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Bellingham is Open for Business Grant Program

 The Bellingham Library has been awarded a grant to assist Bellingham area businesses with meeting the challenges of the 21st century by offering resources, courses, and business counseling from experts on the topics the business community identifies as important to their success.
This $10,000 grant is from the Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) program of the Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS). This grant is administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC).  
This grant will enable the library to offer the following services and resources:
• Update and increase our collections, both print and electronic, to meet the identified needs of the business community.
– Purchase books, both in print and electronic on topics identified as priorities, including: Starting and Growing a Business, Accounting & Financial Management, Human Resources Management, Marketing, and Software & Computer Training.
– Purchase a Meeting Owl Pro from OWL Labs. The Owl Pro is a 360-degree camera, microphone and speaker that can be used for hybrid meetings and integrates with Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other online platforms.
– Purchase a subscription to Universal Class, which offers hundreds of online, work at your own pace, continuing education courses facilitated by expert instructors. These are in-depth courses, most requiring between 5 and 32 hours to complete. 
– Courses are available on the following business topics: Accounting & Bookkeeping, Excel, Business Analysis, Budgeting, Quickbooks, Goal Setting, Writing a Business Plan, Leadership & Supervision, Strategic Planning, HR Management, Delegation Skills, Compensation & Benefits, Managing Teams, Virtual Meetings, Remote Workforce, Microsoft Office, Creating Websites, Google Workspace, Running a Business Online, Business Branding, Social Media Marketing, Networking, LinkedIn
– Purchase a subscription to the A to Z Databases, a reference and marketing subscription website that provides details on businesses and households within the US. It is ideal for: small businesses to finds sales leads and mailing lists to grow their business and entrepreneurs to find similar businesses and competitors. It is also used by students and government agencies, as well as people searching to locate friends and relatives. It provides job seekers with job searching tools and resume templates and information about income and home values in a given neighborhood.
•  Offer workshops and other training to meet the needs of the current business community, as well as those planning on starting a new business. We will hold 12-15 workshops between January and September of 2023. 
– The workshops will be on topics identified by the business community as important.
– The workshops will be in person, remote or hybrid, depending upon what participants prefer.
– Workshops will also be offered on issues faced by the minority-owned business community, which we have defined as businesses owned by women, racial minorities, veterans, and those with disabilities.
• Create a physical space in the library, as well as a section on the library website, that we hope will become the “go to” places for the local business community seeking answers, ways to resolve problems, and links to resources. We will also create a “Bellingham is Open for Business” Facebook Group to share events, workshops and other grant news.
• In September of 2023 we will host a Local Business Fair, tentatively being called the Bellingham Business Expo. This event will offer the business community the opportunity to share their business products and services with the community at what we hope could become an annual event. We envision members of the community coming to the library to celebrate our local businesses in a fun, friendly and informative atmosphere.
• Save the date! The Kick-Off Event is planned for Monday, January 23rd at 6:30 p.m. with Jeff Belanger speaking about how to turn your passion into your business. Jeff turned his love of folklore and legends into a career. He is an award winning, Emmy nominated host, writer and producer of the New England Legends series on PBS and Amazon Prime, and the author of over a dozen books.
The library staff is looking forward to working with the Bellingham Business Community and other local businesses and business leaders to make this program a great success!