This week, Google released more information about its Grow with Google initiative and opportunities for libraries to sign up as partners. You can read the full press release from Google here and the one from the American Library Association here.
Google is planning to reach all 50 states to launch Grow with Google, and its first stops are scheduled for Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, and New York. You can see what is coming up here.
As you can imagine, a large company like Google, partnering with ALA and hosting events in libraries is huge news. Everyone is talking about what it means, what Grow with Google will accomplish, and how individual libraries can participate.
Grow with Google is essentially using existing Google products and services to promote economic development by supporting business owners, entrepreneurs, jobseekers, and others. ALA is working with Google to launch in every state and then open up opportunities for libraries in those respective states to apply for the Public Library Association’s Libraries Lead with Digital Skills grant. These small grants of $1,000 will help libraries to address the skills gap in their own communities through programming, outreach, and education.
As of 2/1/19, we do not know when Grow with Google will launch in New Jersey and when the grant opportunity will be available for New Jersey libraries.
What you can do right now is sign up on the partner page to receive updates about opportunities, upcoming events, and more. You can also look at the Grow with Google website to see what would be useful for your patrons and what may work in tandem with your existing library resources and programs.
As Google launches Grow with Google, some libraries will host full-day workshops that include information not only for business owners and jobseekers, but also for library staff, nonprofits, and other groups. Instructors are skilled on Google products and share how to leverage Google to enhance their work.
The large events are not the only way that libraries can utilize Google for programming. As approved partners, libraries can host smaller events and workshops on their own. While not every library will have the chance to host a “big splash” event, there will be material available for other libraries to take advantage of the materials and training. The best way to learn more is by signing up.
Remember, You Don’t Need to Wait for Google
Yes, an initiative like Grow with Google can bring new people into the library. Yes, lots of marketing and promotion provided by Google is amazing for libraries.
But, the ongoing, everyday work of reaching out to the business community, partnering with local organizations, and conducting outreach do not require the big splash from Google. Any library can work to better serve their patrons and share the value of the library for supporting their work.
Many different organizations at the local, state, and national level have the same goals and are working toward them in similar ways, libraries included. We want economic prosperity for our communities, we want everyday, small business owners to succeed, we want to make sure people have the best information, and we want to live and work in places that are thriving. Grow with Google identifies these organizations on their Partner page:
- Chambers of commerce
- Downtown associations
- Small business development centers
- Workforce development organizations
- State and local government
- Schools and universities
- Veteran-focused organizations
New Jersey libraries have the tools to support business owners and jobseekers at their fingertips, through the expertise of librarians, the statewide databases (including Reference USA and Job & Career Accelerator), and the connections built each and every day through outreach and community engagement.
While we wait for more information from Google, don’t hesitate to make introductions to the organizations listed above, if you haven’t already done so. Take stock of what is available for free from the Grow with Google website and see how other libraries resources complement or supplement them. Lastly, do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions or need ideas (email me!). In my mind, New Jersey won’t be lucky when Google arrives…Google will be lucky when it comes to New Jersey!