New role for public libraries: small business incubators
Libraries already serve as de facto employment opportunity and training centers. Why not extend these supportive environments to startups and small businesses?
“The ultimate coworking space may have already been sitting in the middle of your town or city for decades now — the public library.
That’s the view The Atlantic’s Emily Badger puts forth in this proposal that provides an aging institution a new mission that makes really good use of tax dollars, while providing venues that promote startups and entrepreneurship. Libraries “have just about everything a 21st century innovator could need: Internet access, work space, reference materials, professional guidance,” she observes.
For the past few years, public libraries have been seeing strong demand to serve as resource centers for unemployed or underemployed job hunters, providing career reference materials and Internet access.
In a survey of 730 library managers I helped conduct in conjunction with Library Resource Guide, we found that many see their institutions as hubs that will help address the gap between unemployment and skills shortages among employers. Seven out of ten report increasing demand for Internet access, and more than one-third say they are seeing more patrons seeking technical information/training or job search/career development information.”