As a personal finance researcher and writer, my community library is like a second home. If I need to visit in person, I schedule my time there in the morning so I leave by around 2:00 p.m. Why? It’s because a wave of high school students enter for study groups and the like. I’m thrilled to see so many students utilizing the library. I truly believe our libraries are a key partner in helping our young people and adults achieve their dreams of career and financial success.
The Pew Research Center website is connected to my newsfeed, and I recently received the results of a September 15, 2015 report stating that libraries remain an important part of our communities. In fact, 65 percent of individuals commented that “closing their local public library would have a major impact on their community.” These respondents also felt that “libraries should definitely” have spaces for reading, working, and relaxing. Pew Research stated this attitude shows that “libraries still occupy a prominent spot in people’s minds as a place to go.”
It’s good news that communities recognize the value that libraries offer. One of the reasons I believe libraries continue to be viable is because library leaders are committed to helping their patrons achieve career and financial success by adding new services and resources. Many libraries today have changed with the times, particularly in the areas of technology and educational programs. Consider the following supports that are being provided by libraries.
• Programs and resources to help small business and individual careers be successful
Small business is the backbone of the American workforce. Did you know that businesses with fewer than 20 workers comprise over 89 percent of the workforce? You can understand why 52 percent of Americans support the idea that libraries “definitely” need to create programs for local businesses and entrepreneurs. And libraries are doing it, and let me give you just one example.
Many libraries have teamed with a not-for-profit called SCORE. For readers who haven’t yet read our Post SCORE: Free Small Business Advice, check it out for details about how SCORE works. In short, the organization SCORE provides free access to successful business professionals who answer questions and guide small business owners on their path to be successful business owners themselves.
As for individuals seeking job skill development or starting a job search, the library can be a powerful support system. In my own backyard, the Naperville Public Library offers tremendous services. We had a conversation with Kent Palmer, the Business Librarian, last year in the Post Naperville Public Library: A Great Source for Job Searchers. Many libraries offer training and workshops to upgrade its patrons work skills to be more competitive. Other services are provided from resume writing to working with library databases to identify prospective employers. Also, the Naperville Library presented money-saving programs in conjunction with Money Smart Week last year, which brings me to the next benefit of many libraries.
• Partners with Money Smart Week to teach about personal finances
The library can be a tremendous partner in your goal of achieving financial success. In our first Money Smart Week planning session with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (FRBC) on October 8, 2015, it was disclosed that libraries were the lead partner in bringing financial literacy workshops and programs to communities throughout the United States! It makes sense because libraries, next to public schools, are a key learning center for communities.
Want to learn more different topics in personal finance? Here is a list of some of the categories that were listed in last year’s workshops:
√ Basic banking services
√ Credit and debt management
√ Healthy habits that save
√ Money management for women
√ Saving and planning for college
The American Library Association joined up with the FRBC in 2011 to expand the footprint of Money Smart Week. You can find out more about what is offered during Money Smart Week by reading our Post Money Smart Week: Take Advantage of Free Workshops. I highly encourage you to take advantage of the many FREE workshops and learning opportunities that are offered by personal finance professionals. Money Smart Week is scheduled for April 23-30, 2016, so mark your calendars! It’s certainly an important step in positioning yourself for financial success.
Libraries have been around since ancient times, but they are always constantly evolving to change with the times. Based on the Pew Research Center study, libraries continue to be an important and relevant partner in the career and financial success of patrons. Make certain and take advantage of what your library has to offer!
News to Read:
Libraries at the Crossroads: The public is interested in new services and thinks libraries are important to communities, by John B. Horrigan, Pew Research Center, September 15, 2015
Related MBU Posts to Read:
Make certain and check out these other MBU posts related to previous discussions we have had on libraries and Money Smart Week.
Small Business Trends: Small Business, Big impact!, U.S. Small Business Administration website
Small Business Facts: A rundown on key facts, numbers and trends regarding entrepreneurship and small business, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council