The Future of Commerce | Designing the Future

Little is more essential than making a living—and how to store, spend, and save what we earn. Supporting entrepreneurship is one way libraries can engage the workplace of the future.

Little is more essential than making a living—and how to store, spend, and save what we earn

  ljx160902web140commerce3SCALING UP START-UP SUPPORT

Supporting entrepreneurship is one way libraries can engage the workplace of the future. The Arizona State University (ASU) Entrepreneurship Outreach Network is an example of collaboration across institutional types to realize benefits of scale. The network of libraries, museums, and economic development organizations provides community members with access to continuing education in entrepreneurship, mentors, service providers, and other community-based resources. Launched in 2013 at Scottsdale’s Eureka Loft, “ASU staff visited libraries to deliver weekly workshops, but to make the program sustainable, [it] transitioned to a train-the-trainer model,” Susan Halverson, manager of grassroots entrepreneurship initiatives at ASU’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, tells LJ.

Since then, the network has been through several iterations and spread beyond Arizona to 15 libraries in four states. Today, each member library/community space identifies a librarian, economic developer, or volunteer who undergoes training and facilitates ASU Start-up School workshops. While it is not required, some member institutions dedicate significant staff time and/or have renovated to provide designated space for small business owners and entrepreneurs to work in the library, and many supplement the offerings with local resources.

Among the successful outcomes of the program: Regiane Johnson, who came to the Yuma Public Library with the goal of starting her own café and bakery, eventually did so—and it operates out of the very library where she learned the ropes.—Meredith Schwartz


ljx160902web140readsslug2The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Blockchain Are Challenging the Global Economic Order by Paul Vigna & Michael J. Casey (St. Martin’s, 2015)

The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe by Joseph E. Stiglitz (Norton, Aug. 2016)

The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross (S. & S., Feb. 2016)

The Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab (World Economic Forum, Jan. 2016)


Flexible Fit

ljx160902web140commerce1LJ reached out to Alexandra Levit, CEO of HR consultancy Inspiration at Work, author, and speaker, to learn where she sees the workplace heading. Are the newer aspects of today’s job market such as coworking and “gig” work a new normal?

The gig economy is indeed permanent and will only continue to grow. In addition to Upwork.com, sites like Freelance.com and OnForce.com are great resources for patrons looking for temporary assignments. FlexJobs.com is a terrific site for those who are looking for more flexible positions in which they might work from home, share a job with another person, or have an atypical schedule.

Your book Success for Hire (Assn. for Talent Development) states that baby boomer retirement means that there will eventually not be enough qualified workers to staff U.S. jobs.

This labor shortage resulting from the boomer retirement has already begun, and yet according to DeVry University’s Career Advisory Board (CAB) 2015 Job Preparedness Indicator study, the majority of hiring managers say they cannot find the right talent to fill open positions. Another CAB study on successful job seekers indicated that the key for job seekers is to target carefully the positions for which they’re a fit, customize their applications, organize their opportunities, and hone their interpersonal skills.

Are there different approaches to working with job seekers of different generations?

It really varies by the individual and also by job hunting experience. If a boomer hasn’t looked for a new job in ten years or more, for example, he or she might not be up-to-date with all of the online resources available. Librarians should make sure they understand what’s available and important, like having a comprehensive and strategic LinkedIn profile, using apps such as SwitchApp to search for jobs on your phone, and perusing sites like UpWork.com for freelance opportunities.—Henrietta Verma

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