The EARN SPEND SAVE program engages kids, teens and adults with a series of year-long workshops with practical financial programs for everyone. Because it is not a sequential program, people can enter and exit the series according to their interests. Workshops from September through November are about EARNing money. You can find out how to SPEND wisely from January through April and from June to August learn how to SAVE money. Over the course of a year, adults and children get information they need at a time and place that is convenient for them. One night a month everyone comes together with a different workshop for each age group to share Money Matters Meal Night. Busy families can attend without having to find childcare or cook dinner- a free meal is included.
Summer of Savings
The library is successfully integrating financial literacy with traditional library programs. “Summer of Savings” incorporates the SAVE topic into the summer reading program, which includes all age groups. Participants are encouraged to offer a saving tip. For teens, every activity is worth a Library Buck, which can be used to enter a drawing and to pay library fines. A few of the activity choices are: open a savings account; calculate the 6% Kentucky state sales tax on the items you buy; figure how much money to leave as a 15% tip of total bill; and track your expenses for a week—where does all the money go?
Marketing Mix and Match
The EARN SPEND SAVE marketing campaign includes print, TV, radio, social media and word-of-mouth. Monthly EARN SPEND SAVE Tips on cable are also broadcast on the library’s website. Monthly radio announcements deliver a consistent message. Library staff is fully engaged in effective word-of mouth campaigns and take programs to the people rather than expecting people to come to them. Library Director Carrie Herrmann said, “People are too busy and it is easier for the library to the go where they are. We teamed up with social services to attract more families with limited incomes. Our families used a local mobile food pantry and we developed a family nutrition program. We delivered the program on the Community Center on Wheels because it made stops in the neighborhood where the food pantry visited. “
UPDATE: A follow-on grant is focusing on outreach to schools and working closely with elementary teachers to bring resources into the classroom that support state standards for economic concepts. A traveling library plus curriculum kits with lesson plans and book lists are available in the school library for use by any teacher.
• The idea of family education around money issues positions the library as an innovator with a positive message to help families with a touchy subject. Herrmann strongly encourages a creative approach. “Ideas come from everyone so be flexible and know what each partner can bring to the table”.
• “People set goals related to the topic” noted Sean Davidson. “Behavior changes because people see the library as a platform to present financial information and they are hungry for it”.