Libraries showcase free financial resources

Steve Zalusky
Manager of Communications
szalusky@ala.org

CHICAGO — Libraries from Maine to Hawaii will offer activities that will teach members of their communities how to hone their financial decision-making skills during “Money Smart Week @ your library,” April 18 – 25. More than 3,500 free Money Smart Week events will take place throughout the country on topics ranging from saving for college and managing student loan debt to budgeting and retirement. 

No longer just a place for books, libraries offer a variety of resources in partnership with community groups, financial institutions, government agencies, educational organizations and other financial experts to help consumers learn to better manage their personal finances. General topic areas include “Kids and Money,” “Personal Finance/Budgeting 101,” “Credit and Debt Management,” “Housing/Mortgages” and Retirement Planning.”

"Providing financial literacy resources is one of the many ways that libraries are engaging with their patrons and local organizations," said American Library Association (ALA) President Courtney Young. " Money Smart Week is an opportunity for libraries to showcase free, unbiased information on a wide range of financial issues - from something as simple as basic budgeting in the home to the critical decisions about student financing, home purchasing and retirement planning. "

Libraries will present programs for all ages, and all stages of life, related to personal financial literacy.  For example the Detroit Public Library will offer story times featuring “The Berenstain Bears’ Dollars and Sense,” as well as information about how kids can save for the future.  More than 200 libraries in 50 counties will offer Money Smart Kids Read story times, where 6,500 Dollars and $ense books will be given away to families.

Among the Seattle Public Library’s Money Smart Week events is Shred day @ your library. Patrons were encouraged to bring their old financial documents to a public shred event at the library and have them shredded on the spot. Aside from the practical value of disposing of old bank statements, bills and credit card statements, the event underscored the importance of protecting oneself from identity theft.

“The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is proud to partner with the American Library Association to feature and promote financial education events during Money Smart Week. As respected community builders and centers of learning, libraries are uniquely qualified to serve as host sites and hubs of activity for thousands of money related classes offered across the country.” said Alejo Torres, senior outreach program manager, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Launched in 2002 by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Money Smart Week began as a one-city program in Chicago and has grown to 49 states, with more than 3,500 events and 250,000 participants annually. The event is a partnership initiative between the American Library Association and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to expand Money Smart Week® to libraries across the country.

For more information on Money Smart Week @ your library programs in your area, visit http://www.moneysmartweek.org/findevents.

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