Ames, Iowa -- Across the state of Iowa, 18 rural libraries are getting ready to welcome the Smart investing@your library® project beginning in January 2013. This program is made possible by a grant from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation through Smart investing@your library, a partnership with the American Library Association.
This special grant program funds public library efforts to provide library patrons with access to effective, non-commercial investor educational resources. The Iowa project is a collaboration among Iowa Library Services, the Ames Public Library and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
“This is a win-win situation for the libraries and for Extension,” said Cynthia Fletcher, Iowa State professor and extension family resource management specialist. “It is a great opportunity for ISU Extension and Outreach to work with local libraries to educate Iowans about wise saving and investing.”
The libraries that receive the grants use a variety of technologies and outreach strategies to bring quality financial and investor education opportunities to library patrons at no cost. Librarians will receive training on the use of investment information resources. Participating libraries will expand their collection of financial and investment materials.
“Through this program, rural Iowans will learn how to make good decisions about money and we will support these libraries as they position themselves as centers for unbiased financial resources and education within their communities,” said Iowa Library Services Consultant Alysia Peich.
Three events will be held at each participating Iowa library. A financial-themed movie night will combine the showing of a movie with discussion. The libraries will then host six-week courses that combine face-to-face and online learning taught by ISU Extension and Outreach family finance program specialists. The courses will be followed by a local program on a finance topic.
“Three different online courses will provide information tailored to a specific audience – those just starting out, those building up their savings during midlife, and those near or in retirement,” said Fletcher. “We will encourage participants to learn more and then take action. The courses guide people to either start saving and investing or to take a second look at their current situation and make changes. We encourage any Iowan to participate in these classes, and for those that aren’t within driving distance of the libraries, to enroll in one of the online classes.”
Classes will be held this winter beginning in January at the locations listed below:
The first 25 people to attend the face-to-face sessions at one of the libraries listed above will receive a hard copy of the readings. The readings, as well as other learning activities on investing, will be available online for everyone interested in the program. For more information on the Smart Investing program, visit http://www.extension.iastate.edu/families/smart-investing-your-library.