A business resource
The newest hot spot for guerilla marketing is - believe it or not - the Yuba County Library.
The library has new databases that spit out business information and new books that replace out-of-date titles from the 1970s and 1980s.
"Subscription databases are one of the interesting things we're doing with the grant," said Loren McCrory, director of the Yuba County Library. "It's something we've never been able to afford to do."
They have all been purchased with a $7,000 grant from the California State Library, money Yuba County is using to build a Small Business Resource Center section at its 303 Second St. location.
It's part of an effort to bring back business collections at libraries across the state.
While libraries aren't often seen as a business resource, business publishing is booming. That suggests there's plenty of demand for information. But budget problems left libraries across the state without the resources or the expertise to update their business books, meaning a valuable - and free resource - was disappearing for the small businesses which comprise roughly half the state's gross national product.
"A majority of the libraries did indeed cut back, cut down," said Barbara Will, a library program consultant with the California State Library.
An entrepreneur open house at the Yuba County library on Jan. 21 drew 24 people. Visitors learned about two business databases at the library. The ReferenceUSA database has information on U.S. companies. The RSD Suite provides articles from more than 1,400 business journals worldwide. The database subscriptions are expected to last about a year.
Since they came online at the Yuba County Library in December, the free databases have attracted users.
"We've already had people using the databases," said Regina Zurakowski, reference librarian. "I know of at least 12 people who have used it in the past month."
Database users include Don Curtis, an insurance agent with Robert M. Galligan & Associates, a Marysville firm.
"It's a tool for us in the insurance agency to target our markets," Curtis said. "It allows you to really focus in on a special market sector."
If someone wanted to research all the restaurants in a particular area to set up sales calls, he or she could set up searches that spit out information such as the business owner and a sales revenue range.
The databases require a library card but not necessarily a library visit. A library card number can be used to gain online access.
The grant is also paying for more books, business advice and speakers. The state library has trained Yuba County's librarians to develop their business collections. The free advice includes FranChoice, a franchise opportunities Web site; and SCORE, a site to get free business advice from a team of retired business executives.
The printed page has not been neglected in the grant. The library has purchased 300 business books, creating a business section on a budget. There won't be many current bestsellers in the offerings - they're too costly. Although the books might normally picked by reading reviews, on this occasion the library has signed on with a book jobber who sells at 80 to 90 percent off, McCrory said.
"We've been able to create a small business library with this small amount of money," said McCrory.
Yuba County is one of 40 libraries in California joining in along with Sutter County and Colusa County Libraries.
Appeal-Democrat reporter John Dickey can be reached at 749-4711. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.