Business Services Librarian & Coordinator, Community Partnerships, Burlington County Library System, Westampton, NJ
MSIS, Drexel University, Philadelphia, 1980
Photo by Maryanne Corsini, Burlington Cty. Library
Start ’em Up
At Burlington County Library System (BCLS), Joan Divor is leading the charge on small business education and promoting entrepreneurship. “Joan is tireless in her efforts to bring relevant and substantial content to small businesses in the area,” says Michelle Martin, BCLS community engagement manager. She’s also unflagging in her promotion of libraries (and their resources) as central to the success of business communities and economic growth, according to Martin.
One of her achievements is the development and execution of the Lean Venture series, a 15-week course on the lean start-up method. With colleague Barbara Witkowski, Divor traveled to Arizona State University to learn Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Design, which informed and inspired the course, launched in 2016. Divor convinced one of the founders of Startup Storyslam to bring his unique perspective to the kickoff event.
“The [Lean Venture] class built a strong entrepreneurial community that meets at the library for mutual support,” says Martin. “Joan continues to communicate regularly with more than 360 members of the Venture Hub BCLS meet-up page.”
Divor has forged partnerships with numerous outside groups to complement Lean Venture. She says, “I get energized when I see a group of businesspeople…engaging each other, inspiring each other, and helping each other. We [libraries] create synergies.”