Library Resources and Services Boost Startups and Small Business

Not everyone thinks of the public library when starting a business. Yet, it’s the radical collaboration among entrepreneurs, the Library, and our strategic partners that continues to foster local economic development.

Poudre River Public Libraries have just about everything a 21st century entrepreneur might need: work space, Internet access, reference materials and research databases, and professional guidance through dedicated business librarians and strategic partners like the Larimer Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

“We’ve invested in quality resources and expert staff aimed at helping businesses, entrepreneurs, and nonprofits throughout their development,” says David Slivken, executive director, Poudre River Public Library District. “By collaborating with the library and our partners, local innovators see lower barriers to market entry and benefit from a strong, supportive ecosystem.”

For solopreneur Sandi Leffel, the Library and SBDC were critical in helping her get her business, Styling with Sandi, up and running in 2019.

Sandi Leffel worked with the District’s Business Librarian and consultants from the SBDC to get her personal stylist business up and running in 2019.

“Working with the SBDC and their consultants was the most important piece of the puzzle because I didn’t want to start a business that wasn’t viable,” says Sandi. She met with 8-10 consultants, including the Library District’s Business Librarian, to lay the groundwork, help with ideas, and formulate a business plan.

For market research, Sandi worked with a Business Librarian to examine her competitive landscape and compile reports using the Library’s various databases and eResources. Librarians also researched regional demographic information to help Sandi identify potential customers and marketing opportunities.

Sandi will shop with clients and help them find clothes to fit their personal aesthetic.

“It’s so beautiful that we have this free service in Larimer County,” Sandi says of the Library District resources and SBDC consultants.

Since launching her personal styling business last year, Sandi has steadily grown her clientele and found local businesses to partner with. Her advice for other entrepreneurs?

“Imperfect action is better than no action. You’re a bit overwhelmed with the things you need to do, but that advice was a game changer. I got brave around the words ‘Just take baby steps.’”

Are you an entrepreneur?

Get in touch with our Business Librarian Matthew West to discuss your business idea and what you need to make it a success. Request an appointment and explore resources online through the Library’s Business Center webpage.

Don’t miss Startup Week Fort Collins happening February 24-28. The free event offers a variety of presentations, workshops, and networking opportunities. Poudre River Public Library District is proud to sponsor this event and support local momentum and opportunity around entrepreneurship. More information about Startup Week is available at