Thinking Money for Kids: Traveling Exhibition Application Guidelines

Thinking Money for Kids: A traveling exhibit to U.S. public libraries that makes financial literacy fun

Date application posted: December 17, 2018

Questions? Contact the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5045, or

I. Project Overview
II. Award Information
III. Eligibility
IV. Application and Submission Information
V. Application Review
VI. Award Administration Information
VII. Contact Us

I. Project Overview

In partnership with the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office is seeking sites to host Thinking Money for Kids, a national exhibition that explores financial literacy topics in an engaging manner for audiences consisting of youth (ages 7–11) and their parents, caregivers and educators. The exhibition will travel to 50 sites. Public libraries are invited to apply. 

The traveling exhibition is made possible through the support of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation

Thinking Money for Kids will tour from August 2019 through August 2021. Selected libraries will host the exhibition for five to six weeks. Each site will receive a programming allowance of $1,000 to support public programs related to the exhibition. 

The Thinking Money for Kids Exhibition

Thinking Money for Kids encourages visitors aged 7–11 and their parents, caregivers and educators to reflect on their financial futures. Library patrons will participate in hands-on and digital interactive activities to determine how they can make good financial decisions.
Physical Details

  • The exhibition requires approximately 1,000 square feet of floor space for optimal display.
  • The exhibition requires electrical power and must be set up near electrical outlets.
  • The exhibition will have audio components. 
  • The exhibition will require two people a few hours to set up.
  • Secure storage space for shipping containers is required (approx. a 6x9 room or equivalent).
  • The exhibition will need Wi-Fi access for occasional software updates, but not for day-to-day operation.

Orientation Workshop

There will be an in-person, preconference orientation workshop at the 2019 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. for the exhibition (specific date TBD). The Project Director from each exhibiting library must attend this full-day session. ALA will provide a stipend to cover the costs of one round-trip flight (up to $600) and two nights in a conference hotel. Meals and snacks at the workshop will be provided. The workshop will:

  • Review the exhibition’s content and learning objectives
  • Offer tools and tips for audience engagement and marketing
  • Explain programming support available from the FINRA Foundation and ALA
  • Review and answer questions about the program evaluation plan and expectations, tools and processes
  • Demonstrate the exhibition itself, including how to install and de-install it
  • Provide time for peer networking and sharing programming ideas 

Support Materials

  • An online Site Support Notebook will include programming, publicity, and resource and logistics in-formation. 
  • An online community discussion group will allow exhibiting libraries to share programming ideas and experiences.
  • A series of online, self-paced training modules will help library staff acquire expertise in personal finance topics and information resources. At least one staff member from each exhibiting library is required to complete one or more of these online modules.

Program Evaluation

ALA is partnering with New Knowledge Organization to evaluate the exhibition tour. Evaluators will not assess your performance, but instead will help ALA and participating libraries optimize the exhibition learning experience for library patrons. Below is a list of things to expect if your library is chosen to host the exhibition:

  • As you prepare for the exhibition: Attend the orientation workshop at the 2019 ALA Annual Conference and meet the evaluators in person. You’ll hear more details about specific evaluation activities and meet other librarians working on the project.
  • Immediately before you host the exhibition: Join a conference call or virtual meeting facilitated by ALA and NewKnowledge. During the call, you’ll be joined by representatives from ALA, the FINRA Foundation, and the other libraries hosting the exhibition during the same two-month period as your library. This will be your exhibition “cohort,” and you’ll be encouraged to stay in touch and share ideas and experiences. Other libraries that have already hosted the exhibition (or a similar exhibition) will be on hand to provide guidance and answer questions.
  • While you’re hosting the exhibition: You’ll be asking patrons for input and sharing their feedback with evaluators to help improve the initiative. Together, we will use a range of methods to determine what patrons learn from the exhibition and from concurrent financial literacy programs offered by your library.
  • Immediately after your hosting period ends: Members of your library staff will be asked to give feedback and record basic information about how you observed patrons interacting with the exhibition and related programs and materials. You’ll have all the necessary guidance in advance.
  • Your library might be selected as a case study site for more in-depth exploration. If this happens, a NewKnowledge researcher will visit in person to talk to library patrons and staff, and attend a Thinking Money for Kids program or event.

