Piscataway Public Library

Centsible Living

It’s challenging enough to manage your own money. But if you are a member of the “sandwich generation,” you may also be simultaneously negotiating money issues with teens and assisting aging parents who are managing their changing finances. “Three distinct audience’s means three approaches to capture the interest of young adults, middle-age working adults and potential retirees,” said Doug Baldwin, emerging technologies librarian. “We set out to show that the library is a center for financial literacy, no matter what age or life stage.”

Know Your Audience

Young adults responded to web-based resources on long-term financial planning, debt reduction and credit strategies. Older adults preferred live workshops on short-term investments and pre-retirement planning. The “sandwich generation” participated in evening webinars, attended morning and afternoon workshops, and met informally with professionals and agency representatives at a financial literacy fair. Programming topics for the various audiences included: creating a savings plan; basic investing principles; getting started as an investor; selecting and monitoring investments; investing for long-term goals; investing for college; and avoiding fraud.

Adding Program Partners

The library continually included agency staff in the planning process and sought strategies to engage partners—locally, statewide and on a national level. Initial partner agencies included the local Senior Center, Rutgers University Cooperative Extension, and Piscataway Township High School. Staff established contacts while planning the financial literacy fair. These led to new partnerships with the New Jersey Bureau of Securities and the Social Security Administration. Additionally, library programs held at convenient partner locations reached specific audiences and strengthened community connections.

Lessons Learned

● “We’ve laid the groundwork to sustain financial literacy programming through a network of contacts. Many presenters are willing to make presentations on important topics without compensation,” said Baldwin.

● “The train-the-trainer effort engaged librarians beyond the Piscataway Public Library service area and increased the potential impact of financial literacy programming in other libraries. A wider range of library users and staff from smaller libraries in the surrounding communities of New Brunswick and Dunellen participated in our successful training,” added Baldwin.

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