The Salem Public Library had been awarded a grant from the American Library Association and FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The award included a six-week installation of a traveling exhibit called Thinking Money, designed to introduce basic concepts of financial literacy to teens, tweens, and young adults. The 50 libraries that received the Thinking Money grant were charged with partnering with community organizations to create at least four programs based on the exhibit’s theme.

Finding community partners was not at all difficult. Credit unions and financial planners were only too happy to conduct classes and give presentations, but I wanted to have at least one program that approached the topic a bit more obliquely, something that would soft-sell the benefits of good money management skills. Marion County Environmental Services turned out to be the perfect partner for this endeavor. MCES’s basic charge is to keep materials out of the waste stream. Through their innovative outreach activities, they challenge residents to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Their program director, Jessica Ramey, and I hatched a plan for a back-to-school blue jeans swap, reasoning that conservation of resources applies as much to the environment as it does to families’ wardrobes and bank accounts, and that people who would come to the library for free back-to-school clothes might not be the same people who would sign themselves up for a class on budgets or investments. Our theory was that if we could get people into the building for free jeans, they would discover the fabulous Thinking Money exhibit and perhaps learn something new.

Author Biography

Ann Scheppke has worked at Salem Public Library since 1986, primarily as a reference librarian, but more recently in Adult Services programming. Prior to that, she was a Documents Librarian at the Texas State Library.

Copyright statement

© 2018 Ann Scheppke



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