What sorts of information resources will people need from the New Hanover County Library in the future? We hope to hear ideas and suggestions from the public, including the local business community, as part of our Libraries of the Future project.
To begin a conversation about some of the possibilities technology will make available, the library is sponsoring a continuing symposium titled "People, Place, and Platform: Libraries in the 21st Century." The kickoff for the symposium was a remarkable lecture with nationally recognized futurist Thomas Frey on October 27. Through this public conversation, we are hoping to get residents to join in a discussion of libraries’ role in a rapidly changing world.
We are already facing one important challenge. That is the notion that because so much information is available on the Internet, libraries are becoming obsolete. We disagree! Precisely because we all face such a flood of information, both good and bad, it’s more important than ever to invest in shared information resources. That also means we need professional librarians to find and make sense of the data that’s most important to each of us.
With information, as with so much else, you get what you pay for. Unfortunately, much of what we find online is inaccurate, outdated or otherwise unreliable. More and more, the most valuable digital content is carrying higher and higher price tags. The good news is that an up-to-date public library can spread out the cost of that valuable content, making it available to the entire community.
For example, our county library subscribes to a number of valuable online data sources that aren’t readily available through the open internet. These subscriptions provide remote access to scholarly and technical articles that just a generation ago were available only in large research libraries. Some of those are specifically aimed at business. These digital research databases can be accessed, free, by anyone with a New Hanover County Library card. The simple sign-in process requires only the card number.
Library cards are free to county residents, by the way. It takes just a couple of minutes to get a card at any library branch.
Those business resources I mentioned are available 24/7, from any computer with an Internet connection, through this link: http://libguides.nhclibrary.org/businessr.
Those special-access resources include Hoover's Company Profiles, a source of information on more than 40,000 corporations, including an overview of each company, its leadership, financial data, and trends in its industry; and ProQuest Entrepreneurship. That rich collection consists of information for entrepreneurs and researchers such as startup plans, video clips, journals and sample business cases.
ProQuest also provides our cardholders with access to a dynamic online version of the Statistical Abstract of the United States, an authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the nation’s social, political, and economic conditions. Of course, the library’s reference department also includes the Statistical Abstract’s printed edition.
If you’re thinking about doing business overseas, the “Snapshots Series” offers online access to more than 8,000 market reports covering 43 industries in 40 countries. These include the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and the Pacific Rim, Canada and Latin America. These reports offer data like market size and segmentation, market share, forecasts and socioeconomic statistics.
For information about securities including stocks, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, our cardholders can log in to Morningstar Investment Research Center. Its dynamic tools can be customized to meet any organization’s needs when it comes to making well-informed investment decisions.
Still, books and other printed material remain central to the library’s collection. Many other resources are available in hard-copy form, and our reference librarians are always happy to help anybody navigate the depth and breadth of business data on our shelves.
The widest variety of books and periodicals will be found at the Main Library at 201 Chestnut St. downtown, but good reference sections and data-access terminals are available at our three branches, too. These are:
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