NJLibsGrowBizNJLibsGrowBiz is a coordinated, statewide effort through the New Jersey State Library to increase the capacity of New Jersey libraries to meet the needs of their business communities.

NJLibsGrowBiz connects library staff across the state to focus on best practices, resource sharing, and collaboration, provides professional development opportunities, and cultivates partnerships with federal, state, and local entities to benefit New Jersey libraries.


NJLibsGrowBiz Events

Recordings and Slides

Learn about the Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship Corp. (WCEC)

Libraries working with entrepreneurs and business owners have an additional resource to partner with! The Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship Corp. (WCEC) is a registered 501c3 nonprofit. As a resource partner (Women’s Business Center) for the U.S. Small Business Administration, the WCEC’s mission is to empower women to invest in themselves via entrepreneurship by providing necessary resources for women to successfully start, own, operate, & grow their businesses. The WCEC works with women and BIPOC-owned businesses at the start up stage and existing small businesses looking to scale up by providing educational resources, business counseling, and technical assistance. Join us to learn more about the WCEC and how they can help our small business owner community.

Starting a Business in New Jersey

Join this NJLibsGrowBiz webinar to learn from trained staff at the Division of Taxation about the general business registration process, sales & use tax, and more! You will find out where to find resources and information to help new and existing business owners. There will also be plenty of time for your questions and discussion with other library staff.

Virtual Discussion: How to make the most of statewide databases

This virtual discussion will focus on ways to use the statewide databases offered through JerseyClicks to better connect with your local business community. Bill Carlson from Reference Solutions and Steven Vitale from the New Jersey State Library will join the conversation to cover how to promote the databases to library patrons, how to use the marketing and other materials provided, and how to schedule training sessions for staff and patrons. There will also be time to share your own experiences and ask questions.

Virtual Discussion: NJ Business Organizations and Growing Partnerships


Join this virtual discussion to learn about the different types of organizations supporting business owners and entrepreneurs in New Jersey. Bring your questions and experiences working with partners and learn together how to effectively reach out and collaborate successfully.

Census Data for Business Owners


This presentation will give some background information on American Community Data and the Economic Census, then will delve into the main census portal (data.census.gov) to show how to find ACS data, as well as Annual Business Survey data.   Then the presentation will move to the Census Business Builder application, in which small business entrepreneurs may geographically analyze ZIP codes and Census Tracts to get data and build business reports.

Bio: David Kraiker is a Data Dissemination Specialist at the US Census Bureau, where he has worked for 24 years.  Previously at the Bureau he worked as a Geographer in the local New York office.  He has also worked in private industry as a cartographer, geographic researcher, and as a French teacher.   David graduated with his BA from Clark University, and with his MSc from Rutgers University-Newark.  He currently lives in Northern NJ with his wife and children where he enjoys doing community work.

NJLibsGrowBiz Listserv

Sign Up!

NJLibsGrowBiz Listserv (For New Jersey library staff only) – Email list for sharing information about New Jersey businesses, library resources, upcoming events, and more. To be added, contact Andrea Levandowski.

NJLibsGrowBiz Summit

The NJLibsGrowBiz Summit is the only event solely focused on the role of New Jersey libraries in community economic development.

2022 Virtual NJLibsGrowBiz Summit: In the Business of Changing Lives

Register now for the 2022 NJLibsGrowBiz Virtual Summit


In the Business of Changing Lives

Thursday, September 15, 2022 | 10:00am 2:00pm

Program & Schedule

WELCOME | 10:00 – 10:15

  • Jennifer R. Nelson, State Librarian of New Jersey

KEYNOTE | 10:15 – 11:15

Transformational Partnerships & Small Business Ecosystems


  • Samira Cook GainesManaging Director of Strategic Partnerships, Rising Tide Capital

Samira Cook Gaines will present the characteristics of transformational partners in philanthropy, government, and community organizations that support the startup and growth of entrepreneurs and small businesses.  This discussion will also provide guidance to librarians and library systems on how to create inclusive policies, programs, and partnerships that will support under resourced entrepreneurs and make library programs more equitable.


Photo of Samira Cook GainesSamira Cook Gaines serves as Managing Director of Strategic Partnerships for Rising Tide Capital (RTC). Samira brings her practitioner experience and public servant insight to cultivate local, national and international collaborations in major markets and identify potential partners to share the RTC model and build the entrepreneur support program capacity of local organizations. Prior to Rising Tide Capital, Samira served as the Economic Development Manager for Takoma Park, Maryland, where she guided the growth and development of local community businesses in the only designated Opportunity Zone in Montgomery County. Samira was also the Founding Director of the Washington, DC Women’s Business Center, which supports women entrepreneurs through training, coaching, and mentoring. In honor of her work with small businesses, Samira was selected as a White House Champion for Change in the area of entrepreneurship mentoring under the Obama Administration.

