Your library might hesitate to offer financial literacy programming because of concerns about giving financial advice or setting up an opportunity for uncomfortable money questions. These concerns might be hard to navigate at first, but if the entire library staff is appropriately trained on handling financial literacy-related questions, you can mitigate these issues.
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May is Older Americans Month, first proclaimed by Gerald Ford in 1976. The past year has been challenging for all Americans, but the consequences of the pandemic fell heavily on older Americans and their families and caregivers. A unique challenge that many older Americans face is money management.
I have a confession: I’m an accidental business librarian. My background is in art history, but like many public librarians, I was placed in a department that needed staff, and that department was business services. I grew to love business reference and helping entrepreneurs with business planning and research. I even got the opportunity to create and grow the Business Resource and Innovation Center (BRIC) at the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Michigan State University's Gast Business Library partners with the College of Social Science’s Go for the Green financial literacy team to cosponsor MSU’s participation in Money Smart Week, a national program sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. As part of this weeklong event, the Go for the Green team hires a financial literacy-focused author to come to campus and speak with students about managing their money.
As the holidays approach, people might feel overwhelmed by the expectation of purchasing gifts for friends and family. This can be a great opportunity for your library to provide a program or highlight resources on frugal gift-giving and provide some budgeting education, too. Frugal doesn’t have to mean shabby, but can instead be heartfelt and useful.