FARMINGTON HILLS — The Library of Michigan has selected Farmington Hills-based Gale, a business unit of Cengage Learning, to provide research resources free to businesses as part of the state’s ‘economic gardening’ initiative.

All Michigan libraries, businesses and residents can access these digital resources for free via the Michigan eLibrary (MeL), the Library of Michigan’s online home for digital resources.

Gale won the work in a competitive bidding process. Gov. Rick Snyder made funding for the program available in his executive budget. Efforts to contact Gale about the cost of the engagement were unsuccessful Monday.

Said Snyder of the new program in a written statement: “We are committed to helping existing Michigan businesses grow and thrive, and in order for that to happen, they need to have targeted research databases which will assist in that growth. The Michigan eLibrary is the logical place to make these focused e-resources available to businesses growing to the next level, new businesses just starting up and to all Michiganders.”

Added Michigan State Librarian Nancy Robertson: “The Michigan eLibrary now has an expanded set of resources that Michigan business owners, and the organizations that support them, can use as they start up or advance their businesses to the next stage.”

The business resources being provided by Gale will aid business researchers of all kinds including business school students, local entrepreneurs and small business owners, as well as others looking for access to global business intelligence.

The online database resources being made available include:
* DemographicsNow: Business & People – which provides comprehensive business and demographic information for users to assess business viability, create sales leads and mailing lists, complete location analyses and business plans, analyze population trends, find potential sponsors and donors and more. This versatile database is useful for those who want to start a business as well as those who want to take their established business to the next level.
* Gale LegalForms – provides actual attorney forms and documents in Word format helping users to deal with their legal needs – whether for business, personal or litigation purposes. Continuously updated to reflect current state laws, Gale LegalForms also includes a law digest, legal questions and answers and an attorney directory.
* Business Insights: Global – combines an international perspective and sophisticated research tools with convenient access to a range of comprehensive learning materials. Using case studies, statistical data sources, news articles, academic journals, and topical reference materials organized by country, company, and industry, this resource is especially useful to business faculty and students, as wells as to Michigan businesses interested in expansion.

Reference ebooks on a variety of business topics from Gale Virtual Reference Library are also available.

“Every month business owners and employees use resources at U.S. public libraries nearly 3 million times, and now Michigan businesses will have even more resources at their fingertips,” said Jim Draper, vice president and general manager, Gale. “As a local Michigan organization ourselves, we’re excited to be able to help our local community and make these resources available.”

CivicTechnologies, a provider of software and services for public and academic libraries based in Los Angeles, Calif., will provide BusinessDecision under the program. BusinessDecision offers consumer market data such as the Tapestry lifestyle segmentation system, consumer spending data, demographic and housing data, population estimates, and forecasts using census data with state of the art mapping technology.

“Small businesses are the economic engine of our nation, and libraries have a vital role in helping entrepreneurs and small businesses grow and succeed,” said Marc Futterman, president and CEO of CivicTechnologies. “Through this partnership with the Library of Michigan, libraries are helping their local communities be economically vibrant.”

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