This busy regional library system made it a point to engage with community organizations. They aligned library resources through an initial connection with the Thurston County Asset Building Coalition (ABC). This group of non-profits serves low-income individuals and provides assistance for housing, healthcare and other basic services.
To better support and publicize its financial literacy work, the library joined ABC’s money management hub. Library staff attended the ABC’s Economic Survival Fair and distributed FINRA materials. Later, they attended a meeting of the money management hub, where they networked with local agencies and offered library meeting spaces and informational materials in support of the group’s mission. They wanted to spread the word about the freely available material and also raise its profile as a resource for financial literacy.
Social media played a significant role in publicizing library’s programs and resources. The Tapped Out video was produced to promote financial literacy among college-age adults. A parallel and very successful media effort was the production of podcasts. Library staff worked with the Washington Library Association and the University of Washington and created eight audio productions. The five- minute productions were produced to be both entertaining and informative.
ABC also approached the library about partnering to create content, a development that advance the library into new roles. Project Director Tim Mallory noted, “We were also contacted by the director of the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions because of their interest in working with the library to reach more citizens with financial literacy materials and to leveraging the library’s knowledge of social marketing.” The library has attracted attention among other community agencies and is now working with the Volunteer Center, Enterprise for Equity and the Department of Social Services.
• “We now have the skills and the materials to provide accurate, unbiased and up-to-date financial information throughout our district, said Mallory. “These resources are available from the urban core to to small communities where we have our smallest branches.”
• “Virtually all the members of the Asset Building Coalition (ABC) have free programs available, and we are able to host their programs widely in our libraries,” continued Mallory. “And the alternative media approaches the library developed are available 24/7 throughout the 7,000 square miles covered by Timberland Regional Library.”