Exploring financial literacy at the library
By JEN BOUTIN
Over the next six weeks, the Boyle County Public Library is hosting “Thinking Money for Kids,” a traveling interactive exhibit designed to teach kids and their families about money. The exhibit features six stations that explore the concepts of budgeting, earning and saving money and making responsible financial decisions.
In addition to the exhibit, library staff have partnered with various community organizations to bring in financial literacy-related events.
Youth Services Librarian Kinsey Hisle is the primary contact for the exhibit.
“We wanted to take the financial literacy concepts the exhibit introduces and find ways to make them more in-depth and fun for specific age ranges,” Hisle says.. While the exhibit is geared towards ages 7-10, library staff is able to meet each age group at their level with programs that explore budgeting, currency, spending, saving, borrowing, donating, and more.
“Our programs tie in these bigger financial literacy concepts to experiences people have in their daily lives, like grocery shopping or planning for college, to make them easier to understand and practice,” says Hisle. “The younger kids might need a more basic introduction than the exhibit provides so we have games during storytimes for them, while adults will need details much more in depth so we have experts in retirement, credit, and more that are provided for them. Programming is our way to reach everyone interested in financial literacy topics and expand the exhibit’s reach to our entire community.”
At 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, the library will host Expensive Tastes, where teens and tweens (ages 9-18) are invited to compete in blind taste tests to see if they can taste the difference between generic and name brand foods, such as cereal, crackers, cookies, and drinks.
“Expensive Tastes is a fun game to help us introduce the topics of budgeting when grocery shopping and how to make decisions on spending and saving,” Hisle says. The program will also give kids hands-on experience with the topics that will be covered later in the month during the Shop Smart program with the Extension Office. Being willing to try less expensive brands and learning how to comparison shop is a valuable skill to have when trying to stay within a budget.
“They will have to guess which is which and then we’ll discuss if the difference was enough to decide to spend more money on the more expensive food items,” Hisle says. Participants with any food allergies should contact one of the librarians 48 hours before the program.
An event called Price Is Right Games will feature some of the more popular games from the long running television game show that tweens (ages 9-13) can play to guess the prices of everyday items. Teams will compete to see who knows the most about real life costs of items they use every day and how those costs affect spending and savings.
“I wanted to use games the tweens would find fun to introduce and expand on budget topics,” Hisle says. “That way they have hands-on opportunities to interact with these concepts that might otherwise seem intimidating or boring to them.”
Teens (ages 13-18) are also invited to It’s Money, Baby! 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27. At this event, Toni Wiley from Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority will talk about important money matters regarding higher education. The program is designed to teach students about finances so that they are better able to make wise decisions about matters that affect their credit. Topics include cash basics, money plans, banking, balancing, insurance, credit, college money, credit scores, fraud and identity theft and social networking. Pizza will be provided at this event.
In addition to the financial literacy programs for youth, the library will also offer helpful programs for adults. Planning for Retirement will be held 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18. At this after-hours presentation, a representative from the Social Security Administration will explain how to secure your future once you leave the workforce.
“Planning for retirement is something that everyone should consider, regardless of the stage of your career,” says Public Services Librarian Caleb Conover. “It’s important to know what sources of income and expenditures to anticipate, and plan accordingly. The library is excited to be able to partner with experts from the Social Security Administration to present on the topic, answer questions and assist with registering for an online ‘my Social Security account’.”
This month’s Adult How-To program will cover how to understand credit.
“Whether we want it to or not, credit affects our lives in a variety of ways,” Conover says. At 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24, the Boyle County Cooperative Extension Service will visit the library to explain the basics of using credit, from credit cards to loans.
“If you’re not sure what credit is or how it works, now is as good a time as any to learn,” Conover says. “If you need some guidance on how to repair or establish your credit, our friends from the Extension Office will be here to discuss some of the steps you can take. As library programming staff, we appreciate the opportunity to partner with local organizations and showcase the services that are available in our area.”
For more information about “Thinking Money for Kids,” including all of the related programs being held at the library, visit www.BoylePubLib.org/thinking-money-kids.