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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the authors

"Libraries are perfectly positioned to carry out the work of empowering people to achieve their life goals. Building personal finance concepts into programs you’re already doing, such as storytimes, reach an audience you already have."

Read an interview with Melanie Welch now!

A survey from the American Psychological Association shows that money is a more frequent cause of worry than work, family, or health issues. Empowering people with the knowledge to make sound financial decisions is an important way to make a difference in your community, and many libraries across the country are doing just that. Drawing from the expertise of business librarians and ALA’s Public Programs Office (PPO), this book is a ready-to-use guide for offering financial literacy initiatives at your own library. Presenting 16 model programs from a variety of institutions, complete with budgets and funding sources, this resource shares

  • resources for free outreach materials and training;
  • approaches to Money Smart Week from institutions such as public libraries, a tribal library, and community colleges;
  • tips for developing partnerships with members of the local business community;
  • ways to facilitate discussions between parents and children about finances, such as creating a play and learn career center for children using the Family Place model;
  • programming for teens, including a Harry Potter-themed financial literacy series;
  • a program where a banker advises college students on questions to ask when shopping for credit cards;
  • how to collaborate with health and social services agencies in order to reach immigrants and underserved populations; and
  • methods for evaluating and strengthening a personal finance collection.

By incorporating these model programs and tools into your library's offerings, you’ll be taking steps to ensure that your patrons are rainy day ready.


Part I        Libraries
Chapter 1    Supporting Patrons in Financial Decision-Making, Lauren Reiter
Chapter 2    Gaps and Barriers in the Popular Personal Finance Literature, Ash E. Faulkner
Chapter 3    Financial Literacy Partners in the Community: Business Community Connections, Barbara A. Alvarez

Part II        The Programs
Chapter 4    Art Shop: Igniting Family Financial Conversations, Cecily Ponce de Leon
Chapter 5    Money Smart Week at Your Tribal Library, Anne Heidemann
Chapter 6    Family Sleepover at the Library: Dollars and Sense Edition, Susan Claus
Chapter 7    Play and Learn Career Center, Susan Claus
Chapter 8    Money Smart Week: Financial Literacy Storytime, Angiah Davis
Chapter 9    Paint a Piggy Bank, Claire Tidwell
Chapter 10    You Have Expensive Taste, Leslie Swope
Chapter 11    Envisioning Your Future Self Poster Project, Meg King-Sloan
Chapter 12    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Student Debt, Katie Moellering
Chapter 13    Planning for Life after High School, Meg King-Sloan
Chapter 14    Financial Literacy for New Americans, Andrea Fisher
Chapter 15    Money Smart Week at a Community College, Priscilla Dickerson
Chapter 16    Financial Literacy Fair, Curt Friehs
Chapter 17    Smart Cookie Credit, Emily Mross
Chapter 18    Small Business, Big Ideas, J. Sandy Hutchins
Chapter 19    Starting Over, J. Sandy Hutchins

Part III    Financial Literacy Education in Libraries: Guidelines and Best Practices for Service
Chapter 20    Earning Guideline
Chapter 21    Borrowing and Credit Guideline
Chapter 22    Saving and Investing Guideline
Chapter 23    Spending Guideline
Chapter 24    Protecting against Risk Guideline
Chapter 25    Financial Literacy Education in Libraries: Best Practices for Service

Appendix    Financial Education Core Competencies

Melanie Welch

Melanie Welch is a project director in the ALA Public Programs Office. Melanie is a veteran nonprofit professional with experience in outcomes-based work at museums and environmental organizations and expertise in informal education, public programs, and community engagement and outreach. In her current role with ALA’s Public Programs Office, she develops informal education programs and professional development opportunities for libraries and library staff of all types throughout the United States. She received a bachelor of science degree in environmental biology from Bradley University and a master of science degree in biology from Northern Illinois University and is a member of the Second Nature class of Catto Fellows at the Aspen Institute.

Patrick Hogan

Patrick Hogan is an editor with the American Library Association’s book publishing imprint. Previously, he was an editor with a Chicago business book publisher.

Public Programs Office (PPO)

ALA's Public Programs Office (PPO) empowers libraries to create vibrant hubs of learning, conversation and connection in communities of all types.