I mentioned in a post a couple of weeks ago about the undiscovered mine of FREE information that is your local Central Library’s Business/Information centre.
Since in Freelance Land I don’t have the luxury of access to desk research resources like Mintel and back issues of the trade press I’ve really rediscovered the library and am becoming quite evangelical about it.
Not only does Leeds Central Library boast super-helpful library staff who will happily log you onto a database and dig out back issues for you, but seeing as they are, y’know, librarians they’re also really good at desk research and come up with places to search you would never have thought of. As a bonus libraries tend to be shhhh-mobiles-phones-off kind of places where you can actually work without distractions, in contrast to the usual agency open plan office.
Last week I was working at an agency in the city centre and almost as soon as I was briefed I announced that I was off to the library. Cue some very confused faces. When I came back with insight from two Mintel reports and loads of back issues of The Grocer the penny seemed to drop. In fact the account handlers were queuing up to find out a) where the library was (!) and b) what it had that might be useful for them. This was a new-ish agency without any in-house information provision so the idea of all this insight a brisk ten minute walk away was really appealing to them.
Sadly, the one thing the library system doesn’t seem to have access to is TGI. I know I’ve slagged it off recently as being rather out of date by the time the data is released, but now I haven’t got access for the first time in eight years I’m really missing being able to sense check and/or post rationalise stuff with it. On the off chance anyone from KantarMedia is reading this and needs someone to trial a back to basics freelancer version of TGI…