Monroe County Library System,  Monroe, MI 48162


Business Resource Center - Your Helpful Location for Business Assistance and Advice

The Monroe County Library System, partnering with the MI-SBTDC, presents the Business Resource Center. Located upstairs at the Ellis Library and Reference Center, the BRC includes a collection of books and other resources to aid entrepreneurs starting business ventures. Reference librarians are available onsite, as well as by telephone and email. Public internet computers and group study rooms are also accessible.

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Non-circulating (Reference) Collection—Materials available for Library Use Only in the Reference Center can be found in the catalog under the subject heading Business Resource Center Collection

Circulating collection—Materials available for check out from the Monroe County Library System can be found in the catalog and include these types of business-related subject headings:

eBooks from the Woodland’s Downloadable Library (WDL) — Have an eReader or mobile device? You can download and read business-related eBooks from the WDL. For more information about downloading eBooks visit the MCLS downloadable books link at

Business and Personal Finance NextReads newsletterEach newsletter will focus on books from a specific subject area in the collection. It is published every other month. To receive via email, subscribe using the link above.

Periodicals, Newspapers, Financial Reports and Online Publications

Business-related periodicals are located on the first floor of the Ellis Library and Reference Center. Current issues are available for library use only; back issues are available to check out. Titles include:

  • Entrepreneur
  • Inc

Newspapers are located on the first floor of the Ellis Library and Reference Center. Back issues are kept for three months. Titles include:

  • Detroit Free Press
  • Monroe Evening News
  • Toledo Blade
  • Grand Rapids Business Journal

Financial reports are located in the Business Resource Center on the second floor of the Ellis Library and Reference Center. These reports are continually updated and include:

  • Value Line

Online Publications

  • Small Business Publications – Several online government publications related to small business and entrepreneurship are available to download and view free of charge.
  • Small Business TRENDS – This award-winning online publication offers news, information, and advice for small business owners and entrepreneurs.



All Databases below are provided through the Monroe County Library System, and are available from home with a password. Please stop by any branch of the Monroe County Library System and pick up the Online Services brochure for a listing of passwords. Click here to access the MCLS database collection, and then open the Business & Law section or use the links below:

  • Business and Company ASAP provides researchers with information on companies, markets, and industries. From market trends, mergers, and acquisitions to current management theory and company overviews. Access business and trade journals, newspapers, and company directory profiles with full text and images.
  • Business Decision provides researchers and entrepreneurs access to widespread business-to-consumer market data. Detailed company profiles, product and brand information combined with investment reports, rankings and market share data allow users to better penetrate the consumer marketplace. To get started, create an account using your email address and then click "Create Account." A confirmation email will be sent to your email with directions for activating the account.
  • Business Insights (Formerly Business and Company Resource Center) continues coverage of its predecessor by providing company and industry content in the form of articles, market share reports, investment reports, industry profiles, rankings, brand and product information, and company histories. Financial reports show the income statement, balance sheet, cash flow and stock ratios. Newly enhanced content and features such as the company finder and interactive charting enable users to delve deeper into business data.
  • Demographics Now - Business & People provides detailed demographic data on more than 23 million businesses and 206 million consumers. Designed with an intuitive interface, interactive mapping tooks and comprehensive data, this new resource makes it easy for all types of researchers to collect, analyze and act upon information, all from one location.
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library includes a section on Business with several eBooks useful for entrepreneurs including Business Plans Handbook, Encyclopedia of Emerging Markets, Encyclopedia of Small Business, and Market Share Reporter/Trends Over Time. Each eBook is completely searchable, or users can navigate to chapters using the Table of Contents. Access this database from the General Reference section on the database page.
  • General Business File ASAP is a compilation of business-related articles from broker research reports, trade publications, newspapers, journals and company directory listings. 
  • Job and Career AcceleratorThis easy-to-use online application enables Michigan residents to combine everything they need for a successful job search. Explore over 1000 occupations, search over five million recent national and local job openings, create effective resumes and cover letters, and store them all in one convenient place. Job descriptions are also listed, making it easy for entrepreneurs to create job postings for their businesses.*You must set up an account at your branch library before you can use at home. If you already have a Learn-a-Test account, you can use it to access this database
  • Reference USA provides a site in which business researchers can access information from both the business side and the consumer side. In-depth information about more than 20 million businesses is compiled, news articles are available, and valuable market research profiles can be created. 
  • Small Business Resource Center provides information on starting, financing, or managing a small business. Resources include sample business plans, how-to guides, articles and websites. 

Computer Software

Microsoft Office is available on all on public computers throughout the library. Each Office software program has the potential to provide useful tools to the beginning entrepreneur:

  • Microsoft Word is a word processing program that includes a template for completing a business plan
  • Microsoft Excel aids in the creation of spreadsheets, charts and graphs that can be incorporated into business plans or other presentations
  • Microsoft PowerPoint is a presentation software program that helps entrepreneurs create slideshows and other business-related presentations
  • Microsoft Publisher is useful for the creation of brochures, flyers, newsletters, and business cards
  • Microsoft Access is a database program used for the storage of company data and mailing lists


  • - While the federal government does not give out grants to most entrepreneurs starting a business, grants may be available at the state and local level, and can be explored using a search tool for specialized programs on the website.
  • details federal grants available for non-profit organizations or for-profit businesses in the fields of scientific and technology research and development.


