Monroe County Public Library, Bloomington, IN

Monroe County Public Library targeted teens and 20-somethings through workshops and creative outreach efforts addressing five high-priority topics: budgeting, saving, spending, managing credit and debt, and investing. Programs occurred at the library and various county locations, and were produced with assistance from higher education institutions and United Way of Monroe County.

Key Activities: 

  • Organized a kick-off event, coinciding with Money Smart Week Indiana, to publicize the library’s project and its services. The event included participation by United Way of Monroe County and the mayor of Bloomington, and was followed by a nonprofit financial literacy resource fair.
  • Trained librarians and staff from local nonprofits on personal finance topics and learning resources, with assistance from the Secretary of State’s Office.
  • Conducted public programs in English and Spanish on personal finance topics of interest to young adults (how to build credit and use it wisely, establishing sound household finances for the first time, understanding and managing student loans, investing for long-term goals, and other topics). Formed programming partnerships with United Way of Monroe County, El Centro Communal Latino, Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, Ivy Tech Community College, Habitat for Humanity, Shalom Center, Girls Inc., the Youth Services Bureau, and Hoosier Hills Food Bank, among others.
  • Organized a multipart financial literacy series with Stepping Stones, an emergency shelter for teens.
  • Collaborated with the local food bank to provide financial education to community members. These very popular programs included:
    • Flapjacks and greenbacks: Saving money by making food from scratch
    • Pickle your way to savings: Making your food budget go further
    • Fermented food fun: Preserving your food and your savings
  • Delivered 20 well subscribed “Talk to an Expert” sessions on selected personal finance topics relevant to Bloomington’s residents.
  • With United Way of Monroe County, created a weekly segment on community radio station WFHB, called The Ins and Outs of Money, to correlate with topics addressed during public seminars. The 56 broadcast segments focused on budgeting, saving, compound interest, taxes, EITC, financing college and understanding the FAFSA, establishing good credit, transitioning to financial independence, and other topics suitable for young adult audiences.

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