BIPC Glasgow Blog

Business Librarian's Blog


Business Librarian's Blog


Our Business Librarian Karyn explores the mysteries of Intellectual Property and why it might be more important to your fledgling business than you realise.

The Mysterious World of IP

3rd June 2022


Recently I attended a virtual IP Masterclass, provided by the Intellectual Property Office based in Newport. I’ve learned about the importance of protecting ideas and all the intricacies of CopyrightPatentsTrademarks and Design Protection.

For many people the notion of protecting their IP is not at the forefront of their mind when taking the first steps in building their business. Indeed, in some cases it might not even occur until you find out that someone has ripped off your ideas and there’s very little you can do.

The fascinating story of Monopoly’s beginnings as The Landlord’s Game is a great example of someone’s idea – in this case feminist and social activist Lizzie Magie – becoming a successful product without them being properly credited or rewarded. In Lizzie’s case she was only given a one off fee of $500. To add insult to injury, she had intended the game to show players how unfair the American economic system was at the time of the Great Depression!



You might not have come up with a boardgame, but if you’re starting up your own business, you might assume that protecting your IP is too expensive or too complicated, but that’s where Glasgow BIPC come in. We can help you gain the knowledge and access the support you need to make sure you know how to

• identify your IP
• protect your IP
• avoid infringing on other people’s IP



At the BIPC we have

• Experts in Residence, including an IP Attorney
• eResources where you can find everything from a COBRA overview of IP to Access to Research academic papers
• Workshops, events, webinars and 1:1s clinics
• eBooks
• eMagazines

Don’t forget there are books available in your local library too.

We can help guide you to the resources you need which you can then access for yourselves at home. All you need is to be a member of Glasgow Libraries. We also have a business enquiry service which can signpost you to what you need when you need it so don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team by emailing It doesn’t matter what stage you are at – we can help.

After my intensive training I have a much better understanding of how the BIPC can help you to navigate the waters of Intellectual Property and I look forward to meeting some of you who might just be starting along that journey very soon.


Karyn Don is Business Librarian at BIPC Glasgow



This week we hear from Information Officer Kavan Stafford on his return to his BIPC role and the Business 1:1s available.

1-1 Offer and Why It’s Good To Be Back

20th May 2022


The first of June 2021 was a sad day for me and (dare I say it) the rest of the BIPC team. After almost two years of working in the department, I returned to my old job as a Glasgow Life Assistant in the Mitchell Library. It was sad to leave but the good news is that it wasn’t for long. In January 2022 I returned to the department along with new staff members Savannah and Karyn and, I have to say, it’s good to be back.

A lot has changed since I left. We have brand new resources, Local Data Online and Mintel, and brand new workshops like Environmental Responsibility For Business Start-Ups as well as a brand new hybrid offer of in person and remote workshops, webinars and one to ones.

Of course, much has remained the same as well. We still offer the same great service to people starting up businesses in the Glasgow area and still seek to give as much free access as we can to resources like FAME and COBRA.

One of the things I have always enjoyed the most about my role as a BIPC Information Officer are 1-1’s. It’s great to meet a new person and to show them all the resources the library has available to help them make the best start they can in their business journey.



What I found out when I returned to my role is that even our 1-1’s have changed since I’ve been away! While we still offer the same great service as before where you can book 1-1’s with our staff by coming into the Mitchell, by emailing or by calling, we now have a new way you can book to speak to us about your business.

Every month we offer three 1-1 Business Information and IP Support sessions so that you can book well in advance for the business support you need. The sessions are absolutely free and you can book them via our Eventbrite page.

It is very good indeed to be back in the BIPC and I hope you all will take the opportunity of the 1-1 sessions to come and speak to me about your businesses so I can tell you how BIPC can help you make your business dreams a reality.


BIPC Glasgow can be contacted by email at and by telephone at 0141 287 2904. All of our upcoming events including our 1-1 Business Support Clinics can be booked on our Eventbrite page.


Kavan Stafford is Information Officer at BIPC Glasgow



This week we hear from Information Officer Alistair McCafferty-Bain on the important subject of cake, and the advantages of networking, sharing ideas and making connections.

Everything starts with CAKE!

6th May 2022


Imagine a cake day, dedicated to all things sweet and baked. Doesn’t it sound amazing? Well recently I had the chance to go down to London to take part in CAKE day. At this point I should say that in this instance CAKE stands for Collaboration and Knowledge Exchange. Luckily for me I was treated to actual cake on CAKE day so I didn’t leave disappointed. Attending CAKE day is an important part of being a member of the British Library Business & IP Centre network. I really enjoyed meeting everyone who up until this point I’d only met on a small fuzzy screen on my laptop, sharing ideas and information with other centres across the UK to reflect and build upon good practice.


British Library piazza with added cake!

Networking in action

During the visit Foluke Akinlose, founder of Precious, talked about the challenges and opportunities faced by women of colour in business. Her work champions the professional achievements of women of colour through an online magazine, awards, and networking events. She spoke about meeting one person from Santander at an event and helping to create a report which has changed the way they deliver business support programmes. As a result Santander now offers outreach to help build trust with this community, promotes diverse role models in their case studies and mentoring programmes, and trains colleagues to tackle unconscious bias. What struck me was by going out there and meeting one person she’s changed attitudes of a huge international company. That’s some impressive networking!



The Knowledge centre at the British Library – can you spot the cake?

