Conference Format and Session Types
This international conference featured two days of virtual synchronous sessions. There were two session types: workshops (longer form presentations) and lightning talks (short presentations), both of which discussed topics related to entrepreneurial library work and initiatives. In addition, the conference facilitated informal networking discussions between participants to help build community conversations related to social entrepreneurship and expand people’s network of fellow entrepreneurially-minded librarians. Both days featured a combination of workshops and lightning rounds (shorter presentations sharing a more narrow topic).
Day One (November 1st, 2022)
Day One Presentations available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWu2uTAB1S4
Slides available at: https://entrelib.org/international-2022/
Libraries in the Social Entrepreneurship Sphere (Dr. Elizabeth T. Babarinde & Ngozi E. Osadebe, Department of Library and Information Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria)
In this presentation, Dr. Babarinde discusses a case study she conducted on libraries in the social entrepreneurship sphere. The study was conducted with Ngozi E. Osadebe in Nsukka through interviews with librarians pursuing social entrepreneurship projects. Librarians were asked the following research questions: What do librarians in social entrepreneurship do? Who are the partners of the librarians in the social entrepreneurship business? How do they identify their partners or collaborators in the social entrepreneurship business? Babarinde outlines several examples of social entrepreneurship projects, including programs that helped develop reading habits in children and teens, programs to help children in the community learn life skills like sewing and baking, and programs connecting women in the community with physical and mental health resources. This study found that social change is only achievable through working with partners in your various communities. Babarinde concludes, through partnerships with your communities, librarians can actively change perception of their role from passive enforcer of silence to active changemakers in their communities. This presentation would be of particular interest to those exploring social entrepreneurship in the global South, or those seeking ways to rebuild their own libraries to be more engaged in community grounded work.
A Prototype Ontology for Modelling Entrepreneurship in Libraries (Akram Fathian, Assistant Professor, Regional Information Center for Science and Technology, Shiraz, Iran)
In this presentation, Dr. Fathian discusses her creation of an ontology for entrepreneurship. An ontology seeks to establish a set of concepts within a subject area to showcase their properties and interdependence. She discusses the need for libraries to engage as social entrepreneurship hubs, due to the demand for entrepreneurship services in our communities. In order to serve our library users as entrepreneurial consultants, Fathian notes, librarians need not only to be well versed in LIS skills, but also need knowledge and skills related to entrepreneurship. In order to address the current lack of semantic models for entrepreneurship, Dr. Fathian analyzed existing conceptual frameworks for entrepreneurship (such as Eke-Okpala & Ihejirika, 2012; Butt and Ahmad, 2022; Ghanadinezhad, 2022) with the goal of creating an ontology, called “EntrepreneurOnt.” Fathian went on to describe her process creating this ontology using the software Protégé and demonstrated its capabilities to create and visually display an ontology. This presentation would be of interest to anyone currently looking to create an ontology (as it gives incredibly detailed examples of what the functionality of Protégé looks like) as well as anyone interested in semantic models for entrepreneurship.
“Traveler’s Book”, a Book Companion: the Art of Pursuing Social Return on Investment in Hospital Libraries (Dr. Mitra Zarei, Medical Librarian, and Maryam Andalib, Medical Librarian, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Razavi Khorasan Province, Iran)
In this presentation, Dr. Mitra Zarei speaks about her collaborative work with Maryam Andalib to establish more social entrepreneurship practices within the Akbar Superspeciality Children’s Hospital. As readership in Iran is low–with half the population identifying as non-readers, and half the population reading only one book a year–Zarei and Andalib wanted to use social entrepreneurship principles to create a culture of readership and collective communication about books within their hospital library. This presentation focuses on one such project–the creation of a “traveler’s book” that passed between the staff and professors of the hospital, inviting readers to read, comment on, and re-gift the book to a coworker after receiving it. Through this activity, the hospital achieved three main learning outcomes: 1) increasing readership among professors and staff of the hospital, 2) Integration of social entrepreneurship ideas into the field through creative methods, and 3) increasing collective communication and awareness about books through collective reading practices. The principles behind this talk would be applicable to anyone trying to create programs to increase readership in their various communities.
Analysis of Library Social Entrepreneurship from 2020–2022: The Wikimedia Factor (Ngozi Perpetua Osuchukwu, Librarian/Lecturer in Department of Library and Information Science, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria)
In this talk, Osuchukwu details her library’s work with Wikimedia during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020. During this time, Osuchukwu and her fellow librarians engaged their communities with Wikimedia in a variety of ways, including through training, workshops, and community engagement through activities such as the creation and translation of articles. This project was intended to achieve a number of goals, including increased traffic in the libraries, increased numbers of libraries and librarians, increased library engagement with Wikimedia at a leadership level, and the encouragement of social justice work through these interactions. Osuchukwu also notes the potential obstacles in doing this work, which include lack of engagement among some librarians, overwhelming aspects of Wikimedia, and the need for infrastructure to make Wikimedia accessible in places like schools. By seeking grants and sponsorships to build their skills, Osuchukwu says librarians can overcome these obstacles and engage their communities in meaningful ways through Wikimedia. This presentation would be of interest to anyone looking for ideas to implement Wikimedia within their library and community.
