Thursday, June 04, 2009

KC Public Library Announces Grand Opening of H&R Block Business & Career Center

As a business librarian, this story intrigu-ed me.

(Kansas City, Missouri) - A new resource for local entrepreneurs, small business owners, job seekers, non-profit managers, and adults and youth who wish to improve their financial literacy will soon become available at the Kansas City Public Library. On Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 6:30 p.m., the H&R Block Business & Career Center opens at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. The new, 2,800 square-foot space is funded by a $600,000 grant from H&R Block and the H&R Block Foundation.

The grand opening of the H&R Block Business & Career Center will begin with A Conversation with Henry Bloch, co-founder of H&R Block, conducted by Crosby Kemper III, director of the Library. Bloch will discuss how the entrepreneurial start-up he and his brother Richard founded in Kansas City in 1955 grew to become the world's largest tax services company, a publicly-traded corporation that in 2008 served 23.5 million clients at more than 13,000 U.S. retail offices and through its digital tax solutions.

Admission to the grand opening event is free. Call 816.701.3407 to indicate your interest in attending or you may RSVP online . A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event, followed by the ribbon cutting and dessert. Free parking is available in the Library District Parking Garage at 10th and Baltimore.

"The H&R Block Business & Career Center became a reality with the generous support of H&R Block and the H&R Block Foundation," said Kemper. "It's the first step for many of our customers-the first step to a new business, job, career, non-profit, or another step in lifelong learning. In the present economic environment, we've seen an increase in demand for these resources, and now we have dedicated staff and space."

Staffed by business librarians, the H&R Block Business & Career Center offers proprietary research databases which are unavailable without a subscription. These include Reference USA, a resource for investigating suppliers, competitors, and markets; Business Source Premier, which provides up-to-date information on the financial health of specific industries, changes in technology, and consumer trends; and the Business and Company Resource Center, which offers profiles, statistics, and articles about industries and companies.

For job seekers and people who are exploring new careers, the Vault Online Career Library contains videos on specific occupations; information on education, training, and required certifications; and tips for résumés and interviews. Visitors can also access Learning Express which provides practice sessions for standardized tests, such as the General Equivalency Diploma (GED), Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), and Law School Admission Test (LSAT), civil service exams, the U.S. citizenship test, and occupational licenses, including practice tests for nurses and paramedics.

For investors, Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage checks S&P ratings; gives weekly stock "picks and pans," provides access to corporate annual reports and other company data; and offers the Stock Screener to identify the right investments for individual financial planning strategies. For additional independent analysis, the weekly print publication Value Line covers 3500 stocks and 1900 mutual funds on a quarterly basis.

The H&R Block Business & Career Center also houses the "Cooperating Collection" of the Foundation Center, a grants-research organization based in New York, which provides access to the Foundation Directory Online, Foundation Grants to Individuals Online, and directories and publications for grant research.

The new services complement the Library's popular free classes in computer software applications, Internet basics, online job searches, GED completion, and résumé writing. For individualized help, customers may call for a consultation with a business librarian to receive assistance in using Library resources and, if needed, referrals to local agencies for more training or specialized information.

For customers who prefer to conduct their own research, computers and laptops are available exclusively for Library patrons who are investigating businesses, industries, careers, non-profits, and finances. The H&R Block Business & Career Center also has a comprehensive collection of top business books-including FORTUNE's 75 best business books-and a Newspaper Nook with access to nearly 1,000 national and foreign newspapers. Three wall-mounted monitors will display Bloomberg, MSNBC, and the Fox Business Network.

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