Chesterfield County Public Library, Chesterfield, VA

Chesterfield County Public Library focused on the intergenerational transfer of financial learning, while improving participants’ facility with the mathematics of money. The project gave special attention to grandchildren and the grandparents who have an influential or primary role in raising them. The library—in partnership with the County Office of the Senior Advocate, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, the University of Richmond, and the Chesterfield County Public Schools—equipped these “grandfamilies” with financial literacy skills necessary to address immediate needs and longer-term well-being.

Key Activities: 

  • With assistance from the Office of the Senior Advocate, University of Richmond faculty, and others, trained library staff and educators on the economic challenges and needs of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. The library also trained master teachers and teaching assistants to provide instructional delivery at the central library and branch locations.
  • Conducted FUN (Families Understanding Numbers) classes at the central library and branch locations. The classes were intergenerational and included children, teens, parents, and grandparents. Each class provided separate components for adults, teens, and children, as well as activities that brought families together for combined learning. Topics addressed: tracking spending; identifying ways to save; calculating emergency fund needs; making a financial plan; establishing short-, medium-, and long-term goals; understanding banks and banking services; and preparing to invest. All of the classes helped participants improve their money-related mathematics skills.
  • Incorporated experiential learning into the FUN series, including field trips to a local grocery store for meetings with nutritionists and store managers. Hands-on activities allowed participants to calculate the value and nutritional benefits related to meal planning, learn tips for smart food shopping, and understand the advantages of cooking and eating at home. Participants also received a behind-the-scenes look at the grocery store business.
  • Conducted field trips to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond for families participating in the FUN classes. Participants expanded their understanding about the banking system in the United States and explored a variety of investing topics.
  • In partnership with the State Securities Division, conducted FUN sessions on financial fraud, safe record-keeping, and understanding investments.
  • Conducted 23 adult workshops and events on banking services, retirement planning, Social Security, healthcare costs, raising money-smart kids, and consumer tips for 20-somethings and young families.
  • Conducted 21 financial literacy outreach visits to high schools, middle schools, technical education centers, and other community locations in the service area.
  • Organized an “Ask Me How to . . .” fair during Financial Literacy Month (April). Topics included “Ask Me How to Balance a Checkbook,” “Ask Me How to Use the Morningstar Database,” and a variety of similar personal finance tutorials.

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