Requirements for Host Sites

All public libraries chosen to host Thinking Money for Kids are required to do the following:

  • Sign a contract with the American Library Association agreeing to programming, publicity, evaluation, reporting and other project requirements.
  • Present a minimum of four public programs, events or activities related to the personal finance themes explored in the exhibition. These may include an opening event for the exhibition and/or educational programs and activities offered in collaboration with community organizations, schools, universities, community colleges or government agencies. To ensure that all programming is strictly non-commercial, the public programs may not be offered in conjunction with financial services firms, including banks, investment advisers and brokerage firms. 
  • Market the exhibition and programs in the community.
  • Allow the public to view the exhibition and attend programs free of charge.
  • Provide three concise reports: a programming allowance request form; an exhibition condition form; and a final programming report. ALA will provide the necessary forms.
  • Participate in the exhibition evaluation, as outlined above.
  • Appoint one staff member as the Project Director of the exhibition. The Project Director is responsible for attending the orientation workshop at ALA’s 2019 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., overseeing programming and marketing of the exhibition, and assuring that the exhibition is set up, displayed and taken down according to the project guidelines.
  • Agree to all publicity requirements, including use of designated exhibition credits and/or logos on all local publicity materials, both print and online.
  • Show that the library has sufficient space to display the exhibition (approximately 1000 square feet in one area of the library, plus space to store the shipping crates), and can provide security for the exhibition (by monitoring the exhibition at least every half-hour during peak times and every hour at less busy times).
  • Provide sufficient electrical outlets nearby to power the exhibition components and have Wi-Fi available for occasional software updates as needed. 
  • The exhibition will have some adjustable audio components, and will need to be placed in an area where sound is acceptable.  
  • Be responsible for the condition of the exhibition. Sites will be held responsible for damage to or loss of the exhibition when it is under their control. Minor repairs will be carried out and paid for by ALA.
  • INSURANCE: Each host library must add the exhibition to its institutional insurance coverage or purchase an insurance rider. The exhibition should be insured from ten days before the first day of the exhibition period to ten days after the closing date. The exhibition value is still being determined, and this section will be updated once it is finalized.

II. Award Information

Fifty public libraries will be selected to host the exhibition for five to six weeks between August 2019 and Au-gust 2021. Each host will receive the following:

  • The traveling exhibition for a five- to six-week loan period (shipping costs are covered by the sponsors).
  • A $1,000 allowance for exhibition-related programming. Please note that these funds may not be used for computer hardware or to pay cash or cash-equivalent incentives (including gift cards and the like) to program participants.
  • An online Site Support Notebook, with shipping and installation instructions, suggestions for programming and a full publicity kit, including downloadable promotional materials and templates for press and social media outreach.
  • Technical and programming support from the ALA Public Programs Office throughout the tour.
  • Staff training through a required orientation workshop and a series of online, self-paced modules on personal finance topics.
  • Repair of reasonable wear and tear to the exhibition.

III. Eligibility

Thinking Money for Kids is available to public libraries in the United States. Individuals and federal entities are not eligible to apply.

IV. Application and Submission Information

Applications will be accepted December 17, 2018–February 8, 2019. Applications must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time on February 8, 2019. Late or incomplete applications, and applications from ineligible institutions, will not be reviewed. Applications and support materials may not be submitted by mail or e-mail.

To begin the application process, go to You can download a PDF of the application to review the questions ahead of time in order to prepare your answers.  

V. Application Review

Each eligible application will be assessed by a review panel of librarian peer reviewers, FINRA Foundation staff and ALA staff. Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Clarity and completeness of the application. Has the applicant supplied all required information, including all sections of the proposal narrative? 
  • The quality and variety of proposed programming to accompany the exhibition. 
  • The availability of appropriate exhibition space, and the library’s ability to provide security for the exhibition.
  • The involvement of appropriate programming partners. Note: Selectors welcome programming collaborations; however, sending the exhibition to more than one venue in a community during the dis-play period is prohibited.
  • The quality of the marketing and outreach plans, and the likelihood of engaging the target audiences in large numbers. 

The panel may take geographic and demographic distribution into consideration when selecting exhibition sites.

VI. Award Administration Information

Application Deadline: February 8, 2019
Award Notification: By early April 2019
Orientation Workshop: Preconference workshop at ALA’s 2019 Annual Conference, specific date TBD
Final Report Due: 30 days after completion of the exhibition display period.

VII. Contact Us

If you have questions about the exhibition or the application, contact:
American Library Association Public Programs Office
1-800-545-2433, ext. 5045