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"Smart Investing @ your library® Builds Nebraska Communities"


A grant awarded by the
American Library Association and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation
to the Nebraska Library Commission and the Northeast Library System
to provide financial literacy training at 22 libraries across Nebraska

Additional Resources

About the Project

The Nebraska Library Commission was notified that the grant proposal submitted by the Nebraska Library Commission and Northeast Library System, entitled "Smart Investing @ your library® Builds Nebraska Communities" has been approved for the $100,000 requested. Smart investing @ your library® is a grant-funded program developed collaboratively by the American Library Association and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. The program addresses the growing need for unbiased financial and investor education at the grassroots level. Since its launch in 2007, participating libraries and their community partners have helped people nationwide find the information they need to improve their financial decisions.

To meet the rising need for unbiased financial education and information for underserved Nebraska adults, the Northeast Library System and Nebraska Library Commission proposed a strategy to connect Nebraskans with helpful and reliable, unbiased financial information and resources through their local libraries. This grant project which runs through June 2015-will support public library efforts to meet financial education needs for Young Adults (age 20-40), Pre-retirees, or Retirees depending on the audience that is chosen by the participating library.

State level partners will collaborate with Nebraska Library Commission staff on training for library staff, Financial Literacy Resource Kits (including print and electronic resources), curriculum, and marketing resources. JoAnn McManus will serve as the project principal. Financial literacy education will be delivered in at least one 6 to 8 week training window at each participating library that starts with a library launch event and wraps up with an event that celebrates the participants' new financial literacy skills. literacy education will be delivered in at least one 6 to 8 week training window at each participating library that starts with a library launch event and wraps up with an event that celebrates the participants' new financial literacy skills.

Project Partners

Participating Public Libraries

Ainsworth Public Library
Albion Public Library
Atkinson Public Library
Central City Public Library
Chadron Public Library
Columbus Public Library
Fremont -- Keene Memorial Library
Gordon Public Library
Grand Island Public Library
Kearney Public Library
Kimball Public Library
Lexington Public Library
Lyons Public Library
Madison Public Library
Neligh Public Library
Norfolk Public Library
Papillion -- Sump Memorial Library
Pawnee City Public Library
Pender -- House Memorial Library
Plainview Carnegie Library
South Sioux City Public Library
Wahoo Public Library

Part 1: Librarian Training

In April, NLC and NELS will start out with training for library staff (from the 22 libraries) using an online financial literacy curriculum developed by the Santa Clara County (CA) Library. All Nebraska library staff are invited to access this training curriculum for staff and volunteer continuing education. An overview of the training will be presented at an NCompass Live Webinar on April 30, 2014. The online curriculum revolves around introducing librarians to financial terms and online financial resources so that they can better assist library customers. Even though librarians from the grant participating libraries will not serve as instructors for customer training, we expect they will receive more financial literacy-related questions because their libraries will be hosting the training for their customers. Librarians will be asked to take pre- and post-evaluations so that NLC can document increases in financial literacy knowledge.

Librarian Training Calendar

Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 10:00 a.m. (CDT)
Smart Investing: Reference Strategies and Resources Webinar via NCompass
Invited: All public libraries
Description: An overview of the Santa Clara County Library District's Smart Investing Reference Strategies and Resources training. All those interested in completing the 4-unit online training and the accompanying webinar support sessions will be asked to start by completing a pre-evaluation assessment.

Two week period between Check-in Webinars #2 & #3 -- Accomplish Week 3 Readings, review hot-linked web resources making note of how those might be useful to your customers, become familiar with this week's definitions, and email JoAnn any questions/concepts that you would like covered at the next check-in webinar.

Thursday, May 15, 2014, 2:00 p.m. CDT
Librarian Training Course Check-in #1 Webinar (one-hour)
Description: Each of the four check-in webinars will be hosted by NLC and resource leader Kathy Prochaska Que. The format will include:

  1. A discussion of the questions and concepts that were submitted prior to the session,
  2. One "cool" feature shared by participants that they found on one of the web sites that would be valuable to customers looking for helpful financial sites (so be prepared to share this),
  3. A 20-minute presentation by our partner expert/guest speaker on a topic related to something covered in the latest reading assignment, such as social security features, features to consider when deciding between a traditional and a Roth IRA, how credit scores can help or hurt you when getting a loan or mortgage, etc.

