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Topsham Public Library Receives Grant to Build Small Business Resources

July 24, 2020


Topsham Public Library Awarded Libraries Build Business Grant

Topsham Public Library announced today that they have received funding from the American Library Association (ALA) to build capacity and expand their programming to small businesses and entrepreneurs from low-income and underrepresented groups. Topsham Public Library (TPL) is one of 13 public libraries around the country to receive this funding from Libraries Build Business, an initiative of the American Library Association funded by has invested $2 million in the initiative. This grant - made as part of the tech company’s Grow with Google initiative to create opportunity to all - will also create learning resources for any library to support entrepreneurs in its community.
Library Director, Susan Preece and Board President, Diane Hender, both expressed gratitude to ALA and Google for the grant. “What we have been doing to encourage business is important to the library and to the economic vitality of the Topsham community,” Hender stated.  “We are excited and honored to have been chosen to participate in the Libraries Build Business initiative and to be given the opportunity to share our experiences with other libraries,” said Preece.
Many Mainers are facing a new workforce model. Women, mature workers, new Mainers, and those who have been downsized or let go due to the economic stresses in our community are finding it hard to reimagine their lives while in crisis mode. The support that is needed must be tailored to each individual as they navigate the challenges and opportunities that are before them. Partnering with The Career Centers, New Ventures Maine, the Southern Midcoast Chamber of Commerce, and Topsham Economic Development, we are finding ways to assist the newly unemployed in rebuilding and expanding their skills particularly in the areas of small business and entrepreneurial pursuits.
“Libraries are cornerstones of our communities. With the COVID-19 crisis, there has never been a more critical time to support our small businesses and ensure they can survive and thrive.” said Jacquelline Fuller, president of “Libraries play a vital role in ensuring this support gets to the small business leaders and entrepreneurs who need it most and we're proud to be supporting their efforts.”
“ALA is thrilled to support and work collaboratively with the Topsham Public Library and the entire LBB cohort,” said ALA Associate Executive Director, Kathi Kromer. “We are impressed by the innovation and institutional commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion TPL has demonstrated in developing their small business offerings.” 
The LBB initiative is driven by the following question: What library-led entrepreneurship models will best help low-income and/or underrepresented entrepreneurs start and grow small businesses? With the goal of identifying promising practices and models for library-led entrepreneurship initiatives, the LBB cohort, in collaboration with the ALA project team, will develop and evaluate practical resources for the field to ultimately scale successful entrepreneurship programs in all 17,000 public libraries.
According to the 2016 Pew Research study on libraries, 8 out of 10 people (78%) believe that libraries help them find reliable and trustworthy information. As cornerstone institutions, all libraries—large and small, urban and rural can provide business support for their communities. Partnering with experts and connecting people is what libraries do, and our goal is to provide services to each individual  patron.
About Topsham Public Library: The library is located in the town of Topsham and serves a community of about 9,000. The mission of the library is to connect resources, programs and services to the community to stimulate personal growth and enrichment. Our vision is that the library is the access point for traditional and innovative resources to meet the informational, social and cultural needs of an evolving community.


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