Small Business Video Tutorials

If you’re a small business owner, you know the East Baton Rouge Parish Library is the place to go. (Did you not know that? Ooh, awkward! Now you do!) But did you know that we now have video tutorials you can use to refresh your memory after your one-on-one consultation with one of our small business staff? The first two – a general overview of our digital platforms, and an in-depth look at Gale Business: Plan Builder – are available now!

These are great resources to help you keep momentum on developing your small business.

Louisiana Author Project – applications open April 1!

East Baton Rouge Parish Library is pleased to join in the announcement of a local author contest that will accept submissions of adult and young adult fiction, to be recognized as the top indie-published eBooks in Louisiana. The application will open on Thursday, April 1st.

Winners in each category will receive $500 as well as:

  • Inclusion in Indie Louisiana, a digital collection of local authors on BiblioBoard Library
  • Honors at the 2021 spring IAP Reception
  • Opportunities to promote the winning title at Louisiana public libraries
  • Inclusion in a full page spread in Library Journal, one of America’s oldest and most renowned trade publications for library news
  • Opportunities to earn royalties through the IAP Select collection

For indie-published authors, the contest is a fantastic prospect to elevate their careers and expand their readership. Along with the accolade of the award and its perks, being recognized by librarians creates credibility and visibility in the growing marketplace of digital content and indie-published books. Winning authors will reach hundreds if not thousands of new readers via the library, and can also leverage being an award-winning indie author for additional marketing opportunities.

EBRPL is excited for this opportunity to connect with local indie authors and support them with digital resources on self-publishing, marketing, and more.

Each book that is submitted to the contest must be:

  • Independently-published
  • In the category of adult or young adult fiction
  • Written by a Louisiana resident
  • Available in either PDF or ePUB format

The contest will accept submissions April 1, 2020 through May 31, 2020. Authors can submit at indieauthorproject.librariesshare.com/Louisiana.

LPB Documentary Preview: Coded Bias

Louisiana Public Broadcasting presents a virtual preview screening of Coded Bias on Monday, March 15 at 6PM. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Shalini Kantayya, Coded Bias, from Independent Lens PBS, follows MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini, along with data scientists, mathematicians and watchdog groups from different parts of the world, as they fight to expose the discrimination within the facial recognition algorithms now prevalent across all spheres of daily life. Buolamwini’s startling discovery that the algorithm for facial recognition technology could not detect dark-skinned faces or women with accuracy led to her realization that the very machines learning algorithms intended to avoid prejudice are only as unbiased as the humans and historical data programming them.

The film explores an increasingly data-driven, automated world, where the question of how to protect individuals’ civil liberties in the face of artificial intelligence looms larger by the day. Praised as “cleareyed” by The New York Times and “a chilling plunge into Orwellian reality” by The Hollywood Reporter, Coded Bias illustrates the profound ways in which algorithms have come to shape people’s lives, with very little oversight from public and elected officials,” said Kantayya. “It’s my hope that the film pushes audiences toward a greater awareness about how these disruptive technologies impact issues of equality and equity and that it in turn encourages more people to speak up and hold the companies behind them accountable.”

Following LPB’s virtual preview screening of Coded Bias, hear from expert panelists who discuss the film and the implications of facial recognition technology. The conversation will be moderated by Dr. Robyn Merrick, Vice President of External Affairs for the Southern University System. Panelists for the virtual event include Angela A. Allen-Bell, Associate Professor, B. K. Agnihotri Endowed Professor, Southern University Law Center; Kelly G. Carmena, Criminal Clinic Supervising Attorney, Southern University Law Center; and Alanah Odoms, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana.

For details and to register for this free screening event, go to www.lpb.org/codedbiasThe documentary will make its broadcast premier on LPB on March 22nd at 7pm.

South Branch Open House Charrette

The Library invites the community to give their design input for the upcoming South Branch Library that will be located on Glasgow Avenue at Rouzan, off of Perkins Road. Come to the Open House Charrette at the Bluebonnet Regional Branch from 3:30 until 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 10. For more information, call (225) 231-3750.

