This program was offered as part of Thinking Money exhibit , a traveling exhibit about financial literacy offered by the ALA Public Programs Office and the FINRA Foundation.
At this exhibit kick-off event, teens and tweens imagined their future selves in a poster-making art project. Students and their families visited the exhibit and participated in creative activities related to the themes of Imagining Your Future Self and Wants vs. Needs. Completed works were displayed around the library for the duration of the exhibition.
Other creative activities included making a duct-tape wallet and a haiku-writing station where participants could express their thoughts about money.
To launch the opening of the Thinking Money exhibit we wanted the community to have an early opportunity to see it and learn about the theme of financial literacy. About six months before the exhibit arrived, we began planning for all the programs we'd host. Our committee included managers and librarians at the North Courthouse Road Library (the exhibit location), including several who had contacts at the local high school and middle school.
We decided that 6 to 8 p.m. was a good time slot for both teens and adults and that a coffeehouse concept would be welcoming and casual. We made this event open to all, so there were adults there as well as teens and tweens, and their parents and grandparents.
Since it was a drop-in event people felt free to come and go. The art creations were for teens but all ages made duct tape wallets and wrote haikus about money.
Since Thinking Money was at our library in the fall we did most of our promotion after school started and most heavily in the two weeks before the event. Our partners, including the school system, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts , local churches and the Home Educators Association of Virginia , also promoted this event.
We used posters and bookmarks throughout the library system (10 branches). The event was also listed on the library's website  as well as on the library's Facebook page . When we reviewed the evaluations, we saw that some people found out about this program because they saw a flier or found it on our Facebook page.
Our budget for the kickoff included:
- $150 for an artist from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to lead the poster making session; she brought the supplies for the artwork
- $200 for food and drinks
- $50 for supplies (colored duct tape, paper and pens for the haiku station, and small prizes as giveaways for drawings at the event)
We used a catering service for the refreshments; this amount could be reduced by offering snacks instead of fruit and cheese trays. Some of our program speakers brought giveaways such as pens and stress balls; these could be used as small prizes for filling out evaluations.
We set up the room in zones: one with tables for refreshments; groups of chairs for people to sit; areas with tables and chairs for the art project, haiku station and duct tape wallet area.
We picked the food up three hours before the program and set it out 30 minutes in advance.
Three staff members were there at the beginning; by the end there were two, and they stayed after the event to clean up.
We had 62 people in attendance, evenly split between teens/tweens and adults. Since we opened this event up to all ages, there were some adults there without kids. However, the Envisioning Your Future Self poster-making project was limited to teens, and they enjoyed that very much. An artist from the Virginia Museum of Fine Art brought in museum posters from their previous exhibits, which the teens cut and pasted, and reassembled with a photo of themselves that we took at the event. The resulting masterpieces they created showed that they had thought about the future and what possibilities it holds for them. When they wrote about money using haiku it also revealed their attitude toward money.
For another activitiy, we had a staff member demonstrate how to make the duct tape wallets.
We asked people to fill out slips with their name and either their email or phone number, and we used these for prize drawings that were held every 30 minutes. We had prizes such as board games, coin banks, books and other financial-themed goodies.
We had evaluation forms (see Attachments at the right) and asked people to fill them out before they left. If they took them to the circulation desk they could pick a prize such as a pen, tote bag or stress ball. People liked the idea of getting a prize so many filled out the forms.
We encouraged people to visit the exhibit that same day or to come back again another day. We believe that our goal of introducing the exhibit to the public was met.
We are going to partner with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond for future programs for students at our library.
Get the word out to local schools, particularly to high school teachers that teach social sciences or economics. Some of them offered their students extra credit if they attended this program!
Our library assistants told people about this program as they checked out their books — people appreciated getting a personal invitation to the event.
About This Library
Chesterfield County Public Library has 10 locations across the county with 225,000 customers. Every day the library helps people transform information into usable knowledge. From small business and job search assistance to student support and preschool learning opportunities, we provide learning experiences through community engagement and a hands-on maker approach. We support learning through materials and access, but our future lies in creating and developing learning experiences.