Huntsville-Madison County Public Library

Mind Your Money is a multi-faceted program that reached out to beginning investors and the local military and corporate communities. Public programs for adults were offered in 12 locations throughout the county, and specialized outreach included corporate HR departments.

Corporations Connect

Outreach to the corporate community attracted new audiences. Northrop Grumman and Hudson Alpha were among the initial corporate sites that accepted the Library’s invitation to participate in Mind Your Money Lunch & Learn sessions. This four-part “Investment 101” series begins with a basic overview and builds on previous programs to provide more in-depth analysis and investment instruction and tools. Corporate HR staff was thrilled with this free employee benefit presented onsite. The Library even provided lunch. High attendance and positive evaluations suggest that program content was also a strong incentive. Project Principal Sue Royer said, “Offering the classes generated opportunities to highlight Library resources that would otherwise not have been publicized. Corporate attendees had limited exposure to Library services and programs, and hearing about the program encouraged them to investigate further.”

Word spread among the business community. Four additional companies—Decisive Analytics, GATR Technologies, ALATEC and Kwajalein Range Services—requested an onsite series. The Library found that offering substantive investment classes taught by unbiased, qualified instructors created new opportunities to reach different demographics from its usual patron base. The Library’s Mind Your Money website and comprehensive Libguide ensure that the information remains current and easily accessible.

Army Community Services Expand Opportunities

The Army Community Service (ACS) helps families of enlisted and retired personnel, as well as civilians who work at Redstone Arsenal. ACS was enthusiastic about expanding its existing partnership with the Library to incorporate financial education programs. The Library added its “Investment 101” series to the army base’s ongoing program lineup and also worked with ACS to create other programming for adults. To reach an even broader audience at Redstone Arsenal, an additional “Investment 101” series was scheduled through the MWR Post Library. Four programs for high school students were offered through ACS and the Arsenal’s HIRED teen employment project.

Lessons Learned

• “The Library is clearly positioned to continue offering financial education programming,” Royer noted. The library is perceived as a source of credible, unbiased information. Many participants made a point of expressing confidence in the quality and non-commercial nature of the investment classes.”

• “This experience has been instrumental in developing more collaborative work between departments and staff,” Royer explained. Although the Library has successfully executed system-wide projects in the past, the Smart investing@your library® project represents an unprecedented level of inter-branch, inter-departmental, and cross-functional team work for the staff.”

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