9 SPEC Kit 355: Campus-wide Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship is alive, well, and thriving on North American campuses, albeit in an uncoordinated
and to some extent, unmanageable, way. Responding libraries noted over and over again their frustration
with not being able to identify all existing programs and keep up with developments of new programs,
activities, and centers devoted to campus entrepreneurship, let alone provide resources and services
to them all. While a challenging endeavor, libraries would be wise to invest in the time and energy to
inventory their campus’ entrepreneurship programs, identifying missions and visions for each, target
audience, services offered, and sources of sponsorship and support. With this information, libraries
could start developing policies, procedures, and strategies for how to best support their institution’s
entrepreneurship activities. It was clear from the responses that libraries have neither the funds, nor
staff available to support all campus activities. Libraries will need to carefully identify those resources
and services that can fill gaps and take advantage of the expertise only libraries can provide. The
multidisciplinary nature of entrepreneurship means that all unit libraries and library staff need to play
a role in supporting entrepreneurship on campus. It is not just the business librarians that need to be
involved, but every subject librarian, data librarians, GIS, new media staff, and makerspace assistants, etc.
Again, this takes coordination, both of staffing and resources to maximize financial resources, reduce the
risk of pulling staff many directions, and ensure quality service. Additionally, entrepreneurship activities
regularly occur outside of the classroom in the form of networking events, innovation fairs, contests,
bootcamps, and programming in entrepreneurship centers, incubators, and accelerators. These present
important opportunities for libraries and librarians to make connections with partners and would-be
entrepreneurs. It is important then for libraries to consider flexible schedules and working arrangements
that would allow staff to participate in events and provide office hours in centers. Opportunities exist
in the areas of instruction in patent and trademark searching, market research and industry data
searching, and sourcing local data. Understanding the focus of each campus entrepreneurship program
and who they support is important for libraries, as this can affect the terms of license agreements for
electronic resources. Libraries may need to review and revise their license agreements, not only for
business databases, but for databases and electronic resources in other disciplines that may be used for
entrepreneurship activities by users who are not affiliated with the institution. The opportunities for
libraries to support campus-wide entrepreneurship are clear and with sufficient investment in resources,
they are well positioned to take on this growing institutional trend.
Previous Page Next Page