff and many work stations plugged into ever better software which allows citizens across Ohio to self-serve. Ohio's library (the US') will become a virtual collection. The other functions of the library in the community will come from someplace else.

Chambers of Commerce, SBDC, SCORE, ESC, Urban League and others beware. Perhaps rather than lobby the State House for more funds, it will be better to help envision and craft the future of this entity and probably to better equip your own members, counselors, volunteers to be more capable in Do It Yourself business intel.

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