With competition for customers, funding, and success at a premium these days, libraries must find ways to throw in their lot with neighboring organizations and businesses in order to best serve their shared constituencies. This chapter examines success stories born from collaborations showing that all libraries can share in this type of success—no matter how big or little their community may be—and partner with local companies, businesses, social, and non-profits groups in ways that are not only cost-effective, but can also result in innovative revenue streams for all parties involved.
All businesses want the same thing—a stable financial future. Small, local businesses like retail and grocery stores often wait on the same customers many of us see every day within the walls of our libraries. In fact, our visitor counts sometimes far outpace what might be recorded in a nearby grocery store. This begs the questions: Why would libraries not want to help that business neighbor by offering low-cost, targeted advertising of their services to its patrons? Why not form a partnership that helps both sides attract more traffic and revenue. Profit is no longer a four-letter word in library circles. Failure is. That’s why CHUHL has openly courted, negotiated and profited alongside its business neighbors over the past few yearsand, in the end, our shared customers have benefitted as well. What follows are some examples of how CHUH reached out to its community to the benefit of all parties involved.