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Business Services at the Library

Madison Public Library is an important resource for entrepreneurs and small business. Librarians can help with market and demographic research with databases and directories like Reference Solutions (formerly ReferenceUSA). Thousands of example business plans are available online through the Gale Business Plans Handbook.

There are also a number of publicly available business databases to learn more about demographic and economic data for business planning such as the Census Business Builder.

For people looking to gain career skills, try online study tools like Transparent Language, Learning Express Library, or access technical manuals, computer programming, and business eBooks through O'Reilly for Public Libraries (previously Safari Books Online).

Libraries provide spaces for events, meetings, free wireless internet, printers, scanners and computers. The library works with partners to offer classes for business, job skills, and technology, and with service providers that offer business, career, and legal advice. At Central Library, there are more than a dozen meeting spaces to use, rentals for large events, as well as audio, video, and graphic design tools.


To learn more, contact Martin Alvarado, Community Engagement Librarian, Business & Technology, at 266-6350 or with questions or to set up a consultation.

*Library databases will require your library card number.*

Click on the card image to learn how you can sign up for a Madison Public Library card.

Business Research Tools

Information for business planning, market research, companies, news, statistics, and directories.

Library databases

Business Plans Handbook [connect] Hundreds of real life examples of successfully-funded business plans. 

Available remotely to all South Central Library System cardholders and in-library


Business Source Premier [connect] Full-text articles from business magazines, trade publications, and third-party company and industry profiles.

Available remotely to all South Central Library System cardholders and in-library.


Reference Solutions [connect] Business and consumer research database, useful for generating sales leads, creating marketing plans, and conducting competitive analysis. (Formerly ReferenceUSA)

Available remotely to users with Madison Public Library or a subscribing library as their home library and in library

Other Resources
American FactFinder and American Community Survey Census and demographic information from the US Census Bureau.

BusinessUSA Information for new and existing businesses from the federal government.

Census Business Builder select demographic and economic data (including consumer spending) from the Census Bureau Data, tools, and resources for research, web and mobile applications, and data visualizations.

NAICS search Find the North American Industry Code for industry-level data.

SBDC National Information Clearinghouse Free entrepreneurship learning from the Small Business Development Center.

Small Business Administration Resources for starting, financing, and managing a small business. Try the Small Business Administration's Learning Center for self-paced free online business and entrepreneurship topics.

ThomasNet Directory of manufacturers. A librarian can provide a login for use in the library.

Wisconsin Corporate Records Locate licensed businesses, partnerships, and companies in Wisconsin, also known as Corporate Registration Information Service (CRIS).

Investing, Company, and Charity Research Clearinghouse of consumer protection information.

Rank and Filed Searchable SEC filings by geography and industry.

Charity Navigator Analysis and ratings of charities and nonprofit organizations.

Foundations in Wisconsin directory of grant makers in the state. A librarian can provide a login for use in the library.

GuideStar Information on programs and finances of more than 850,000 charities and nonprofits.

Morningstar Investment Research Center [connect] [availability] Current and historical quotes for over 90,000 investments, analysis for nearly 9,000 mutual funds and stocks, company and industry information, and financial education tutorials.

Value Line Investment Survey [connect] [availability] Data and performance analysis of approximately 8,000 stocks, 15,000 mutual funds, and 80,000 options and other securities.

Community Resources

Local resources for small business, startups, and entrepreneurs

City of Madison Office of Business Resources provides services and assistance to businesses in the city.

City of Madison Neighborhoods offers demographics, associations, plans, businesses, profiles, and maps.

Grants Information Collection at UW-Madison's Memorial Library.'s Book of Business Find services, suppliers, and information about local business and demographics.

Patent and Trademark Library at UW-Madison's Wendt Library.

SCORE Madison provides classes and counseling from retired experts.

Small Business Development Center UW-Madison offers no-cost business consulting and a variety of affordable courses for new and growing businesses.

Wisconsin Technology Council Entrepreneur's Toolkit Information for tech businesses on incubators, networking and capital.

WWBIC Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation offers business classes and lending.

Downloadable and online access

Flipster Magazines [connect] [availability]

Popular magazines to read online, get the app to read offline.

O'Reilly for Public Libraries (previously Safari Books Online) [connect] [availability]

Collection of computer programming, technology and busines titles for online access.

Wisconsin's Digital Library, Powered by Overdrive [connect] [availability]

Download audiobooks and eBooks to your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Thousands of popular titles are available.

Yahara Music Library

Stream or download music from your favorite local Madison-area artists.

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