Two week period between Check-in Webinars #1 & #2 -- Accomplish Week 2 Readings, review hot-linked web resources making note of how those might be useful to your customers, become familiar with this week's definitions, and email JoAnn any questions/concepts that you would like covered at the next check-in webinar.

Thursday, May 29, 2014, 2:00 p.m. CDT
Librarian Training Course Check-in #2 Webinar

Description: See description included in Check-in #1 Webinar above.

Two week period between Check-in Webinars #2 & #3 -- Accomplish Week 3 Readings, review hot-linked web resources making note of how those might be useful to your customers, become familiar with this week's definitions, and email JoAnn any questions/concepts that you would like covered at the next check-in webinar.

Thursday, June 12, 2014, 2:00 p.m. CDT
Librarian Training Course Check-in #3 Webinar
Description: See description included in Check-in #1 Webinar above.

Two week period between Check-in Webinars #3 & #4 - Accomplish Week 4 Readings, review hot-linked web resources making note of how those might be useful to your customers, become familiar with this week’s definitions, and email JoAnn any questions/concepts that you would like covered at the next check-in webinar.

Thursday, June 26, 2014, 2:00 p.m. CDT
Librarian Training Course Check-in #4/Wrap-up Webinar
Description: See description included in Check-in #1 Webinar above.

Participants will be directed to take a post-evaluation assessment after they attend/view the Wrap-up Webinar. This should be completed by July 3rd.

Part 2: Resources to the Libraries

NLC and NELS will distribute financial literacy resource kits including books and materials in other formats to each of the participating libraries prior to the customer training. Libraries were provided a list of suggested titles for their kits on March 31, 2014 and were asked to make their selections by April 10, 2013. Financial literacy resources will also be purchased for Inter-library loan. E-books will be also purchased and distributed through Overdrive.

Part 3: Library Customer Training

The curriculum that will be used for each library's 6-week window of training is the Smart Investing @ your Library® Training, written by Iowa State University Extension for the Iowa State Library Smart Investing grant. This online curriculum will be housed on NLC's Moodle site. This 6-week training may vary slightly depending on the trainer and what works best for the local library. One scenario might be to hold a Kick-off Event at the library, let the participants go through the 4-week online curriculum, and then have a Wrap-up Event at the library. The trainer will likely communicate with participants each week during the training window and there might also be activities/meetings at the library between the Kick-off and Wrap-up Events. Pre- and post-tests will be administered to participants to document improvements in the area of financial literacy.

It is estimated that the first participating libraries will begin programming during the summer of 2014. Most libraries may prefer to begin during fall or winter. Everything will need to wrap up by June 2015. Each library will determine the schedule of their 6-week training window and will select their target audience from three options:

  • Starting Out: Establishing an Investment Plan -- Gen X, Ages 20-40
  • Building Up: Fine-tuning your portfolio & planning for retirement—Baby Boomers/Pre-Retirees
  • Making It Last: Retiring & Retirees—Retirees

Beyond the June 2015 wrap-up, the online curriculum will be available for individual self-directed learning by Nebraska residents. This free online, self-paced educational opportunity uses videos, mini-lectures, readings, links to web-based sources, exercises, worksheets, and quizzes to provide unbiased financial education relevant to the three life stages listed above. Register at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/FinancialEducation/ for a login password.

Evaluation/Wrap-up

A formal evaluation will be provided by NLC staff. Because the project is based on online curriculum packages for both the librarians and the customers, other Nebraska library staff, volunteers, and customers are welcome to take advantage of the online financial literacy modules and resources when it is ready.

Contact Information: JoAnn S. McManus, Grants Coordinator, Nebraska Library Commission, 1200 N Street, Lincoln, NE 68508, 800-307-2665, 402-471-4870, joann.mcmanus@nebraska.gov. When calling please reference "Smart Investing @ your library® Builds Nebraska Communities".

This program is made possible by a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation through Smart investing @ your library®, a partnership with the American Library Association.


For more information, contact JoAnn Mcmanus.