Libraries are tasked with identifying and meeting community needs. This presentation will focus on how the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System serves its minority and women-owned small business owners and entrepreneurs. New business owners come from demographically diverse backgrounds with a wide variety of needs. To meet this scope, Hillsborough County libraries have selected partners that could share our commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. The library has partnered with a nonprofit providing bilingual assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs trying to establish or expand their business. Business workshops are held solely in Spanish at multiple library branches each month to assist those with limited English language skills. The presentation will also highlight some of the outreach and events held with local black and Hispanic groups and women-owned organizations. In particular, a large-scale women in technology event that allowed members of the community to discuss problems in the workforce and collaboratively list solutions and outcomes. The presenter has partnered with a local women’s business nonprofit to hold workshops in-house and demonstrate library resources to new customers. When choosing partners, it’s important to find aligned values and build an open partnership where feedback is given frequently and honestly. This presentation will highlight some lessons and takeaways on successfully partnering with outside groups and how all library sizes can reach a diverse community.
Laura Maury– Business & Entrepreneurial Support Coordinator, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library