  • for Small Business will be the place to get health insurance beginning October 1, 2013. Small businesses can visit the website now to view an introductory video and learn about options.  The article 7 Key Terms in the Affordable Care Act that Businesses Should Know, posted on the SBA website, gives small business owners a look at information that will affect their small business in regards to healthcare.
  • AllBusiness has a little bit of everything relating to small business including startup, operations, marketing, finance concepts, and legal information. The site is sponsored by Dun & Bradstreet.
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) includes a Businesses tab on their website that leads to information topics on starting a business, and the necessary forms that must be filed. This website is a must for new entrepreneurs.
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics provides many types of labor statistics such as employment/unemployment, Consumer Price Index (CPI), productivity, spending and time use, labor publications, and much more.
  • BusinessUSA is a centralized, one-stop platform for businesses. Users will find programs and services that will help them start a business, grow a business, access financing, find help with exporting and find opportunities. Each program includes a link to the US department that handles the program, a description of the service, eligibility requirements, and links to similar programs and services.
  • Entrepreneur offers tips for starting a business, business plans, legal forms, financing a business and marketing. The website is sponsored by Entrepreneur Magazine, publisher of a series of step by step startup guides that are also owned by the Monroe County Library System.
  • Small Business Development Center National Information Clearinghouse provides many valuable tools for the new venture including samples of specific business plans, information on franchising, demographics, finance, international trade, taxes and accounting, as well as the GIS (Geographic Information System) Service, which will map and display all forms of geographically referenced demographic data. This website is a great starting point.
  • U.S. Small Business Administration offers entrepreneurs information on starting, registering, and running a business as well as legal and local information.
  • USA Counties is compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau. Data on this website includes age, race, business patterns, earnings, education, employment, households, income, labor force, manufacturers, population, retail and wholesale trade. Comparison data amongst counties or states is possible.
  • United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Website defines patents and trademarks, explains how they are useful to entrepreneurs, allows users to search for existing patents and trademarks, and walks users of the website through the process of registering a patent or trademark. The website includes filing applications and other documents, forms, and FAQs.

Local and Regional Information

  • Small Business Profile for Michigan - this document from the SBA’s Office of Advocacy supplies current data on small business activity in Michigan. Data includes demographics of business ownership, small business income, banking, business turnover, industry composition, and employment gains and losses by size of business.  Small Business Profiles for States and Territories provides links to the same data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center provides counseling, training, research and advocacy for new business ventures, existing small businesses and innovative technology companies.
  • County Business Patterns 1998 through 2009 from the Northwest Michigan Council on Governments website, this index contains a link that leads to each Michigan county. Business patterns for industries from Accommodation and Food Services to Warehousing and Storage, and everything in between will be included.
  • Pure Michigan Business Connect Michigan businesses have new ways to buy and sell, raise capital and connect with each other through the Pure Michigan Business Connect website. The $3 billion public-private initiative strengthens the administrations’ economic gardening philosophy through a wide range of services for small businesses including: financing, legal assistance, procurement opportunities, and export counsel. 
  • Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) contains community demographics regarding population trends, household types, age, race, ethnicity, and education levels. Data on jobs, housing, transportation, and land use are also available. Try the NWMCOG website for similar statistical economic reports of Northwest Michigan counties.
  • Michigan Business One Stop offers resources and tools to aid in the startup and operations of businesses in Michigan. The website provides business planning and financing tips, and its secure online service allows a business owner to register a business and apply for licenses and permits essential for running the business. 
  • Michigan State Business License Search provides an alphabetical listing of businesses in Michigan that require state licensing. Visit this website to find out if a new venture requires a license.


  • SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) SCORE volunteers are available nationwide to assist small business entrepreneurs in the development of new ventures. Chapters in the southeast Michigan/Northwest Ohio area include:
    • Northwest Ohio SCORE, c/o Mercy Healthcare Center,
      2200 Jefferson Avenue, 1st Floor, Toledo, OH 43604
      Phone: (419) 259-7598

    • Ann Arbor Area SCORE, c/o Cleary University,
      3601 Plymouth Rd.Ann Arbor, MI 48105
      Phone: (734) 929-9091

    • Detroit SCORE
      477 Michigan Avenue, Room 515, Detroit, MI 48226
      Phone: (313) 226-7947

  • AARP partners with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help older entrepreneurs interested in starting and running a business. Their Self-Employment Website includes resources and webinars, a business plan template, a link to grants and small business loans, and a variety of tools and articles.

Programs and Classes

MCLS offers a variety of programs and classes geared towards business and/or computer skills:

Ask A Librarian by phone, by email, or in person. Reference librarians are on staff to answer questions regarding the Business Resource Center.

Watch our video about the BRC!


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