Financial Planning @ your library


According to a recent poll by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, saving money was the third most popular New Year’s resolution. Libraries are trying to make this goal easier to reach.

With the assistance of grants, the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country are helping library users pinch a few extra pennies this year.

As of December 2010, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the ALA, have awarded libraries across the country with $4.7 million in grants through the “Smart investing @ your library” program. The program is designed to improve access to unbiased financial education resources and learning opportunities.

One “Smart investing @ your library” grant recipient, the Loveland (Colo.) Public Library, will host two all-day personal finance and investing programs later this month. Both programs will focus on teaching the public about the basics of these two important topics in financial literacy.

The Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library, another “Smart investing @ your library” grantee, launched a series of financial planning programs in December. In partnership with several non-profit groups focused on financial education, the library offers “Growing Dollars and $ense” workshops. Workshops for adults and teens include banking basics, banking and investment instruments, how to select the optimal investments and one-on-one counseling sessions.

Also starting the new year off right, the Richmond (Va.) Public Library and the Virginia Credit Union will launch “Money Talks @ your library” this month. The program will offer a series of 18 seminars at the library’s nine branch locations from now through November. Seminars will be lead by Virginia Credit Union staff and will discuss topics like eliminating debt, understanding credit scores, how to protect against identity theft and managing personal financial records. For younger library users looking to get an early start on saving, the main library will offer a week long money camp for teens in July.

Editor’s note: Although the most recent round of grants have been awarded, the “Smart investing @ your library” website remains a valuable resource for planning your financial programs—it includes downloadable tools, multimedia, and lessons learned from other libraries. And don’t forget it’s Financial Wellness Month!