Social Media Listening for Insights into Niche Markets (Allison Smith, Research Librarian, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
In this presentation, Smith explores how social media listening can help give insight into niche markets. This technique, which involves monitoring candid conversations happening on social media platforms, allows researchers to demonstrate impact for new or niche markets that might not have formal numbers to show in the same ways as more established fields. Smith uses two case studies to demonstrate how this principle can work: a case study of a group selling adaptive fashions for wheelchair users, and a case study of a group of entrepreneurs who created a tracking tool for weightlifters. Through scraping for keywords and cluster analysis of word clouds, Smith was able to track themes that emerged through these discussions on the social media platform Reddit. Smith displays how visual analysis of hashtagged images, tone and sentiment analysis, and deep listening can offer us new tools to use in our reference interviews as well as new ways to gain insight about our own users. Smith was particularly engaging in her explanation of social media listening, and the case study examples were incredibly useful to those looking to utilize this method in their own work.
Arts X Entrepreneurship: A Framework to Support Creatives (Jimmy McKee, Entrepreneurship Libarian, and Ashley Werlinich, Library Liaison to English and Drama, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America)
In this lightning talk, McKee and Werlinich outline a new library pilot program at Carnegie Mellon University: Arts X Entrepreneurship (ARTS X ESHIP). This program aims to enhance its local innovation ecosystem through a rollout of various projects, workshops, and library resources that unite arts and entrepreneurship. This program seeks to make entrepreneurship resources accessible to students with a variety of backgrounds, as well as to connect students with art entrepreneurs and makers within the local community. The ARTS X ESHIP program also emphasizes needs and resource assessments of its communities. The program engages with its communities in a variety of ways including through focus groups, interviews, and surveys, as well as alternative approaches to embedded librarianship (such as serving as advisors for student groups). By integrating with its community, the ARTS X ESHIP program directs resources to those previously under-reached, develops reproducible guidelines for other libraries seeking to do the same work, and fosters local innovation. This presentation would be of note to anyone working with entrepreneurship in the arts or to those interested in alternative approaches to entrepreneurship within university libraries.
Day Two (November 2nd, 2022)
Day One Presentations available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNLvDM6sTP4
Slides available at https://entrelib.org/international-2022/
Sustainable Solutions: Using the Impact Gaps Canvas as a Research Tool (Amanda Wheatley, Liaison Librarian for Management, Business, and Entrepreneurship, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
This workshop focuses on the Impact Gaps Canvas. Specifically, it looks at how this approach has a more inclusive lens in considering social entrepreneurship. Topics covered include a discussion of the canvas, how it connects to evidence-based practice, and insight to teaching with it in the classroom.
In defining the Impact Gaps Canvas, Wheatley describes it as a “tool designed to help people learn about a problem before jumping in to try and solve it.” In other words, we’re mapping out the landscape surrounding the problem, to identify potential solutions. Informed decision making, tied together with deep analysis, will lend itself towards facilitating actionable items in the sphere of social entrepreneurship. Thinking about evidence-based practice, there are six skills to consider: Asking, Acquiring, Appraising, Aggregating, Applying, and Assessing. This is similar to the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy. By visually overlaying the two frameworks, this provides a tangible element for students to better recognize the importance of quality research and information literacy, ultimately enhancing their venture.
Wheatley then shares an example where students were tasked in using this canvas. Upper-level students were assigned an SDG and needed to develop a product, service, or solution which aligned with that goal. A real-life example was provided for the students regarding how to leverage existing scientific research to inform sustainability-oriented business proposals.
Businesses for a Better World: Using the UN Sustainable Development Goals in a First Year Experience Program (Wendy Pothier, Business & Economics Librarian, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA)
This workshop had three main goals: (1) to introduce the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) within the context of entrepreneurship and librarianship; (2) to provide examples of integrating SDGs into first year business pitch competitions; and (3) to consider ways academic librarians can be part of social entrepreneurship ecosystems. In thinking of her own role as a librarian and in interfacing with the SDGs, Pothier asked herself how she can facilitate the SDGs in conversations with her constituents. This lies in leveraging partnerships and fostering others’ curiosities.
To answer this, the discussion shifts towards work that Pothier is facilitating alongside the UNH College of Business & Economics. Their First Year Innovation and Research Experience (FIRE) Program is a time-intensive commitment which culminates in a team-based pitch competition addressing “Grand Challenges” facing the world. She supports this program by providing her own long-term commitments—building a research guide, developing digital training modules, hosting train-the-trainer sessions, and facilitating research consultations.
The digital learning modules asynchronously position students to undertake quality business research. In train-the-trainer sessions, Pothier meets with the students’ peer advisors. This fosters relationship building and enhances the support network which student teams have available. Consultation workshops further enhance each team’s business plans in preparation for the pitch competition.
