ALA, FINRA Investor Education Foundation partner on Financial Literacy Research Project

For Immediate Release
Wed, 09/16/2015

Contact:

Jason Mulack

Digital Content Developer

Office for Research and Statistics (ORS)

1-800-545-2433 x4291

jmulack@ala.org

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) Office for Research and Statistics (ORS) announced today that it will collaborate with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation on a research project in which ALA will survey U.S. public libraries about their financial literacy resources, educational programming and expertise.

The study will yield a comprehensive and detailed picture of public libraries’ capacity to advance financial capability in the United States. It will examine: personal finance collections (size, age, usage and types); relevant staff skills and knowledge and the ability of staff to assist patrons with personal finance inquiries; and the types of financial capability programming offered to the public through libraries, including in-person programs, Web-based tutorials, one-on-one guidance and outreach services.

“Whether you are young or old, well-off or disadvantaged, financial literacy skills are an absolute necessity,” said ALA President Sari Feldman. “Public libraries play an important role in distributing information and resources to help Americans realize their financial goals, and ALA is excited to continue our partnership with the FINRA Foundation to help make that happen.”

FINRA Foundation President Gerri Walsh added, “This research will help define for the public the value of specialized information and expertise readily available to residents seeking to improve their financial capability and circumstances. We are hopeful that it will raise community awareness of the library as a cost-effective and unbiased service point for personal finance assistance. It will also enable public libraries to benchmark their resources and ensure that patrons are reliably and consistently well served.”

The research project is part of a three-year, $1.6 million initiative funded by the FINRA Foundation to support financial capability in and through U.S. public libraries. A partnership between ALA and the FINRA Foundation, the initiative — known as Smart investing@your library® — also supports the development of a multimedia exhibition on personal finance topics that will travel to public libraries nationwide. The project brings together several ALA offices and divisions, including the ALA Public Programs Office (PPO), ALA’s Development Office, the Public Library Association (PLA) and the ALA Office for Research and Statistics (ORS).

ALA and the FINRA Foundation have partnered since 2007 on Smart investing @ your library, a program that funds library efforts to provide patrons with effective, unbiased educational resources about personal finance and investing. Now in its eighth year, the program has awarded $12 million to public libraries, community college libraries, and library organizations nationwide.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 55,000 members in academic, public, school, government and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

About the FINRA Investor Education Foundation

The FINRA Investor Education Foundation supports innovative research and educational projects that give underserved Americans the knowledge, skills and tools necessary for financial success throughout life. For details about grant programs and other FINRA Foundation initiatives, please visit www.finrafoundation.org.

About FINRA

FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is the largest non-governmental regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation and complementary compliance and technology-based services. FINRA touches virtually every aspect of the securities business — from registering and educating all industry participants to examining securities firms, writing and enforcing rules and the federal securities laws, informing and educating the investing public, providing trade reporting and other industry utilities and administering the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and registered firms. For more information, please visit www.finra.org.