BY TROY PRICE, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, BRUSHY FORK INSTITUTE
The Energizing Entrepreneurial Communities program supports rural entrepreneurs in their business ventures to move community development efforts to the next level. The initiative was originally established in Kansas by the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship. In a regional effort funded through an Appalachian Regional Commission POWER grant, four West Virginia communities – who are working with a team at The Hub – have embarked on this three year initiative to advance their local economies alongside teams working in communities in Eastern Kentucky and Southeastern Ohio.
Here, we bring you advice from a Kentucky community.
At one of our recent Entrepreneurial Community meetings here in southeastern Kentucky, we offered our attendees a selection of free books on a variety of business subjects. Their titles ranged from Starting A Specialty Food Business to IT Issues Facing Any Small Business.
You’ve probably already guessed that these giveaways came from among a bookshelf of recent publications that we have on-hand at the Brushy Fork Institute at Berea College.
What you might not know is that we’ve been able to obtain and distribute a robust selection of brand-new books absolutely free-of-charge.
Here’s how you, too, can manage to do the same:
The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. receives thousands of books each year. Often, copies of the same book arrive from multiple sources—both publishers and distributors, for example— are received for consideration. These duplicate copies are made available via the Library Of Congress Surplus Books Program.
That is all well and good, but their mere availability alone did not get these free books into our hands. It took some deft political intervention on our behalf! I called Congressman Hal Roger’s office (R-KY) and asked to speak with an intern. I explained who I was, whom I worked with and asked if someone from the office could go over to the LOC Surplus Book Room and select business books that we might share with our community partners throughout Eastern Kentucky.
Less than an hour later the very diligent intern called me back and said they had obtained approval to go over to the Surplus Book Room and pick out a selection of books for us. They also were able to use our Congressman’s Franking Privilege to mail the books to us free-of-charge. Sure enough, about a week later, five boxes of free books arrived at our doorstep. We currently use these books both for reference in our Institute’s own library as well as to share appropriate titles with our clients and partners.
This has been a genuine win-win for everyone involved!
So, the next time you’re thinking about how to further inspire and energize the communities with whom you work, keep our friends at the Library of Congress in mind.
They’re a great resource—and as I said, the books are FREE!