Richland Library Secures Grant Funding for Entrepreneurial Launch Pad

Richland Library announces today we are the recipient of $140,000 in funding from the American Library Association (ALA) to build capacity and expand our programming to small businesses and entrepreneurs from low-income and underrepresented groups.

We are one of 13 public libraries around the country to receive this funding from Libraries Build Business (LBB), an initiative of the American Library Association, funded by Google.org. Google.org 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.

"With a goal of advancing our community, Richland Library intends to support aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners who are ready to take their creative talents to the next level," said Business and Careers Manager Diane Luccy. "By providing direct access to professional resources, we are encouraging learning opportunities, and we are empowering both traditional and creative entrepreneurs who could eventually leave their imprint on the economy."

Rep. James E. Clyburn, Majority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives said, "My wife was a librarian and through her work I witnessed how essential libraries are to a community. They provide access to information and resources regardless of a person's income or education level. I am pleased that Richland Library, the American Library Association, and Google are working with community members to support entrepreneurs and small business owners."

Richland Library plans to continue our Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EiR) program, offer customized learning and networking opportunities, and add to our Library of Things, a collection of high-quality equipment from microphones and lighting to backdrops and cameras, with the funding.

"We're proud to work with the American Library Association to bring this program to life. 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 well into the future," said Jacquelline Fuller, president of Google.org. "Libraries are the gathering places of many communities, and increasingly they are learning centers for entrepreneurs. Their role is vital in our collective effort to support small business leaders and entrepreneurs who need it most."

"ALA is thrilled to support and work collaboratively with Richland 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 that Richland Library has demonstrated in developing their small business offerings."

Richland Library's LBB Project, titled the Entrepreneurial Launch Pad, creates an approach to remove barriers and level the playing field for diverse entrepreneurs. It hopes to support emerging businesses at every stage of their development with a focus on efforts to assist and encourage minority and women-owned businesses.

For questions, please contact Emily Stoll at 803-587-3637 or email estoll@richlandlibrary.com.

About Richland Library
Awarded the National Medal in 2017 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Richland Library is a vibrant, contemporary organization that provides resources and information that advance the Midlands. Offering state-of-the-art technology, a variety of literary and cultural programs and 13 bustling facilities located throughout the county, Richland Library provides a truly customizable, modern library experience for residents and visitors alike.