Making connections

What CAKE day and Foluke showed me was the importance of taking time to make these connections, especially when starting a business. Building relationships with other likeminded people is an important part of every entrepreneur’s personal development. It builds soft skills such as listening, selling your personal brand, and giving help as well as receiving it. It offers an opportunity to meet potential clients, suppliers and business partners which can all help when starting up. Our eResource COBRA has a handy factsheet covering the topic (BIF121 Business Networking) which highlights some benefits:

• Share or learn about new ideas

• Find out what your competitors are up to

• Gather general or specific industry information

• Get help with problems from people with appropriate knowledge and experience

• Keep up to date with new industry developments, regulations and policies

• Form relationships with potential partners

It’s not always easy to put yourself out there, but with all those potential benefits it really is a great skill to develop.


Finding local networks

There are lots of people out there like Foluke who have created networks that you can join to get yourself started. Here are some examples of local business networking organisations:

• Glasgow Chamber of Commerce

• The Federation of Small Businesses

• Business Network Scotland

• Creative Entrepreneurs Club

• Scottish Women in Business

• Glasgow Social Enterprise Network


• Meetup Glasgow

You’ll also find sector specific networks which trade associations and professional bodies can usually provide details for. There are also a number of free online networks such as LinkedIn.

Your next networking steps

I would recommend taking a look at COBRA for more information on this topic. Remember you can access COBRA for free remotely via our eResources with a Glasgow Library membership so it couldn’t be easier. And one last tip from BIPC Glasgow before you head off in the business networking world – bring cake and you’ll be friends with everyone in no time. Good luck!


Alistair McCafferty-Bain is Information Officer at BIPC Glasgow



Welcoming another new member of the Business team, today we hear from Information Officer, Savannah McKibbin, and her favourite resource.


22nd April 2022


Starting a new job is never easy. When it came to deciding to apply for the Information Officer post, I had a passing knowledge of the department but would never have considered myself an expert on the subject. However, I am never one to let that stop me. In preparation for the interview I did as much research I could on the resources and services offered by the department. This gave me a firm base on which to start my new career in the Business department. Through my research I found out about the many Experts in Residence that the BIPC have as well as the volume of information that is available through the various databases.

There are many challenges that one can face as an Information Officer that can seem daunting at first and only through practice and perseverance does it get any easier. I have found relying on the knowledge of my colleagues to be the single biggest help in acclimatising to this new role. I imagine there are many parallels when it comes to starting a business, it can seem overwhelming when you have an idea and you just aren’t sure where to start. It is important to just take it one step at a time.



A good starting point that I find rather helpful is the Complete Business Reference Advisor or COBRA for short. In this resource you will find factsheets galore covering a range of topics from the basics of how to write a business plan to more in-depth topics such as the legal requirements you may have to consider in your field of business. I used this resource on a daily basis when I first started out in my role, and it still continues to be my go to if I am unsure of a particular answer. The beauty of this resource is that you can use it from the comfort of your own home and all you need is your library card! It is arguably the most comprehensive and accessible resource that we offer and can help you at all stages in your Business journey.

I am looking forward to working with the people of Glasgow, and helping them fulfil their dreams of starting their own business!


Savannah McKibbin is Information Officer at BIPC Glasgow



To start off our new series of blogs we welcome Karyn Don, our new Business Librarian, who tells us about settling in to her new role.

New Beginnings

8th April 2022


After nearly 30 years spent working in school libraries, I recently made the move to public libraries to take up the post of Business Librarian with Glasgow Life, based in the historic Mitchell Library. I have joined the BIPC team at the perfect time as COVID restrictions are phased out and face to face business support is fully re-established, along with the webinars and online workshops which have become the norm over the past couple of years. I’m very lucky to be working with people who are generous with their time and happy to support me get up to speed in the world of Business and IP - and to find my way around the labyrinthic stacks behind the scenes of the Mitchell! Our office is continually buzzing with questions (mostly from me I have to say), ideas and energy.

It feels like we’re living through a hinge in history and it’s exciting to think we can play a part in helping people take that fledgling idea they might’ve had during lockdown and to help make it a reality. Part of my job is to take our business offer out to new audiences and I am looking forward to meeting people who might not know what we can offer them, and to highlight the wide variety of resources and expertise available at the BIPC for free. Librarianship is often perceived as being about curating information, but I’ve always thought of it as being about building relationships and helping people to access and use the information they need, when they need it.



I look forward to becoming an experienced user of all the online resources we have available at the BIPC. So far COBRA has proved to be the most useful for me as it holds just about every piece of information you might need if you are interested in setting up as a Chocolatier, a Private Detective, or would like to establish a B&B for Horses (honest). I must admit to having a soft spot for FAME which can be used to research the market and create marketing lists too – helped by the fact that every time someone mentions it, I am immediately back in the 80s with ‘I’m going to live forever, I’m going to learn how to fly’ echoing in my head.

My favourite part of the job so far has been the variety – truly no two days are the same with so many new opportunities opening up already, only weeks into the job. I have really enjoyed meeting new and established businesses who are making use of the service now, or who have done so in the past. Watching the journey of a business from initial idea to being an established and successful company, confident that they have all the information they need to progress is going to be extremely rewarding and I can’t wait to see it for myself.

Now, where are those legwarmers?


Karyn Don is Business Librarian at BIPC Glasgow


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