While I spent many years at our gorgeous Main library location in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, I now work at our Downtown & Business location amidst the hustle and bustle of the city’s busy business corridor. We do all of the things you might normally associate with a busy urban public library–circulating thousands of items per day, providing computer access, and acting as an impromptu welcome center for newly arrived travelers. We also do business. I mean Business with a capital “B.” Our location performs as a regional hub for the dissemination of business and economic information to any library user in our region who needs it. I thought it might be fun to provide a quick primer on our role in the amazing machine that is the CLP system. Indeed you can get a great start on any business project at any of our nineteen city locations, but once you’ve done your initial research, you will likely find yourself wanting to access the specialized resources and expertise the staff at D&B can afford you.
We assist patrons with access to powerful databases like AtoZ Databases, Mergent Intellect, and Value Line Online. With these and numerous other electronic products, we perform both mediated searches and library instruction catering to users of all ability levels.
We select, maintain, and manage a large collection of print and audio-visual resources related to business, small business, and career development. Our business planning resources stand second to none in Western PA, and our online Business Plans & Profiles Index will tell you exactly what you can expect to find when you arrive on site. Can’t make it Downtown? We’ll send most material to any location in our system for you. We also offer business and other programs in our on site meeting room.
Through Book a Librarian we work directly with our patrons during extended sessions to get the most out of these DB resources and meet their various business research needs. Doing mediated searches for entrepreneurs in products like Kompass or Mergent Intellect requires a facility with those products that comes with experience, and that’s where our trained and expert staff step in. Recent examples of questions requiring our unique expertise include:
- Providing a list of U.S. companies who export to India
- Finding Chilean companies who do business in the U.S.
- Guiding a recently arrived entrepreneur in developing a plan to open a bicycle shop in the South Hills
Assisting entrepreneurs and small business owners start or grow their businesses helps CLP fulfill its focus on Workforce Development. That’s a fancy way of saying that we play a pivotal role in priming the twin engines of entrepreneurship and innovation in our community. That’s a lot to take on, and we don’t do it alone. Our partners in the Job And Career Education Center at Main Library provide focused career services and instruction, and they’ve zealously embraced the maker movement here in Pittsburgh.
If you want to learn more about how CLP gets down to business, ask a librarian, or come by 612 Smithfield Street in Downtown Pittsburgh and check it out for yourself!