An entrepreneur first, Samira is also the President of Purposeful World Strategies, which helps cities and countries identify, incubate, and ignite their entrepreneurs and small business owners by creating structures for inclusive entrepreneurship and small business support. Her women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship work have also taken her to numerous countries as a speaker, facilitator, trainer, and consultant for governments, organizations, and universities in Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific Islands, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Samira received a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and MPA from the George Washington University in Washington, DC.

SESSION | 11:15 – 12:15

Lessons from ALA’S Libraries Build Business

LBB Slides

This panel will provide an overview of ALA’s Libraries Build Business as well as spotlight projects at Gwinnet County Public Library in Georgia and Spokane County Public Library in Washington. Libraries Build Business (LBB) is a national initiative of the American Library Association (ALA), supported by Google.org, intended to build capacity in libraries offering programming or services to local entrepreneurs and the small business community, prioritizing low-income and underrepresented entrepreneurs.  Attendees will also learn how to access the Libraries Build Business Playbook and join a community of libraries supporting businesses through the Libraries Build Business Slack discussion board.

  • Megan Janicki, Deputy Director, Strategic Initiatives, American Library Association, Public Policy and Advocacy Office
  • Stacey Goddard, Public Services Manager, Spokane County Public Library
  • Adam Pitts, Branch Manager, Lawrenceville Branch, Gwinnet County Public Library
  • Andrea DevereuxOutreach Coordinator, Gwinnet County Public Library
  • Atlas Logan, Branch Manager, Duluth Branch, Gwinnet County Public Library

Megan Janicki is the Deputy Director of Strategic Initiatives with ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy office. Her portfolio includes economic opportunity, digital equity and inclusion, and broadband. Most recently, she led ALA’s Libraries Build Business initiative and is the editor of the 2022 ALA Edition’s book Libraries That Build Business: Advancing Small Business and Entrepreneurship in Public Libraries. She has a Master of Education from Vanderbilt University in Learning, Diversity, and Urban Studies, and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University.

Stacey Goddard is a Public Services Manager at the Spokane County Library District, in Spokane WA. She graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in Library and Information Science and has over 35 years of experience working in public libraries. Stacey and her team focus on supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs, assisting individuals with career development, and encouraging financial empowerment through consumer education.

Adam Pitts is a branch manager at Gwinnett County Public Library, where he serves as project manager of the New Start Entrepreneurship Incubator, a six-month program designed to help formerly incarcerated community members create their own businesses. He holds an MLIS from Valdosta State University and a B.A. in History from the University of Georgia.

Andrea Devereux is the Outreach Coordinator for the New Start Entrepreneurship Incubator Program. Her passion is helping people. She is an agent of change and advocates for those who do not have a voice or those who are afraid to use their voice. She is a firm believer in meeting people where they are and that your past does not define your present or your future. Andrea received her bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Aging Services from Georgia Gwinnett College. She received her Master’s in Social Work and a certificate in Gerontology from Georgia State University. She was an intern at Gwinnett County Public Library where she taught select branches Social Services 101 while building relationships with community partners and providing resources to members of the community. She was an intern at 9to5 Georgia where she helped orchestrate and facilitate their affordable Childcare Campaign in Chatham County Savannah, and their Community Justice Fellowship Program in Atlanta and Savannah. As a licensed cosmetologist, she found herself assisting her clients with the support of assistance and counseling. As an entrepreneur and former salon manager, she understands the challenges that come along with building and expanding a business in an effort of making it successful. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, especially her 4 grandchildren, and traveling.

Atlas Logan began working in public libraries as a volunteer while in high school. She has held various library positions throughout her career; obtaining a bachelor’s degree in sociology, an MLS and an MPA along the way. Atlas has had the privilege to work for two wonderful library systems and to work with a variety of inspiring people. She currently serves as the branch manager of the Duluth Branch of the Gwinnett County Public Library.

SESSION | 12:30 – 1:30

Business Support through SCORE and NJ Business Action Center

SCORE slides

  • Anthony Martinez, Small Business Advocate, New Jersey Business Action Center (NJBAC)
  • Jane MeyerCertified SCORE Mentor, SCORE Central Jersey Chapter

Anthony Martinez has recently joined the New Jersey Business Action Center as a Small Business Advocate. He has many years of experience working with the small business community. A former Senior Small Business Liaison for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), Anthony now continues to focus on supporting small, minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses. Prior to joining the NJEDA, Anthony worked for the City of Camden Redevelopment Agency as a Redevelopment Assistant and as a Senior Consultant for the New Jersey Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Rutgers University in Camden, NJ.  At Rutgers-Camden he served as Senior Associate/Business Consultant/Community Business Specialist with the Rutgers Institute for Management & Executive Development and as the Business Development Specialist for the Rutgers Fairview Neighborhood Partnership. Anthony earned his Master of Business Administration (MBA), Management from Strayer University and a Bachelor of Science (BS), Business Management from Rutgers University School of Business Camden. He resides with his spouse in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

