Supporting the information needs of entrepreneurs in South Africa

Journal Article


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Library Review

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University of Cape Town

Purpose - The Library Business Corners (LBC) service for entrepreneurs in the Western Cape of South Africa uses public libraries as a channel for information and expertise. It is a 'grass roots', community-driven, approach which has been adopted elsewhere in South Africa. Similar services have appeared addressing the same, or similar, groups of users, often concentrating on the use of information and communication technology. Design/methodology/approach - Developing an effective service for entrepreneurs depends critically on the quality of staff and their contacts. The opportunities and problems of the LBCs' approach are identified and a response to the emergence of similar services is considered. The 'balanced score card' model is used to explore the vision and strategy of the present services and the potential contribution of information literacy. Findings - Financial support for LBC work is scarce and unlikely to increase. The challenge is to create a sustainable service by the LBC team as points of presence, using the existing or reduced financial base. Concentration on increasing capacity at the point of delivery of information through knowledge of the business environment and information literacy is essential. Originality/value - The paper describes the first application of the 'balanced score card' technique to a public library business information service in South Africa.

This is a post-print/preprint of an article published by Emerald in Library Review, VOL. 58(8): 569-580, available: