Americans turn to libraries for personal finance help in tough economic times

Contact: Jennifer Petersen
ALA PR Coordinator
312-280-5043
jpetersen@ala.org

NEWS              
For Immediate Release
February 24, 2009                                                                      

CHICAGO - The efforts libraries make to help patrons obtain accurate financial information will be highlighted on CNN Money, Saturday, Feb. 28 at 9:30 a.m. EST.  ALA President Jim Rettig will appear in the story.  A longer Web video version of the story as well as a CNN Web article will be posted following the broadcast.

Libraries report that they are providing accurate financial information to consumers all over the country.  For example, “Smart Investing @ your library” ( http://www.smartinvestingatyourlibrary.info/) has given away more than $1.7 million to help fund libraries’ efforts to provide library patrons with effective, unbiased financial education resources and empower library patrons to make smart financial decisions for both long-term investing and day-to-day money matters. FINRA Investor Education Foundation sponsors the initiative, which is administered by The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association.

New York Public Library is an example of a library holding such programs as “Mutual Funds for Beginners” and “Understanding the Foreclosure” and offering resume writing and real estate classes, career counseling sessions and lectures from guest speakers on how to create and implement business plans.

ALA’s Public Information Office has helped place this and many other stories about the surge in library visits during tough economic times. Other stories have been run recently include NBC Nightly News, Washington Post, Parade Magazine, The New York Times blog Freakonomics, CBS Evening News on Dec. 31 and Feb. 2, CNN as it appeared on Los Angeles’s KCAL-TV and an op-ed in the Huffington Post.

The ALA Public Information Office also has developed tools to help librarians publicize the surge in visits in their communities. Press releases, talking points and an FAQ can be found in the “Advocating in a Tough Economy Toolkit” at http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/advocacy/advocacyuniversity/toolkit/index.cfm