Roughly 200 local business owners recently received a card and information from the Maryville Public Library.
The card gives the owner complimentary access to the library's new service, ReferenceUSA, which provides a wide range of services to both businesses and individuals.
ReferenceUSA is basically a large all-encompassing database that allows the user to search for almost any information or person they want to find in the United States and Canada.
For instance, a business can use it to search for suppliers of office materials, restaurants can look for someone to supply napkins and silverware.
It can help find new customers, learn about competitors, help individuals find jobs and help non-profit organizations in finding new donors.
Residential information is gathered primarily from the telephone book and utility company records.
The business information is gathered from a wide variety of sources, including the yellow pages, the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Census Bureau and internet research.
The cost for the service, roughly $1,000 per year, is being paid for by a USDA grant that was earned by Nodaway County Economic Development, and will pay for at least three years.
Library director Stephanie Patterson is excited about the service, and thinks it will be beneficial for local businesses and library patrons.
"This is something we would not be able to afford without the help of the Lee Langerock and the economic development grant," Patterson said. "Usually you only find database access like this in urban areas or other districts with a lot of funding. We're happy to be able to have this."
The database can even be used to conduct market research, a valuable resource for small businesses.
Information found on ReferenceUSA is all verified, and updated quarterly, according to Patterson.
"The access to information, the quality of the information, is better than you'll find anywhere," Patterson said. "We hope that we can make businesses and individuals aware of the resource they can have."
As for what the library will do when the grant funding ends, Patterson said that they have a plan in place.
"We can monitor the usage, as in how often people access the database,"
Patterson said. "And if it gets used, and it's helping businesses, we'll find a spot in the budget for it."
Patterson encourages any interested business owner that did not receive a card to contact the library at (660) 582-5281.
The library would also appreciate feedback from anyone who uses the database, both individuals and businesses, so it can gage their options when the grant money is no longer available.