Looking for promising leads

Libraries are the best source for printed material. Libraries include the public library, the college or university library and the specialist library. The public library is often a good starting point. Even in a small town, the public library may have commercial directories and other sources of data. Even better is the college, university or business school library, if there is one readily available - in the larger ones, online searches may be possible. In major cities, there is probably an excellent commercial library. The commercial library in a large city usually has not only good materials, but good general facilities as well.

An investigator will also want to see if there is a specialist library nearby. Typically found in industrial and commercial areas, these are usually privately maintained (by a business or an association) and carry considerable depth of material within some specialised topic, such as advertising or direct-mail selling. A good public library may give information on specialist libraries that may be prepared to make their services available.

When visiting a library you should arrive armed with a complete knowledge of the business problem. When talking with the library staff about the problem, it will soon become clear whether they know how to help. If the person at the desk cannot help, they will generally refer you to someone else. Your enquiry may also indicate that there are specialists in other library systems that can be of help.

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