Money Smart Week @ your library

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It is your money. So what is the best way to handle it?

Libraries this week are offering financial tools to help them make those choices during Money Smart Week® @ your library.

Money Smart Week began in 2001 as an initiative of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to promote personal financial literacy.

Among its success stories was Damon Williams, who benefited from Money Smart week at a young age. Williams asked his mom for Michael Jordan shoes. She told the 6-year-old from Chicago that he needed to own some of the company before he could own any of the shoes.

Williams, the 2005 Money Smart Week Kid for Chicago, bought his first share of stock and never now teaches his fellow students looked back. Today he is a Morgan Park Academy student and is teaching other kids how to be money smart.

This year, the bank is trying to spread the word to an even wider audience, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has partnered this year with the American Library Association to create Money Smart Week @ your library.

A number of libraries are participating in Money Smart Week, including the Naperville (Ill.) Public Library, which offered two free financial programs, “Investing in Uncertain Times” with Edward W. Gjertsen, a national board member of the Financial Planning Association, and a teen program, Dollars & Sense Reality Fair.

For the reality fair, teens selected a potential career and then visited booths and made choices about spending money for housing, cars, clothing and food.

As Bobbie Rudnick, the library's business librarian told the Naperville Sun, “The reality fair offers a unique opportunity for teens to experience real-life financial decisions, and we’ve designed a fun, interactive workshop especially for them.”

The Ames (Iowa) Public Library hosted a program called "Fighting Financial Fraud." Participants learned about finding a financial advisor, avoiding identity theft, avoiding fraud, and the top 10 investment frauds

One of the libraries most active in taking part in Money Smart Week is the Springfield-Greene (Mo.) County Library District

Nearly 30 classes, workshops and activities, all free of charge, are being held at various library branches, will take place at various Library branches during the week to help consumers with all aspects personal finance. The library was able to enlist the collaboration of a variety of local financial institutions, businesses and nonprofit organizations, which can be found at the library's website.

Noting that even kids benefit from learning about money management, the library is holding a money-themed storytime and taking them shopping with “bunny money.” In addition, “Tween”-agers can watch their money grow fast by feeding a piggy bank, while teens can learn banking skills and how to start saving for a car or college.

Among the other events are Document Disposal Day, in which library patrons are encouraged to bring their sensitive documents to the Library for disposal. Financial Planning...Your Roadmap to Financial Freedom, Estate and Legacy Planning: It's More Than Just Money and Trusts, Money Smart Family and Identity Theft - Don't Be a Victim.

Kelly Miller, business librarian, said she provides business services for the system's 10 branches. Her duties involve attending business expos in the various cities around Springfield.

"This community is really growing. There is a lot of business activity. I talk to people every day who want to start a new business, that want help writing their business plan or doing research," Miller said.

Although the area served by the library may not be as hard hit economically, Miller said plenty of community members need financial help when it comes to issues like budgeting, credit and buying a home for the first time.

The biggest Money Smart events, she said, involved programs that addressed those issues, including one on mortgages.

"People came that were actually thinking about buying a house," she said.

One of the more popular events was the document disposal day.

"We contacted the company that does shredding for the library and had them come out and do free shredding for the public," Miller said. The event attracted more than 60 people, many of whom thanked the library for providing the service.

Miller said the library had some fun with Money Smart Week; one of the local history librarians dressed up as Benjamin Franklin to greet visitors.

The library's website has a page, "Minding Your Own Business," that offers financial resources to library users.

For more information on Money Smart Week® @ your library, listen to the following podcast, which can also be found at the American Library Association's Public Information Office blog, Visibility @ your library.





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