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 is an instructor in Library and Information Science. As a PhD student in Information Science, Barbara's research focus is information behavior and reproductive health information. Barbara has worked in libraries in Illinois and Wisconsin where she developed library-community collaborations. Barbara’s first book, Embedded Business Librarianship for the Public Librarian, was published by ALA Editions in 2016. She is a 2022 Library Journal Mover & Shaker award recipient and a 2011 Spectrum Scholar.

"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