Supporting Local Businesses and Entrepreneurs in the Digital Age
The Public Librarian's Toolkit
by Salvatore DiVincenzo and Elizabeth Malafi
September 2017, 117pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-5152-0
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5153-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs are an important part of every public library’s patron base. This guide explains how to provide business services at all sizes of libraries.

A timely reference for all public librarians who serve the business community in libraries, regardless of size or location—from small rural outposts to bustling big-city branches.

Serving communities today entails serving businesses—in particular, local businesses, entrepreneurs, and those looking to become entrepreneurs. Understandably, many librarians are not prepared for this role, and as a result feel uncomfortable in it. Supporting Local Businesses and Entrepreneurs in the Digital Age: The Public Librarian’s Toolkit explains how librarians and libraries can better serve the business community, offering specific guidance on everything from information resources—including books, databases, and free online sites—to programming, special events, marketing, and outreach.

Readers will gain insight into key topics ranging from embedded business librarianship, virtual business librarianship, and government documents to seminars, one-on-one appointments, and trade shows. Providing invaluable guidance based on the authors’ real-world experience and research as well as interviews with librarians in all sizes of libraries around the country, this book offers practical, actionable advice and proven best practices for serving local business owners and entrepreneurs.


  • Gives librarians tools and practical advice for better serving small businesses and entrepreneurs
  • Provides librarians with the "big picture" of serving small businesses, from collections and services to programs
  • Speaks to librarians at all sizes of libraries, offering concrete guidance and tips that they can immediately put to use in their community
  • Offers real-life examples from librarians throughout the United States
Salvatore DiVincenzo is the librarian at Middle Country Public Library. He serves as the chairperson of the RUSA/BRASS Business Reference in Public Libraries Committee of the American Library Association and was the recipient of the Morningstar Public Librarian Support Award in 2013. His career experience before entering the library world includes working for a digital advertising agency, providing high-level technical support for a software company, and international sales. DiVincenzo holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Dowling College in Oakdale, NY, and a master's degree in library science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

Elizabeth Malafi is coordinator of the Miller Business Resource Center at the Middle Country Public Library in Centereach, NY. She is coauthor of Small Business and the Public Library, a guide for librarians to connect with their business communities. In 2014, she was part of the team that developed Financial Literacy Education in Libraries: Guidelines and Best Practices for Service for ALA. Malafi is active in the business librarian community, having served as member-at-large for the Executive Committee of Business Reference And Services Section (BRASS) and as chair of BRASS's Business Reference in Public Libraries Committee. In 2008, she was awarded the D&B Public Librarian Support Award. Prior to becoming a librarian, Malafi worked in the sales departments of several publishing houses.


"Librarians, administrators, and support staff will all benefit from the information found in this book. The assemblage of resources listed, both free and subscription, is significant as libraries seek avenues for patron engagement in the business world. Highly recommended." —ARBAonline, December 6, 2017

"With this user-friendly guide, librarians in any type of public library—large, small, urban, rural—will be better equipped to meet the information needs of today’s entrepreneurs and small businesspeople. It’s packed with practical suggestions and real-life examples and covers programming, outreach, resource selection, and more. Each of its nine chapters ends with a few sage words of advice, and the bibliography is concise and current. This helpful and timely introduction to business services in today’s public library also acts as a refresher for experienced librarians."—Booklist Online, April 5, 2018
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