As a volunteer with SCORE, Jane Meyer currently serves as the SCORE NJ District Manager of Strategic Relationships and her Central Jersey Chapter’s Workshop Committee Chair. She has been active in the SCORE organization since 2014 serving in many capacities, including Chapter Chair.  Jane’s 40+ years in business includes working for a Fortune 500 company, a non-profit trade association, and a women-owned small business. She served in management and executive positions throughout most of her career as well as building business practices for federal government contracting. It’s this broad business experience that she brings to the clients she mentors via SCORE.

SESSION | 1:30 – 2:00

Next Steps and Networking




Thursday, September 15, 2022 | 10:00am 2:00pm


2020 NJLibsGrowBiz Summit: Taking Care of Business

2020 NJLibsGrowBiz Virtual Summit:
Taking Care of Business – April 30, 2020

The 2020 NJLibsGrowBiz Virtual Summit was held on April 30, 2020.

As libraries continue to embrace their unique position in the entrepreneurial and small business ecosystems, it becomes increasingly important to understand the full scope of resources and service providers available at the local, county, and state levels.  Issues surrounding economic development are increasingly important for libraries to prove their value to key stakeholders, advocate for funding, and meet the needs of all residents, including business owners and entrepreneurs.

The NJLibsGrowBiz Summit is the only event solely focused on the role of New Jersey libraries in community economic development.

Building Entrepreneurial Networks and Mapping Community Assets

Slides | Handout | Recording

Networks are one of the most important assets an entrepreneur can have. Entrepreneurs need customers to buy products, suppliers for materials, promoters to recommend them, and so on! Take a look at the assets and resources available in your community and see where you have potential to grow your networks.

Ginny Sterpka is the Community Based and Creative Placemaking Programs Manager at Creative Startups, the leading global business accelerator for creative entrepreneurs. She leads the growth and development of the Libraries as Launchpads program which seeks to transform libraries into vibrant creative entrepreneurship hubs.

Libraries as Launchpads was launched in 2018 by Creative Startups, in partnership with the New Mexico State Library and New Mexico’s public and tribal libraries, with a goal to provide greater access to resources for underserved entrepreneurs across the state. The program takes a community-based approach to ecosystems development by building the local capacity to support startups in the creative industries. Read more about Libraries as Launchpads here.

Since 2018, Creative Startups has worked with state & regional library systems, state and local government organizations, local libraries, friends groups, and foundations to transform their libraries into launchpads. Libraries as Launchpads has worked with 15 libraries, trained 14 local entrepreneurship educators, & served 70 entrepreneurs.


Panel #1 Recording

Panel #2 Recording

Where the law lives:
Research for Business Owners

Cynthia Lambert, New Jersey State Library

Slides | Handout | Recording

Join NJSL Law Librarian Cynthia Lambert for a discussion of legal research basics.  In this session, you will learn where to look, how to answer legal reference questions for business owners without giving legal advice, and what resources are available for finding local, state, and federal legal information.

Grow with Google in New Jersey
Chelsea Coleman, Bogota Public Library; Deena Caswell, Cherry Hill Public Library; and Nicky Rigg & Justine Benisch, Grow with Google


This session will provide an overview of Google’s recent partnership with the American Library Association, which has resulted in programs and grants for libraries in New Jersey, specifically the Libraries Lead with Digital Skills Grant.  The speakers will discuss their experiences with Grow with Google, events they offered through the grant, and their thoughts on what libraries can learn from these programs, including whether to implement Google products and services into library programming.

Identifying Entrepreneurial Needs
Ginny Sterpka, Creative Startups

Slides | Handout | Recording

When an idea stage entrepreneur comes into the library, how do you direct them to the right resources? It’s not possible to be an expert in every industry. Asking the right questions can help you understand the best resources to recommend. Gain an better understanding of the entrepreneurial journey and how to ask questions to determine where a patron is on their journey.

2018 NJLibsGrowBiz Summit: From the Ground Up

The 2018 NJLibsGrowBiz Summit is designed to educate and inspire librarians to connect with their business communities. No matter your experience and comfort level with business outreach and reference, this event will provide valuable, real-world insight.

The summit was held on May 9, 2018 at the Monmouth County Library Headquarters.  Below you will find handouts and materials from the keynote, closing session, and breakout programs.


Keynote: Building Business Connections: Stepping Into Your Role in the Business Community

Barbara Alvarez
Barbara Alvarez

Barbara Alvarez has been training, speaking, and educating learners of various skill-levels and professional backgrounds for seven years. She is especially passionate about sharing how librarians can step into their roles as educators, leaders, community collaborators and storytellers.

