Monthly Archives: September 2015

Financial Education Resources for Libraries

dollar-sign[1]In April, I highlighted Smart Money Week as a way to increase financial literacy skills in your community. Today I am highlighting the financial education resources from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). These resources were developed specifically for libraries because the CFPB wants “to make libraries the go-to source for financial education.”

There are monthly webinars you can attend to help you prepare if you want to host trainings yourself. You can view the archived webinars for access to a variety of topics. For further preparation, they offer additional videos, websites, and courses. There are also program ideas to help you get started. You can order free print publications to make available in your library, and there are also marketing materials to help you promote your programs, or to promote financial literacy concepts and materials in general.

If you don’t want to do all the programming yourself, the CFPB also offers a partnership guidebook to “help libraries identify and connect with partners in their communities.” This guide includes ideas for partners at the local, state, and national level.

In addition to resources for libraries, there are also resources for parents to help their children develop money skills, as well as sections specifically for youth financial education, and adult financial education.

Have you hosted financial education programming at your library since Smart Money Week? Tell us how it’s been going in the comments!

Early Learning with Vroom

PrintLibrary story times are geared toward developing young minds and building skills that children will need for school. However, story time at the library is only a small part of a child’s week. The rest of the time a child’s development is up to parents and other caregivers. As a librarian, you can help by equipping parents to support children’s development at home.

Vroom is an app based on research and developed with funding provided by the Bezos Family Foundation to help parents support their child’s brain development during the crucial first 5 years of life. The app provides daily tips and is free to download from Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play.

Of course not all parents have smartphones, so the tools and activities are also available on the website, including flyers you can download and print to hand out to parents. Each activity is labeled with an age range and includes background on why the activity is important to a child’s development.

It is easy enough to pass out flyers at story time, but there is also a playbook you can use for ideas to help bring Vroom to your entire community. There is a whole Dropbox folder of materials and tools, including low-ink versions of the flyers for printing in-house.

What do you do to encourage parents to work with their children at home? Share your suggestions in the comments!

Summer Food Service Programs at North Dakota Libraries

GF lunchDuring the school year, many children receive free lunches at school. When school lets out for the summer, that often means kids go hungry. That’s where the USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) steps in. During the summer, any child ages 0-18 can eat lunch a SFSP site. Public libraries make ideal sites, since they are natural gathering places for children during summer reading programs! As a meal service site, libraries do not prepare the food, they simply offer a place for children to eat.

This year, two North Dakota libraries were involved in the SFSP. The Grand Forks Public Library SFSP site is sponsored by the St. Joseph’s Social Care and Thrift Store. They served lunch Monday through Friday for eight weeks. The  Grand Forks Public Library has participated as SFSP site for two years. The Morton Mandan Public Library participated as a site for the first time this year. Lunch was served in Dykshoorn Park Monday through Friday for nine weeks.

Morton Mandan lunch at the library

First Lady Betsy Dalrymple helped kick off of the program by reading to the kids and giving away books provided by the United Way.

Linda Austin, Children’s Program Coordinator at The Morton Mandan Public Library, also organized 34 programs to tie in to this year’s summer reading theme. “Lunch with Heroes” featured different heroes from the community, and included the Fire Department, Police Department, National Guard, nurses, doctors, Humane Society, musicians, crafters, gymnasts, and many more. Heroes provided a short program that highlighted their role in the community. On average, 77 children attended each program. First Lady Betsy Dalrymple also participated by reading to the children and giving away books provided by the United Way. To learn more about the program in Mandan, check out the article in the Bismarck Tribune.

 Morton Mandan lunch at the library

“Dreams in Motion” gave the kids an opportunity to play wheelchair basketball.

Morton Mandan lunch at the library

“READ” therapy pets who read with the kids for the Reading Tails Program.

For information on the importance of the SFSP program, and to learn what libraries in other states are doing, check out the article “Eat Up! 5 Public Libraries’ Successful Summer Meals Programs.”  To learn more about getting involved in the SFSP in North Dakota, visit the Department of Public Instruction’s Child Nutrition & Food Distribution website. We would love to see more libraries participate!

Celebrate Lights on Afterschool

LOA-small-aIs your library a natural place for kids to gather after school? Do you wish kids gathered at your library after school? Why not join the 16th annual Lights on Afterschool celebration on October 22? Organized by the Afterschool Alliance “Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities.”

Not exactly sure how you would celebrate this event? Afraid it sounds like too much work? Fortunately, there is a convenient Event Planning Kit that walks you through the planning process, saving you time and effort. In addition to planning guidance, it also offers sample materials, such as a press release, as well as ideas for activities.

Lights on Afterschool is a great partnership opportunity. There are already organizations in North Dakota signed up to celebrate, so check the event map to see if you can partner with someone in your area. Once you’ve committed, you can register your own event.

This event is about more than just celebrating the library as great place to visit when school is done for the day. There are also suggestions for using the event as a fundraiser, as well as tips on reaching policy makers. You can also find after school data specifically for North Dakota.

Share your library’s after school stories in the comments!

Library Guessing Games

question-mark[1]This month I’ve rounded up ideas for self-directed guessing games at the library. Most of these guessing games are of the “test your knowledge” variety and do not require offering a prize or declaring a winner.


To encourage regular library visits, you could do a different guessing game each month. You could have a card patrons could get stamped for each month they participate.

Have you tried any guessing games as self-directed library displays? How did they go? Share your suggestions in the comments!