Middle Country Public Library

Youth Services librarians at this busy library on Long Island are engaging and enlightening thousands of children about money. Saving and spending, sharing and counting, it’s all included in the Dollars and $ense: Let’s Learn about Money exhibit that library staff created with their partner The Long Island Museum of History, Art and Carriages. The library also partnered with the Middle Country School District and school visits integrate the exhibit with the math curricula. These visits scheduled for all third, fourth and fifth grade classes have reached 2,300 kids. Children experience the hands-on activities in the exhibit plus another forty-five minute interactive lesson on money management, including a 15 minute session on laptops with three different games that reinforce topics in the exhibit.

All ages are welcome

Families also enjoy the hands-on activities in the library’s Museum Corner. A replica bank, a kid’s general store where goods and money are exchanged, and a computer area with online activities related to finance are some of the choices. Games and take-home resources in each area give visitors the opportunity to explore, role play and talk about money management while learning valuable math skills they can use every day.

Counting on the staff

Staff training that involved the entire staff was huge. The Suffolk Federal Credit Union covered basic financial topics and a training session on investments was presented by an economics professor at Suffolk County Community College. Special workshops for the Youth Services staff included a more in-depth look at the exhibits and all its components.

Lessons Learned

• “It was important that everyone understand the project”, said Coordinator for Youth Services, Tracy Delgado-La Stella. “The all staff training created a shared sense of ownership among staff and gave them the confidence they needed to discuss the project with parents. Everyone, not only the Youth Services staff, understood the project and could go to the schools and explain it to teachers.”

• “The strong partnerships with schools and the museum are a critical part of the project, said Tracy. Without the collaboration and support of the schools, the program would not have worked.”

• “We hoped to reach more parents through the Family Financial Literacy Nights series and we used incentives to reach them, said Tracy. We asked parents to bring a friend and then held a raffle. All winners received a special Family Literacy Kit prepared just for them with books, games and activities for the whole family.”

Grants awarded in 2009; 2013


Looking to take your library’s financial literacy efforts to the next level? Connect with ALA’s Financial Literacy Interest Group.