Economic Development

Earning Our Place at the Table: What Librarians Need to Know to Support Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
11 a.m. ET / 10 a.m. CT

Supporting entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, and small business owners is a goal for a growing number of libraries. And libraries have long supported the needs of job seekers and business students. However, most librarians (including the presenter) do not have a background in business. Many of us might struggle to speak the language of business research, let alone understand how entrepreneurs use market, industry, and financial data to make strategic decisions.

In this presentation and discussion, Steve will define core competencies and skill sets that libraries can develop to enable proactive and effective engagement with entrepreneurs. These skills apply to public, academic, and school media librarians. He will also outline the core categories of secondary research that entrepreneurs usually need, and will identify a few subscription business databases that do work with multi-library consortia.

Presenter: Steven Cramer

Steve is the business and entrepreneurship librarian at UNC Greensboro. As a Coleman Fellow for Entrepreneurship Education, he teaches a 3-credit class “Researching Opportunities in Entrepreneurship & Economic Development” to graduate students and upper-level undergrads across campus each spring semester. He is also embedded in an entrepreneurship capstone class required of all UNCG entrepreneurship majors and minors plus Arts Administration majors.

Steve is co-founder of Business Librarianship in North Carolina (BLINC), a member of ALA’s BRASS, and a Carolina Consortium negotiator. He co-created a RUSA Pilot Interest Group on Entrepreneurship. Recently Steve became co-chair of the Entrepreneurship & Libraries Conference (Durham, NC, November 2020,, whose planning group includes public, special, community college, and university librarians from across the country (and one from Toronto).

He was awarded the BRASS Excellence in Business Librarianship award in April 2020 (largely for mentoring and supporting early career librarians and co-founding BLINC) and the PrivCo Prize for Excellence in Business Librarianship in 2015 (largely for his Coleman work and class).

The Important Role Libraries Play in Supporting Local Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses
1 p.m. ET / 12 noon CT

Now more than ever, libraries play a crucial role in providing support for small business and entrepreneurs in their communities.  With the influx of resources and information for small business due to the Coronavirus pandemic and countless places to access them, the knowledge and expertise of a librarian is essential.  Join us for a talk with Ginny Sterpka from Creative Startups highlighting the important role libraries play in bolstering entrepreneurship during this unprecedented moment, in the time that follows, and under regular everyday circumstances.

Presenter: Ginny Sterpka

Ginny is the Community Based and Creative Placemaking Programs Manager at Creative Startups, the leading global business accelerator for creative entrepreneurs. She leads the growth and development of the Libraries as Launchpads program which seeks to transform libraries into vibrant creative entrepreneurship hubs.

Libraries as Launchpads was launched in 2018 by Creative Startups, in partnership with the New Mexico State Library and New Mexico’s public and tribal libraries, with a goal to provide greater access to resources for underserved entrepreneurs across the state. The program takes a community-based approach to ecosystems development by building the local capacity to support startups in the creative industries. Read more about Libraries as Launchpads here.

Since 2018, Creative Startups has worked with state & regional library systems, state and local government organizations, local libraries, friends groups, and foundations to transform their libraries into launchpads. Libraries as Launchpads has worked with 15 libraries, trained 14 local entrepreneurship educators, & served 70 entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneur Academy: Moving Public Libraries from Job Fill to Job Creation
2 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. CT

In 2018, Baltimore County Public Library and Enoch Pratt Free Library began a collaboration to serve entrepreneurs in the greater Baltimore region. The result was Entrepreneur Academy, which helped establish the library as an economic driver in the greater Baltimore community and increased our visibility with customers, funders and politicians. Staff describe how two central Maryland library systems with different jurisdictions, governing bodies and staff structure came together to serve entrepreneurs.

Presenters: Julie Brophy, Baltimore County Public Library, Adult & Community Engagement, Manager
Wesley Wilson, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Maryland State Library Resource Center, Chief