What is a charrette? A charrette is a planning meeting that allows all stakeholders – in this case, Baton Rougeans, library administration, and the new branch’s design team – to work collaboratively on a project. This is an opportunity for you to suggest what you’d like to see as part of the new branch and comment on any existing designs.

One Book, One Community: The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom

Join us this spring as we celebrate The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom, a National Book Award-winning memoir named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by the New York Times. For a complete season schedule, visit the InfoGuide at ReadOneBook.org. To register for any OBOC program, go to the Events Calendar at ebrpl.com. Check out what’s coming up:

■ Place: How Historic Resources Define Significance in Our Cultures
12 p.m. Thursday, March 11, Virtual
■ Introduction to Ancestry.com Library Edition
6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 16, Main Library at Goodwood & Virtual
■ Resources for African-American Genealogy
10 a.m. Saturday, March 27, Main Library at Goodwood & Virtual
■ From Home Maker to Culture Shaper: Black Women’s Creative Legacy with Dr. Sharbreon Plummer
2 p.m. Saturday, March 20, Main Library at Goodwood & Virtual
■ DIY Oral History Workshop
3 p.m. Sunday, April 11, Main Library at Goodwood
■ Certified Homebuyer Education Courses with the Louisiana Housing Corporation
March & April. Visit www.lhc.la.gov/events for more information.
■ Author Event with Sarah M. Broom & Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
Time TBA Saturday, May 15, Main Library at Goodwood

■ Book Discussions of The Yellow House, unless otherwise noted:
• 1 p.m. Monday, March 15, Fairwood Branch, Virtual
• 11 a.m. Friday, March 19, Zachary Branch
• 3 p.m. Sunday, March 21, Main Library at Goodwood
• 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch, Virtual
• 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 29, Carver Branch, Virtual
• 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 6, Carver Branch (The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton)
• 12 p.m. Friday, April 16, with Dr. Robyn Merrick, Virtual

■ Grab & Geaux Craft Programs
• Yellow House Art Canvas Miniatures, all month long,
Pride-Chaneyville Branch
• Interactive Display, all month long, Scotlandville Branch
• Paper Rocket, Monday, March 1, Fairwood Branch
• Louisiana String Art, March 1,
Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch
• Family Map, March 8-14, Jones Creek Regional Branch
• Photo Coaster, 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 10,
Eden Park Branch
• Fleur de Lis Art, Tuesday, March 16, Fairwood Branch

Louisiana Disaster Preliminary Damage Self-Report

Was your home damaged by last week’s winter storm? The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness may be able to help. This short online survey allows you to report any and all affects the winter storm may have had on your home. Everything counts, whether you lost a few shingles, had a cracked water pipe in your ceiling, or completely lost your house. You can also report experiences with water, power, or gas failure; damage to appliances from power surges or burst pipes; and emergency supplies, like water, infant formula, and generators, that you bought to make up for a lack of utilities. The survey does not guarantee disaster aid, but it is the first step in the recovery process.

Mid City Micro-Con Presents: Milton Davis

Looking for more opportunities to celebrate inclusive and diverse comics this year? Look no further than your local library! The Mid City Micro-Con crew will be highlighting comics, topics, and creators throughout 2021, leading up to the big event this summer…
Join us as we chat virtually with Atlanta-based indie author and publisher Milton Davis at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, February 27. Author of Amber and the Enchanted Sword, Milton Davis owns MVmedia, a publishing company that provides exciting science fiction and fantasy stories based on African/African Diaspora culture, history, and tradition. He’s also one of the hand-picked authors who contributed to this year’s new Marvel anthology, Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda, featuring original stories by authors from across the African Diaspora. To explore more of his work, visit mvmediaatl.com.
Register for this FREE virtual event on this webpage or call 225-231-3750 for assistance.
Missed out on the 2020 Mid City Micro-Con? View the recordings and more at EBRPL.com/MCMC

Business Person of the Month: Chef Amanda Schonberg

Chef Amanda Schonberg, Chef Schonberg’s Sweets
Email: info@chefschonberg.com
Phone: (225) 590-0364
Facebook: Chef Schonberg’s Sweets

