Libraries selected to host the Thinking Money for Kids exhibit are responsible for presenting at least 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 noncommercial, the public programs may not be offered in conjunction with financial services firms, including banks, investment advisers, or brokerage firms. The programs should include one opening event. Any one of these programs may be combined with the opening event. All must be free to the public.
Financial Literacy Program Models
A panel of librarians with extensive experience with financial literacy programs created a series of program models relevant to themes in the exhibition. Please feel free to use them as-is, or as inspiration for your own unique program. These program models can be downloaded here.
Additional program ideas, booklists and resources can be found below.
Programming Ideas for Younger Audiences
- Summer Reading about Money: Re-work summer reading events with financial literacy topics from the exhibit. Select books related to these themes for story times and related activities. See below for information on suggested reading.
- Money Movie Nights: Screen a series of feature films that have money themes in the plots. Each film may be introduced by a financial educator and followed by a short workshop or activity. This works well for family audiences. See below for film and television program lists.
- Money Math: Much of financial literacy is about numeracy. Explore the mathematics of money using a lesson plan from the Jump$tart clearinghouse. This is an excellent opportunity to collaborate with local schools.
- Family Financial Literacy Workshops: Through intergenerational activities, show parents how to model good financial habits and teach their children about money. Families can learn how to make a financial plan, research money decisions, save for a goal, and prioritize spending.
- Meal Planning on a Budget: In partnership with a nutritionist and a financial educator, take kids and parents on a field trip to a local grocery store for tips on smart meal planning and how behavioral science affects our spending choices. There are lots of money math lessons, too! It’s all very practical, and the grocery stores love to be involved.
- Financial Badge Day for Young Scouts: Host a Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts badge day that focuses on financial literacy. Scouting organizations have badges that require members to learn the basics of budgeting, comparison shopping, financial planning, and financial decision-making. Work with scout leaders to organize an event during which scouts can learn essential money skills and meet badge requirements.
- Dewey Dollars Campaign: The Florence County Library System in South Carolina offered this program to incentivize young readers to explore the library’s financial literacy collections. By reading specially designated books and completing a brief form about the money lessons they learned, participants could earn and save Dewey Dollars redeemable for small prizes.
Programming Ideas for Adults
The exhibition may be for children and families, but there are many opportunities to extend financial literacy learning to adult audiences. Here are some ideas.
- Host an exhibition “teaser” event: Generate interest before the exhibit arrives. Possible events include lectures, films, or readings related to exhibit themes.
- Shred Day@ the library: Invite patrons to a “shred day” event, where they can shred old documents while learning tips on organizing important financial records. Participants can also learn how to protect personal information online.
- Workplace Lunch & Learn Sessions: Reach out to employers and offer to host on-site lunch and learn sessions as a free employee benefit. Sessions may focus on money management fundamentals or investing topics. This is also a way to promote the library’s personal finance collections with an audience of busy adults.
- Financial Coaching: Offer one-on-one coaching appointments on budgeting or credit management at the library in partnership with unbiased, qualified instructors from the local consumer credit counseling service or another suitable agency.
- Outsmarting Investment Fraud: Teach participants how to spot and avoid the “red flags” of financial fraud with a ready-made workshop available through www.saveandinvest.org/protect-your-money/fraud-fighting-partner-toolkit. Potential partners include AARP regional offices or the local Better Business Bureau.
- Financial Fair: Host a financial literacy fair at the library in partnership with various agencies and nonprofit organizations, such as the Cooperative Extension Service, a nonprofit consumer credit counseling agency, higher education institutions, United Way, and others.
- Personal Finance for Small Business Owners: Partner with faculty from a nearby community college or university to deliver the FDIC Money Smart for Small Business program.
- Retirement 101: Partner with the local office of the Social Security Administration and the Cooperative Extension Service to deliver workshops on saving for retirement, understanding Social Security benefits, and managing finances during retirement.
- Preparing for Homeownership: Buying a home can be a difficult process. Participants can learn how to get their financial house in order before making one of the biggest decisions of their lives. Buy or rent? What’s affordable? What’s important to know about mortgages? What are the crucial steps to take before, during, and after the home-buying process? There are many local nonprofit organizations and government agencies that specialize in homeownership and can help with instruction.
- Identity Theft—How to Avoid It and What to Do if It Happens: Lead an interactive workshop that walks patrons through steps for securing personal information, the telltale signs of identity theft, and what to do if they’ve been victimized.
- Car-Buying 101: A great opportunity for teens and their parents to learn together. Begin this session by reviewing the true costs of owning a car, and then moving on to all the things to consider during the car-buying process.
- ’Tis the Season: From getting through the holidays on a budget, to tax time savings, to Money Smart Week and more, use the calendar to schedule timely programs and services.
Additional workshop topics:
- Financing college and understanding the FAFSA
- Choosing and working with financial professionals
- Understanding banking
- Estate planning 101
- Building and sticking to a budget
- Strategies for reducing debt
- Introduction to investing
- How money works in America (for English language learners)
- Check out more ideas from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Other Programming Ideas and Resources
In addition, you can find expert guidance on how to develop a financial education program and discover trusted sources of unbiased financial information from the following sources:
Guidelines and Best Practices for Financial Literacy Education in Libraries
ALA’s Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) has published these guidelines, with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
Financial Literacy Interest Group
ALA’s Reference and User Services Association maintains a Financial Literacy Interest Group, which acts as a forum for sharing ideas about programming, reference assistance, collections, and other library services that support patrons’ information needs for financial decision-making.
This FINRA Foundation website features unbiased financial tools for military families and for general consumers.
FINRA publishes alerts to educate consumers about important and timely financial issues.
SmartInvesting.ala.org offers additional programming ideas and resources for learners of all ages.
As part of your program, your library can have a book club, story time, community read-in or an author lecture. Invite local youth groups, churches, daycare centers and schools to hold discussions at their locations too.
ALA’s comprehensive personal finance LibGuide can be found at https://libguides.ala.org/finra-ore/personalfinance/home. Consider adding to your collection. You can find a selected list of highlighted books to consider here.
Related Feature Films, Documentaries and Television
Screening films and television shows as companion programming can open new lines of inquiry and exploration, particularly for adult audiences. This annotated list provides a starting point for your consideration.
Websites, Games and More
Sometimes kids just want to play games, whether online in a virtual space or in person with a board game. Scout troops also present partnership opportunities to assist with earning badges related to financial literacy. Check out this list of websites, games and badges for additional ideas.