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Make Business Research Easy at the Library

A newcomer to the Ozarks recently was interested in opening a used book store in Springfield, so he used a business database through the Library to do market research.

Good thing, too, because the detailed, down-to-the-block data showed his target area would not support another used book store. He saved himself a lot of money and grief by using the database, Business Decision.

It’s one of the many high-quality business databases that the library subscribes to. They’re accessible at no cost from home, work or at any of our branches for individuals with a valid Springfield-Greene County Library card.  

At Missouri State University, marketing professor Linda Pettijohn’s retailing students used the business databases in mock research projects.

Using Business Decision, they studied an area’s demographics to see whether there were enough people in the right age, income range and interest level to support their hypothetical retail business.

Using the database Reference USA, they studied the proposed site for the existence and profile of potential competitors. The database provided such detail that they could determine just how strong the competition would be, too.   

The students then applied the data to a real-life challenge, Pettijohn said. They used the databases to research companies where they had job interviews, and came armed with detailed information and questions about that company’s competitors. They sounded sharp, prepared, “…And hopefully employable,” Pettijohn said.

The person who makes these useful databases available and understandable to the rest of us is business librarian Mike DePue, who retires May 31 after serving library patrons since 1981. He helped build the vast business materials and online collection over the years, and taught many how to use them to their advantage. (Get there from, click “Research” in the header, then “Business.")

It is Mike’s smiling, bearded mug looking out from the library’s Web site business page, asking, “Got a business question? Get reliable, knowledgeable answers from Mike Depue, the Library’s business expert.” Until May 31, Mike’s still the expert and you can still ask him a question online, or by calling 883-5310, est. 135. Don’t worry, you won’t be the only person scurrying to soak up his expertise before he leaves.


Kathleen O'Dell is community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She can be reached at

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