As a public librarian, I am always looking for new ways to connect to the businesses and organizations in my community. One of the most useful resources in MeL for finding information about business and market data is DemographicsNow. This free resource is easy to access and can be used in a variety of ways to support our residents.
Marshall District Library has used DemographicsNow to help the organizations in our community in practical, concrete ways. A local pastor visited us to find out how he could distribute information about an upcoming conference his church was hosting. He wanted to send invitations to all of the churches of certain denominations that were located in a 30-mile radius of Marshall. Because DemographicsNow allows users to use their Geography Menu to Create Locations, we were able to use his church address to set a radius and the SIC group search to find the contact information.
MDL works regularly with our Economic Development Alliance and Chamber of Commerce to support business services in our community. On several occasions, our local officials have called the library to get lists of businesses that meet certain criteria. For example, a company that was moving into the manufacturing district in the Marshall area needed a list of Michigan companies that constructed industrial warehouses and had a large worker capacity. In using the keyword search for NAICS/SIC groups, it was simple to pull up a list and sort the companies by number of employees. At one point, the Economic Development Alliance also contacted us as a local business owner was looking to add another store location outside of our county. Using the Reports function of DemographicsNow, we were able to show this business owner statistics about the spending habits of people in the areas she was considering in order to help her make an informed decision.
DemographicsNow also works great for personal projects, particularly in finding obscure phone numbers or businesses. You never know when someone might come in and need to track down a manufacturer of doll wigs so that they can produce their own doll design. When someone came into MDL and asked for that information, I had a good idea of where to start my search.
DemographicsNow is a powerful research tool for finding statistical information, business listings, residential phone numbers, and many other treasures for our patrons.
This Guest Post Brought to you by Angela Semifero, Director, Marshall District Library
Supporting Michigan Libraries by Putting You First.
Want more information on MeL? Stay tuned for the next MeL Minute available on many Michigan library listservs, visit http://mel.org, or sign up for the MeL Minute and other Library of Michigan e-mail lists via GovDelivery. We encourage you to share MeL Minutes with your colleagues and networks.
MeL eResources are available to Michigan residents or for Michigan library or school access only.