Embedded Business Librarianship for the Public Librarian

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When a public library invests in building relationships with business owners, professionals, and job seekers in the community, it is investing in the livelihood, well-being, and future of all of its citizens. By demonstrating how the library is a valuable resource for these patrons, the embedded business librarian can be an equal partner in the business community and have an equal voice. As a business liaison librarian, Alvarez has taught nearly 150 job seekers, completed over 100 one-on-one appointments with business owners and professionals, and co-produced numerous videos and podcasts with entrepreneurs. Here she distills her experiences into a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to developing sustainable library-business relationships. Speaking to beginners as well as those who may already have a background in business reference or outreach, this book

  • introduces the concept  of embedded business librarianship, emphasizing how it extends beyond outreach to include integration with the business community;
  • discusses how the embedded business librarian not only cultivates awareness of the library's resources and expertise, but is also a valued contributor to the business community's conversation;
  • recommends research sources and strategies for learning the needs, goals, and partnership opportunities of the local business community;
  • outlines a five-step process for reaching out to organizations, businesses, and professionals to cement long-lasting ties;
  • details the important differences between business owners, professionals, and job seekers, offering guidance on the best ways to approach and engage them as well as techniques for forming sustainable partnerships with each group;
  • shows how to create a co-working space, illustrated using real life examples from libraries that have created  their own business spaces for networking and collaboration; and
  • talks about the importance of continuing education for the embedded business librarian, highlighting books, blogs, podcasts, news sources, online training, librarian support groups, and other avenues for expanding one's expertise.

Loaded with recommended practices for increasing engagement and developing courses and programs for business owners, professionals, and job seekers in the community, this book points the way towards making the library an integral part of the business community in ways that are realistic and sustainable.


Chapter 1: Embedded Business Librarianship
Chapter 2: Getting to Know Your Library's Business Community
Chapter 3: Navigating the Business Community
Chapter 4: Networking with the Three Core Groups of the Business Community
Chapter 5: Bringing It Back to the Library
Chapter 6: The Embedded Business Librarian as Liaison
Chapter 7: Continuing Education for the Embedded Business Librarian
Chapter 8: Putting It All Together


Barbara A. Alvarez

Barbara A. Alvarez has been teaching and training the public for five years. As a librarian, she has partnered with local government, historical centers, nonprofit groups, and the business community. When she served as the business liaison librarian for nearly two years at the Barrington Area Library in Barrington, Illinois, she taught over 150 job seekers, completed more than 100 one-on-one appointments with local business owners and professionals, and coproduced numerous videos and podcasts with entrepreneurs. For her efforts, she was nominated for the Athena Leadership Award for innovation and creativity in the business community, and was awarded the Public Librarian Support Award from the Business Reference and Services Section (BRASS)/Morningstar at the 2015 American Library Association conference. She has presented at professional networking events on the topic of business librarianship and has been a contributor to Public Libraries Online, as well as being published in Library Journal, Illinois Libraries Matter, and Recruiter.com.

"This resource is highly recommended for business librarians in public libraries, but those from academic and special libraries should benefit from this as well. Students of library and information should also find this book very informative."

"This is an easy read filled with valuable advice for libraries wishing to better serve local businesses and willing to commit personnel and time to do so."

"Alvarez's easy-to-follow explanations and encouraging tone give the impression that one is having a conversation with an experienced mentor ... This is the type of guide we all need when attempting to offer a new service; it is succinct, practical, and applicable."
— Library Journal