Barbara has partnered with numerous library professionals, local businesses and organizations to share digital stories through podcasts, videos, and broadcasting. She is the co-founder of The Library OnConference, a free virtual conference completely held on Google Hangouts that has garnered over three hundred global participants. Additionally, she received the 2017 PrivCo Outstanding Business Librarianship Award and the 2015 Public Librarian Support Award for innovation and creativity in the library’s community. She was also a nominee for the Athena Leadership Award for her contributions to the business community. Her ALA Editions book is titled Embedded Business Librarianship for the Public Librarian. Barbara received a Master in Library and Information Science degree from the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign.

Closing Session: Taking Care of Business in the 21st Century: A New Service Model for Entrepreneurs

Gillian Robbins
Gillian Robbins

As a librarian with the Business Resource & Innovation Center (BRIC) at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Gillian Robbins specializes in curating information, providing research services, and coordinating programming and special events for entrepreneurs and job seekers. In her role, Gillian received a certificate in Small Business Analysis & Planning from Fox Business School, was honored as a nominee for Philadelphia’s Social Innovations Award, and was instrumental in developing a new service model for the Free Library of Philadelphia. Gillian received her M.S.L.S. from Clarion University in 2011. She is passionate about fitness, finding the best burger in Philadelphia, yelling at drivers from her bicycle, and her three fat cats.

Caitlin Seifritz
Caitlin Seifritz

Caitlin Seifritz is a librarian in the Regional Foundation Center (RFC) at the Free Library of Philadelphia. The RFC is a resource center for Philadelphia’s nonprofit community. In February 2016 the RFC merged with the library’s small business department to form the Business Resource & Innovation Center (BRIC). The BRIC strives to serve nonprofits and entrepreneurs and foster collaboration between the two communities. As a librarian, Caitlin assists patrons with accessing RFC’s resources, plans and executes programs, and provides outreach to the community about how the RFC supports local nonprofits. Before working at the Free Library, Caitlin worked as a Special Projects Coordinator for a small Brooklyn-based nonprofit that worked with seniors and technology. Caitlin received her Masters of Library and Information Science from Pratt Institute in 2009.  When she’s not librarianing, Caitlin enjoys cuddles with her pup, traveling to national parks, and eating her way through Philly’s stellar restaurants.

Breakout Sessions

Business Reference 101

What Businesses Want from Public Libraries

Outreach to the Business Community: How to Get Started

Answering Tough Business Questions

Beyond the Program Box: Creative Ways to Connect with the Business Community

Working with Nonprofit Organizations

Partner Tables


The New Jersey State Library works with government agencies and nonprofits to better serve business owners and entrepreneurs through libraries.



The New Jersey State Library, through funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, provides access to business databases.  These include:

business-source-eliteBusiness Source Elite

Business Source Elite provides full-text coverage of scholarly business, management and economics journals. This rich collection also includes publications covering topics such as accounting, banking, finance, international business, marketing, sales, etc.

Business Source Elite offers full text for more than 1,110 business publications and contains expanded PDF backfiles for more than 153 titles (back to 1985 or the first issue published for that journal). More than 10,150 substantial company profiles from MarketLine are also included.

Reference Solutions

Reference Solutions is a powerful online reference and research tool providing library cardholders instant, real-time access to accurate, in-depth information on U.S. businesses and U.S. residents.  Reference Solutions makes it faster and easier to find new business opportunities, research executives and companies, find news articles, conduct job searches, research papers, locate addresses and phone numbers, conduct market research and much more.

ReferenceUSA – Bookmark, Data Visualization handout, and How to Search handout

RegionalBusinessNews_Masthead_WebRegional Business News

This robust resource provides ultimate coverage for full-text business publications, on a regional level, for the United States and Canadian provinces. Key resources include newspapers, radio & TV news transcripts, trade publications, magazines and newswires, with full-text content coverage spanning over 22 years.

Whether searching for information about presidential candidates, franchise restaurants, retail industry, business planning, political participation—Regional Business News will cover the story. Content is provided by leading publishers in business news including the New York Times, The Washington Post, PR Newswire US, Business Newswire and more.

smallbusiness_webbutton_100X200Small Business Reference Center

This database offers a wide variety of information on small business and entrepreneurial subject areas, common business types, a help and advice section, and provides information on how to create business plans that lead to successful funding.



For more information or assistance with business reference questions, you can reach out to the following contacts:

  • Andrea Levandowski, Library Consultant for Small Business Development and Technology at the New Jersey State Library
  • Leigh Clark, Business Specialist in the State Library Information Center at the New Jersey State Library
  • Backup business reference offered by the Newark Public Library, a service supported by the New Jersey State Library.

Statewide Resource Centers for Libraries