 

When I sat down (over Zoom) to talk to Chef Amanda Schonberg at about 2:00 P.M., she was preparing for an evening class with her Baking for Business students. She’d already finished all of her baking for Chef Schonberg’s Sweets – her main cottage business – as well as cleaned the house, eaten, and found the time to read for an hour. After we’d met, and after she’d taught her virtual class, she was planning to do paperwork for her bakery clients, follow up on orders, have dinner, and relax with her husband for an hour before bed. When I asked how she’d been able to cram so much into her day, she replied, “I’m a big fan of time-blocking” – the practice of focusing on one activity for an extended length of time, rather than bouncing between tasks as they require – “it’s all about balance and block scheduling.”

Chef Schonberg wasn’t always a chef, of course. When she was young, she helped her aunts and mom cook – her mother’s famous dish was a pound cake imbued with a liqueur like Disarrono – but she originally went to school for medical coding. She realized fairly quickly that wasn’t for her, though, and went to culinary school instead. Afterward, she decided to make alcohol-infused cakes her unique selling proposition, and Chef Schonberg’s Sweets was born as a cottage bakery. She became quickly successful – “I baked cakes for some celebrities, Food Network stars, musicians, authors,” she told me – and other chefs started noticing. “People were like, ‘Well if you can do it, I can do it too, will you help me?’ And it’s not like I don’t mind helping for free!” she laughed. “But when I noticed it picking up, I realized that this in itself could be a business also,” so she started Baking for Business, a virtual learning platform to help other cottage bakers realize their potential.

Cottage bakeries are poised to become more profitable in the current economy, says Schonberg. During, the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s been able to stay open when so many other businesses have had to close. In fact, her business has doubled during lockdown, because she’s been able to “put on my gloves and my Lysol and have contact-free delivery.” And she thinks this is only the beginning. Although a sense of normalcy will eventually return, she thinks many of the changes in the past year will be permanent. “We’re going to look back when we’re 70, 80, and it’ll be like when people talk about the stock market crashing. I see this as being the big boom for online businesses, or businesses that offer delivery.” And in fact, evidence of the economy’s move to online shopping is evident even now. Chef Schonberg shared the news that Godiva, the famous chocolate brand, is closing all of their storefronts, which she says is going to increase the demand for cottage bakers.

However, when I asked if she’d ever thought about moving out of her house and into a storefront, her answer was an emphatic “No.” “I love baking from home,” she says, both for the tax and storefront savings, and because “for me personally, it’s more exclusive. People like knowing they’re getting something that’s personalized for them,” that was made by someone who they can see, even if socially-distanced.

Of course, because she doesn’t have a physical store for people to drive or walk by, marketing is all the more important. Chef Schonberg is a maven at marketing, which she attributes to her previous experience managing retail bakeries, as well as a lot of reading from the library, which she makes sure to tell her students. “I was just telling them about the library last night,” in a class called “Idea to Income” – “Y’all have so many great resources, from SCORE, to SBA, even validating recipes.” She also told me that she gets all of her marketing books from the library’s shelves, and encourages her students to make its use.

She also stressed the importance of community: a mantra of hers is “serve the same area that you sell.” She’s a member of the Mid-City Makers’ Market and Partners One, which facilitates local bartering, which Schonberg regularly takes advantage of. “Last week, I locked my keys in the car. And I called the mechanic, didn’t have to pay for it because I used trade, and he said, ‘Hey, don’t worry about it, but for Valentine’s Day, I need a cake for my wife and my mother-in-law.’ And I said, “Deal!’” She credits her flexibility as a cottage business and the vibrancy of the Baton Rouge small business community for those smaller successes.

As our interview came to a close, I asked her what advice she’d give to a budding entrepreneur. She had two: “Use all the resources that are readily available,” whether that be the library, other entrepreneurs, or your community, and “begin with the end in mind.” She plans all of her moves, and that’s brought her success.

Article by Case Duckworth