223. The Best-Kept (Business) Secret in Barrington

Home Newsroom 223. The Best-Kept (Business) Secret in Barrington

When I am out and about in the community, I’m occasionally stunned (maybe depressed is a better word) by what people don’t know about the Barrington Area Library. They don’t know we offer free e-books and e-audiobooks, along with free-to-download music, magazines, and streaming movies and TV shows. They don’t  realize that librarians are professionals with Masters degrees in Library and Information Science, who know about books, yes, but who also know about technology, research, genealogy, programming languages, graphic design, social media, 3D printing, and all kinds of cool stuff.

They also may not know that the library has unique and professional services for the business community, entrepreneurs, and job seekers. In short, they don’t know about Business Liaison Librarian Barbara Alvarez!

Barbara is a vivacious, dynamic coworker and librarian (and, she has one of the best laughs I’ve ever heard), and I want to spread the word about her and the great work she is doing, so here’s a little mini-interview to introduce her to the community.

Barbara Alvarez is the Business Liaison Librarian at the Barrington Area Library.
Barbara Alvarez is the Business Liaison Librarian at the Barrington Area Library. Here she is, showing off some of the cool, new tech-enabled work booths in the library’s Business Lounge.

Karen: Tell me about your library education and how long you’ve been at the Barrington Area Library.

Barbara: I received my Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois- Urbana/Champaign in May 2012. While I was in graduate school, I was an Assistant Librarian in the Youth Services Department at the Barrington Area Library. Since June 2013, I have been in the Adult Services Department.

Karen: So, what exactly is a Business Liaison Librarian?

Barbara: A Business Liaison Librarian connects business owners, employees, and job seekers with valuable library resources. So this means that I design and deliver specialized classes, curriculum, online resources, and research assistance to the Barrington business community. Whether you are a local business owner wondering how your company measures up to an industry or a job seeker looking to create a targeted networking list, the Barrington Area Library has something for all your business needs.

As a liaison, I am involved in the local Barrington business community through committees, networking events including Chamber of Commerce events, and classes that I teach. I am also available for speaking engagements about library resources available to your business or organization with a Barrington library card.

Karen: Tell me about the library’s business videos.

Barbara: The “Business: It’s Better in Barrington” video series is one of my favorite parts of my job! My colleague Ashley Brooke Sero and I record, edit, and publish videos for local Barrington businesses that want to tell their unique business story. It’s an opportunity for me to connect with local business owners, learn about their business, and share it with the rest of the Barrington community. To date, there are 18 videos in the series with more to come! You can view the videos on the library website or search for them online. (Karen: Ashley also works in the Adult Services department as an Assistant Librarian. Another of Ashley’s fun job duties is helping us set up exhibits in the Gallery in the Library.)

Screenshot of the Barrington Area Library website featuring short videos about local businesses. Currently featured is Calibre Coffee.
Screenshot of the Barrington Area Library website featuring short videos about local businesses. Currently featured is Calibre Coffee.

Karen: What kinds of assistance can you give to job seekers?

Barbara: The amount of useful resources that the Barrington Area Library has for job seekers is truly amazing and I love the opportunity to share them. In addition to teaching a class twice a month at The Career Place and occasional classes here, I also am available for one-on-one appointments at the library. We have resources that allow job seekers to create targeted company lists, find out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that face an industry or company, learn about competitors, and even get their resumes and cover letters reviewed in 24 hours! All you need is a Barrington Area Library card.

Business Liaison Librarian Barbara Alvarez is ready to welcome you to the new Conference Room in the library's Business & Technology Center.
Business Liaison Librarian Barbara Alvarez is ready to welcome you to the new Conference Room in the library’s Business & Technology Center.

Karen: What free library programs are coming in the next few weeks that might be of interest to local business people and job seekers?

Barbara: Definitely check out Content Marketing: Today’s Key to Getting Found on the Internet on Wednesday, August 13 at 7:00 PM (use the link to register).

If you want to learn how to get your presentations and research noticed, attend a hands-on training class on creating Infographics on Tuesday, August 26 at 7:00 PM. Make sure to check our newsletter and calendar for a lot of upcoming business classes and workshops this fall.

So, that’s a little bit about our best-kept business secret at the library – who I hope will be a secret no more after publishing this post! Another great place to keep in touch with what Barbara is doing is to read her business blog posts on the library website, which often include her recommendations on the newest and best business books. Whether you’re a small business owner, budding entrepreneur, job seeker, or someone making a career transition, please connect with Barbara and learn about the many ways the Barrington Area Library can help you.

Barbara Alvarez is the Business Liaison Librarian at the Barrington Area Library. Barbara connects business owners, professionals, and job seekers with valuable library resources. When she’s not working with the business community, you can find her trying new recipes (she just learned how to make strawberry jam!) and finding fun antiques at resale shops. She is currently reading Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull. Contact her at balvarez@balibrary.org or 847.382.1300 x 3070



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