Eight Small Business Resources at the Lake Forest Library


Small Businesses with under 20 employees make up 89% of the United States Economy. The goal of libraries today is helping the public from all age groups and backgrounds with all their information needs. Good news: this includes entrepreneurs and small business owners!

Read on to learn about eight resources available to small business at the Lake Forest Library. Or, learn how business owners can sign up for a library card at lakeforestlibrary.org/card.

1. Continuing Education

Learn about how to provide excellent customer service, improve your time management, get weekly tips on using Microsoft Office, and much more at your own pace with Lynda.com.

Or, keep up with the library’s seasonal newsletter of program offerings. Basic level technology classes are offered throughout the year, as are informational talks provided by experts to help meet the needs of the local community.


2. Keys to Starting Your Own Business Resource Finding Aid

Resources and organizations available to help you get your idea off the ground abound, and who better to help you navigate the web than your local library?

Collected within the Keys to Starting Your Own Business Guide are links to resources, information for beginners, videos, book lists, and contact information for business and government authorities.

The guide points prospective business owners and entrepreneurs to a compiling of considerations or “keys” that are important components of a new business. Find some basic definitions explained for your convenience, enjoy some book recommendations, and a few YouTube videos.

Take a look at lakeforestlibrary.org/business.


3. Business Research Appointments with a Librarian

Are you interested in finding out how to use the library’s online databases and resources and don’t know where to start? Looking for public records? Need to find a list of companies of a specific type?  Or, are you in the process of starting a business?

Call the library to set up a business research appointment with Michelle, the Business Reference Librarian at the Lake Forest Library.


4. Equipment

The library offers free access to PC computers with internet access and Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Scan documents to an email or USB thumb drive for free. Print and make black and white copies for only ten cents a page. Library cardholders can also check out a GoPro camera kit to take photos and videos. GoPro cameras go out for three weeks at a time.

For more advanced technology needs, the library offers Media Lab appointments with an attendant available to answer all of your questions. Learn more about equipment in the Media Lab at lakeforestlibrary.org/medialab.


5. Financial Resource Databases

Use Morningstar, Value Line Research Center, or S&P Global NetAdvantage to look up investments, find guidance, read commentary, and get company information. Use LexisNexis to find private companies, news, or a company’s legal proceedings.

Start by visiting https://www.lakeforestlibrary.org/databases to find the alphabetical list of all the library’s databases.


6. Databases to help you find new leads

Use ReferenceUSA as a phone book, or use its powerful advanced search to pull up a map of businesses that meet your specifications. Use Sorkins to create a list of companies or executives. Use the Record Information Services to find local public records.

Find Sorkins and ReferenceUSA at lakeforestlibrary.org/research-learn/ and filter by “Business and Investment”. Find Record Information Services filtered under “Government and Public Information”. 


7. Books, eBooks, and Audiobooks

Checkout a useful book using one of these “hot topic” library catalog searches:

Leadership, Motivation, Management, Communication, Marketing, Decision Making, Investing, Personal Finance, Retirement, or Business Plans

Find books on finance or economics in the 330s, and books on business, marketing, sales, or management in the 650s. The 330s and the 650s are located on the first floor of the Lake Forest Library, in the Business Collection room, behind the Reference Desk, to the right of the Media Lab.   


8. Print and Digital Newspapers and Magazines

Last but not least, the library subscribes to the print editions of Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Worth, Chicago Sun-Times, Investor’s Business Daily, the New York Times, and more.

Additionally, search ProQuest Newspapers, Regional Business News, NewsBank Databases, Business Source Elite or EBSCO Masterfile Premier for your topic from home.

Use RB Digital to read magazines such as the Economist, Forbes, Kiplinger’s, Mental Floss, and Robb Report on your laptop or on the go with the RB Digital mobile app.  

Or, check out eBook and digital audiobooks from the library using Hoopla or Libby to read or listen to on the go and in your spare time.

To get started with any of these apps, visit the Getting Started Guides page on our website.