Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR

Multnomah County Library partnered with the Oregon Society of CPAs, county agencies, and community organizations to help two high-need audiences: “parents at risk” (defined as low income and low literacy) and seniors susceptible to financial fraud. The project piloted a road show model with a team that visited retirement centers, Head Start programs, and other nonprofits to provide hands-on learning on financial topics such as money management and avoiding fraud.

Key Activities: 

  • In partnership with early childhood development experts, conducted workshops and events for parents of children enrolled in Head Start programs and for employees at these Head Start agencies. Most of these sessions were offered in English and Spanish. Selected workshops addressed teaching children about money and discussed how parents can model good financial habits. The Head Start staff received coaching to reinforce and extend essential financial literacy messages and to make referrals to the library.
  • Created, piloted, and refined a mobile learning lab focusing on strategies to avoid financial fraud and identity theft, among other personal finance topics. Called the MoneyTime Learning Lab, it used tablet computers and touch screen technology suitable for seniors with limited or no technology experience. The library conducted 27 labs at retirement and senior centers and other locations in the county. In addition to interactive benefits, the tablet technology provided privacy: A lab attendee could discreetly look at resources pertaining to credit or debt and other sensitive topics without everyone in the class needing to know.
  • Partnered with the Oregon Society of CPAs and other nonprofits and agencies to deliver 42 public programs at 17 library branches on topics ranging from basic budgeting to planning for retirement to avoiding financial fraud.
  • Formed marketing and distribution alliances with the Multnomah County Commission on Children, Families, and Community and the county’s Office on Aging and Disability. The library, the Commission, and the county’s Family Economic Security Project collaborated on the development and distribution of a resource handbook (English and Spanish versions) on “Financial Planning Opportunities for People of All Incomes.” Similarly, the library and the Office on Aging and Disability prepared and distributed information to help seniors avoid financial fraud.

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