Free Resources And Opportunities From Libraries That Can Help Build Your Business


Photo by Natasha Hall on Unsplash


May 23 2024, Published 8:10 a.m. ET

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Public libraries have, in the past decade or so, begun to receive significant funding that goes beyond allowing “just books” and magazines to fill their halls. These days, most major city libraries – and many smaller town libraries, as well – offer some incredible facilities and amenities you may want to take advantage of. From meeting rooms in which to hold small conferences to production studio spaces, these public organizations offer real boons to the entrepreneur.

3D Printers

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Photo by Xiaole Tao on Unsplash

Whether you’re looking to create a model board game for your latest product line, or craft fun dragons to sell at your art fair booths, 3D printers offer a host of incredible options for your business endeavors.

In many libraries, you’ll need to set an appointment to use the 3D printers. Be sure to read up on what materials are needed, how they are procured and how long the projects are likely to take so you book enough time for your efforts.

Recording Studios

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Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Podcasters, voice actors, authors, online educators and others can book studio time in one of the recording studios at a public library. These aren’t the most common amenities, so you may have to “shop around” a bit to find the right library with the equipment you need. Once you find it, though, you’ll need to book a time slot and bring in your scripts for recording. I’d also recommend bringing your own laptop and memory cards or flash drives to make data transfers easier and cheaper.

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Device Loans

Many libraries offer the service of device loaning. You may be able to take out a tablet, Kindle, laptop, DVD player, or other similar devices. And, if you happen to write reviews of video games, you could even avail yourself of borrowing a gaming console for the games you take out for review. Many require you to hold a card for the specific library, so check that you do before banking on that option from a neighboring town’s facility.

Services, Such As Passport Applications, Test Proctoring and Notary Public

Many libraries offer a plethora of industry services these days, as well. Look at the local library websites to confirm which hosts the needed service, but you’ll find any of the following could be available in your neck of the woods.

  • Passport applications
  • Test proctoring for any level
  • Notary public
  • Printing
  • Digital archives
  • Genealogical archives
  • Streaming services
  • Research databases
  • Adult educational programs in IT, computer, travel, publishing, skills, resume composition, etc.
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Writing Workshops And Critique Groups

If your line of work includes writing – whether creative or informational – you may want to hit up the local libraries for their writing workshops and critique groups. Some may include genre-specific writing like science fiction or romance, while others practice a general writing flow for folks of all writing backgrounds. Exchange works with fellow writers for critique, spend concentrated time in writing, learn new skills through lectures and programs or talk through issues you’ve got in your recent manuscript in progress.

Speaking Or Performance Opportunities

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Photo by Natasha Hall on Unsplash

If you’re looking to build your clientele, what better way than to share your wisdom with locals through free programming? Libraries offer educational courses, public speaking settings and even performance venue options. You can speak on just about any relevant topic that might interest the local audience. Some examples might include:

  • Personal wellness
  • Mental health
  • Fitness (many libraries offer yoga and Pilates classes!)
  • History
  • I.T. and computers
  • Film and TV
  • Writing
  • Dance, theater, or other performing arts
  • Therapy and psychology
  • Business development
  • Writing and blogging
  • Travel
  • Creative life
  • Niche topics like specific historical persons, specific skill sets or business marketing

Or, if you’re a performing artist, you’ve got a built in audience for your workshopping projects. Bring your one woman show or small troupe performance to the library, earn a small stipend, and figure out things that do and don’t work for a traveling performance. Many libraries even host larger performance groups such as bands, mid-size theatre troupes or college choirs.

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By: Rita Pike

Rita Juanita Pike is the granddaughter of Jerrie Mock, the first woman to pilot an airplane around the world. Rita has taken inspiration from her grandmother’s life and flight and pursued many of her own dreams in theater, podcasting, and novel writing. She now writes about travel, pets, faith, and the arts. She’s happily married to Matt, and faithfully serves a very fluffy kitten queen, Lady Stardust.

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