There are several main elements for how librarians can create a model of support for entrepreneurship ecosystems. First, remain engaged with iterative processes–developing plans takes time and revision. Second, don’t neglect relationship building with constituents, peers, and community. Third, consider sustainable modeling to avoid burnout. This includes using asynchronous learning modules because they enable a large audience to be proactively reached. This allows synchronous elements of engagement (consultations) to be specifically curated and have a greater impact.
Podcast Resources for Entrepreneurs (Annette Bochenek, Assistant Professor and Business Information Specialist, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA)
This lightning talk discusses podcasting resources for entrepreneurs and the foundations of a media support program. Narrative podcasts are a valuable medium for enabling a story to be distributed to a range of audiences. At Purdue University Libraries, to better share stories about their community’s makers, they partnered with the School of Information Studies and the Brian Lamb School of Communication to create the MakeYourStory podcast. The first season focused on the core aspects and skills in developing and hosting a podcast. The second season focuses more closely on students’ stories.
Thinking broadly, the presenter sought to encompass Purdue’s entrepreneurial community. There’s a research process involved in assessing how one’s podcast and stories fit into a larger ecosystem of creative content. For podcasts to be best positioned for success, one needs to undertake market research and foster connections with peers. While there are the logistics of hosting and editing platforms to consider, one also needs to consider developing a marketing plan. By thinking about branding and online presence, fostering relationships with your audience, and undertaking self-promotion, entrepreneurs can leverage podcasting as another facet of their creative journey.
Libraries Build Business Resources to Support Your Library in Building or Expanding an Entrepreneurship Program (Megan Janicki, Deputy Director, Strategic Initiatives, American Library Association, Chicago, Illinois, USA)
The Libraries Build Business program was a grant initiative intended to build resources for supporting local entrepreneurs through their public libraries - intentionally directing outreach to under-supported communities. Over an 18-month period, the efforts behind this grant reached nearly 15,000 entrepreneurs, all around the country. The team hopes to continue investment and sustained engagement of this work by creating ongoing resources and facilitating a community of practice. These include a Slack channel, monthly events on Zoom, and the downloadable collaboratively-built Libraries Build Business Playbook. This begs the question: how can libraries engage in supporting local business? The panel believes that every library, regardless of size, can participate. As such, they break this down into three tiers of involvement.
First is to Respond. Libraries should assess their existing resources, meeting spaces, and computing. They should market these facilities for local business needs. Second is to Build. Seek partnerships with the intent to create dedicated programming. Third is to Sustain. Maintain yourself as a leader in the local business community, with dedicated staff and services continually offering programming and support for your local business constituents. This talk would be of interest to any library considering how to expand their support services for local businesses.
Barriers to Capital Access (Hadiza SaAadu, Small Business & Non-Profit Specialist, Kansas City Public Library, Missouri, USA)
This talk discusses one invisible barrier surrounding capital access for small businesses. SaAadu found that one of the most common questions she receives is: “How can I get a grant for my business?” A major challenge is that disparate access to information creates barriers. The history of redlining in the United States has resulted with resources being consolidated in wealthier parts of the city, forming what she calls disconnected networks. Essentially, connections and access to specialized resources or information are rare.
In her role at the Kansas City Public Library, she works with individuals to help them secure quality information, develop a solid network, and find advocates. These roles are described as: Illuminator and Guide; Connector and Collaborator; and Cheerleader and Advocate. By disseminating actionable information; cultivating meaningful relationships with leaders in the local entrepreneurship community; and providing a trusting ear for users, SaAadu begins to chip away at these inequities.
Three Heads are Better Than One: Library Makerspaces & Subject Liaison Librarians Supporting Local Ventures (Aditi Gupta, Engineering & Science Librarian; Rich McCue, Digital Scholarship Commons Manager; and Emily Nickerson, Law & Business Librarian, University of Victoria Libraries, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada)
This talk focuses on establishing deeper partnerships and team-based approaches within a university. After some time fostering collaborative opportunities, this team was invited to the Coast Capital Innovation Centre (CCIC). The CCIC is the University of Victoria’s venture incubator, providing fundamental support for student entrepreneurs. Their team divides work by specialties. Business research assistance aims to facilitate access to relevant resources. Patents and standards support is a service which students leverage regularly. And student access to prototyping equipment through their makerspace was found to be of major importance.
Their makerspace provides a variety of workshops and tools, marketed two main ways: an email list and through guest lectures. With consistent advertising, their library is perceived by users as a neutral ground, with instructional workshops as low stakes learning environments. The presenters share the story of a student entrepreneur who utilized a combination of these library resources to found their sustainability-oriented business.
Because of its virtual format, this year’s Entrelib made it possible to have an especially international focus, hosting speakers from around the world and from places both within and outside of the global North. Participants posited many different interpretations of what entrepreneurship looks like within the library–both public and academic–and introduced the group to a wide range of approaches to supporting our communities through library work. Through this international forum to share ongoing projects, Entrelib created a cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary exchange of stories and experiences–a key aspect in facilitating social entrepreneurship.