Ingram Blog

Capitalizing on Money Smart Week®

By Holly Hebert MLIS and Becky Walton, MLIS, Collection Development Librarians at Ingram Library Services

This year marks the seventh year of ALA’s collaboration with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to bring Money Smart Week® to libraries across the United States. With participation from over 1,000 libraries, Money Smart Week has grown to be an annual tradition. Of course, libraries are not new to helping patrons build their financial literacy skills. Libraries fill many roles in their community including being dispensaries of tax forms, to providing investment information, providing start-up information for small businesses, retirement information, and for basic books on budgeting. Libraries carry it all, and they do it for all ages. Although it’s less common now to find seasoned patrons pouring over copies of the latest Value Line, the use of computers and databases for help with personal finance remain a strong draw. These resources even include financial literacy games for kids! In this article, we’ll highlight some must-have authors, titles, and series for youth and adults. 

On the adult side, titles by financial gurus are always top circulators. Be sure to have enough copies of any works by popular authors like Dave Ramsey, Rachel Cruze, Suze Orman, Rich Kiyosaki, Jen Sincero, David Bach, and Warren Buffett just to name a few.

Taxes. Nothing is certain except death and taxes, right? Yearly guides to doing taxes such as J.K. Lasser's Your Income Tax 2017, Ernst & Young Tax Guide, and How to Pay Zero Taxes are perennial favorites. Standing order programs can help ensure that you always have the latest edition on hand.

It’s never too early to plan for retirement and Nolo’s For Dummies, and Idiot’s guides series are always good bets for any subject. Estate Planning (Idiot's Guides) and Nolo’s Social Security, Medicare and Government Pensions: Get the Most Out of Your Retirement and Medical Benefits are just two examples. Other new titles for 2017 include Don't Retire Broke: An Indispensable Guide to Tax-Efficient Retirement Planning and Financial Freedom, Get the Most Out of Retirement: Checklist for Happiness, Health, Purpose, and Financial Security, How to Make Your Money Last: The Indispensable Retirement Guide, and Ageproof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip.

For basic budgeting Pogue's Basics: Money: Essential Tips and Shortcuts (That No One Bothers to Tell You) about Beating the System, and Quicken 2017 the Official Guide, and Personal Finance for Dummies can help.

Investments are a large part of becoming financially stable in the long run. Investing for Dummies, Trading for Dummies, Mutual Funds for Dummies, The 100 Best Stocks to Buy in 2017, and The Barefoot Investor will help patrons get on the path to investing wisely.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to guard against scams and fraud. Titles that will complement any programming on this topic include Preventing Credit Card Fraud: A Complete Guide for Everyone from Merchants to Consumers, Nolo’s Credit Repair: Make a Plan, and Improve Your Credit, Avoid Scams.

For children and teens, librarians have a great selection of both standalone titles and series nonfiction. Some recent series for lower elementary readers include Cloverleaf Books: Money Basics from Millbrook, selected by Booklist as a Top 10 Financial Series in October 2014, Your Money from Windmill, Money Sense: An Introduction to Financial Literacy from Crabtree, and The Value of Money from Enslow. Two excellent standalones are Prices! Prices! Prices!: Why They Go Up and Down by David Adler (Holiday House, 2015), which explains supply and demand, and One Proud Penny by Randy Siegel (Roaring Brook Press, 2017), which explores the history of our country’s one-cent piece. Both of these titles were very well reviewed.

For upper elementary readers, two series to invest in are How Money Works from Norwood House which was well-reviewed by School Library Journal, and Money Smarts from Amicus which was positively reviewed by Booklist and School Library Journal.

Middle school readers get a wealth of resources! DK offers Money in their DK Eyewitness series. There’s also Everything Money from National Geographic in their Everything series. There are quite a few single titles to consider, too! Dollars & Sense: A Kid's Guide to Using--Not Losing--Money by Elaine Scott (Charlesbridge, 2016); Follow Your Money: Who Gets It, Who Spends It, Where Does It Go? by Kevin Sylvester (Annick Press, 2013), which received a starred review from Kirkus; A Smart Girl's Guide: Money: How to Make It, Save It, and Spend It by Nancy Holyoke (American Girl, 2014); and How to Turn $100 Into $1,000,000: Earn! Save! Invest! by James McKenna, Jeannine Glista, and Matt Fontaine (Workman, 2016).

For high school readers, look to Rosen for their Get Smart with Your Money series and DK for Heads Up Money.

Even though libraries don’t need Money Smart Week to prompt us to provide financial information, it’s a great time to highlight the services and programs that help our patrons with financial literacy.

Click here for more adult Money Smart Week titles, and here for youth titles.