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financial literacy

Making Money Smart Students

Piggy bank

Money Smart Week, which will be celebrated this year starting on April 21, is a national initiative of ALA and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to provide financial literacy programming to help members of your community better manage their personal finances.

But teaching financial literacy does not have to happen only during April. Here are a few ideas to help promote financial literacy and make money smart students any time of year. 

College & Me

Students taking notes in class

College & Me is a multi-series offering — provided in partnership with the local Utah State University Extension office — that provides a comprehensive view of how individuals can prepare to attend college. Open to teens and adults, the class covers basic steps to searching for scholarships and financial aid, along with some application tips and FAFSA best practices.

Fiscally Fit Bootcamp

Illustration of piggy bank running on a treadmill with coins coming out of its back.

In partnership with the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Central Oklahoma (CCCS), Pioneer Library System (PLS) staff presented numerous six-week Fiscally Fit Bootcamps to library staff and vital community partners such as municipal employees, tribal groups, local utility workers and technology centers in all 12 library communities.

Be a Master Money Builder!

Photograph of child putting coins into three jars. Jars are labeled: Savings, Toys, Education

Money Builders is a one-day camp with a Lego theme. At our library, this program was created for the children of refugees, although it could be a great program for any child.

Through games and discussion, children learn about needs versus wants, the importance of saving, why using banks is important, and what things cost. Participants were given Money Builders t-shirts, a Lego key chain, a savings jar, and lunch. At the conclusion of the camp, they watched The Lego Movie.

Money Madness Teen Lock-in

Image of yellow lock with black money symbol. Text reads: "Money Madness Teen Lock-in"

"Money Madness Teen Lock-in" took place at The Florence County Library System in 2012 and remains the largest number of teens ever recorded for an event at the library.

A teen lock-in gets its name from the fact that it takes place after hours when the library is closed (locked) to the public. Food, games, and prizes were used to entertain and educate 189 teens in financial literacy. 

Where Do We Go from Here? Financial Literacy Programming in the 'New Normal'

Illustration of an open book with a calculator, pink piggy bank, charts and gold coins.

A year and a half into the pandemic, I’m contemplating a fall semester that might be more like fall 2019 than fall 2020, though the COVID-19 delta variant continues to loom like a specter over my financial literacy programming plans.

Through it all, I’m mostly thinking about what to keep from a fully remote year and how to most effectively prepare for a potential pivot back to remote delivery or other unexpected changes.

Information, Not Advice: How to Handle User’s Financial Literacy Questions

Photo of cash with a yellow question mark on top.

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.

Tax Day 101: Resources for Fielding Questions from Entrepreneurs

Illustration of person opening up their small business holding cash.

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.

Top Tips for Hiring Financial Literacy Speakers & Authors

Illustration of people on laptops and money symbols on screen.

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.

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