Business Focus

Library info corners a help for small business people

The Retreat and Grassy Park libraries have joined more than 100 libraries across the Western Cape in becoming small business information centres.

The Library Business Corners Project (LBCP), a non-governmental organisation, revealed at its launch this week that it had funded 33 libraries to become small business information centres.

About 100 librarians and small business support agency representatives attended LBC’s first national conference which ran under the theme: Libraries in the service of job creation.

They debated practical ways to effectively spread information for small businesses to the different small business and social strata of entrepreneurs.

LBCP manager Gail Jacobs says that these centres have ensured all of the 105 public libraries in Cape Town have business information. The LBC is funded by the City of Cape Town, the Provincial Administration of the Western Cape and private sponsors.

Library business corners have been so successful in Cape Town that they have been implemented in other parts of the country.

“There are over 2000 municipal libraries, which can constitute the basis for a dense network of small business information points.”

Peter Underwood, director of the Centre for Information Literacy at the University of Cape Town says: “Access to community knowledge and sources of information is a building block for economic development. Public libraries already play a vital role in this area, but they have more work to do.

“The LBCP has purposefully chosen a grassroots approach. By involving the local community  at the start it has encouraged commitment and the development of trust, with the library staff encouraged to work with the community.”

Jacobs said internet access is provided by the City’s SmartCape computer facilities for library users.

“We have created a highly accessible small business information network through utilising existing public libraries,” she said.

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