Pelham Public Library awarded $83,500 grant

Published 8:10 pm Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Pelham Public Library receives a $83,500 grant for financial literacy programs. (File)

The Pelham Public Library received a $83,500 grant for financial literacy programs. (File)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Pelham residents don’t need to travel further than the public library to find quality financial and investor information. Thanks to the $83,500 Smart Investing@your Library grant from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation and the American Library Association, the Pelham Public Library will continue and build on existing financial education programs.

Smart investing@your library is a competitive grant program supporting libraries and their efforts to provide community financial education. The Pelham Public Library first received this grant to start financial literacy programs in 2011, and in January was one of 17 public libraries nationwide to receive the grant for 2014.

“Today we’re continuing the programs, but we’re focusing on family financial literacy by educating children from three to 18 and their parents,” said Pelham Public Library Director Barbara Roberts.

According to Roberts, the library will use the $83,500 grant to develop existing financial literacy initiatives through age-targeted programs geared toward “increasing financial literacy across all age groups, including parents.”

The Pelham Public Library plans to partner with local schools and supplement their curriculums with programs that introduce themes of saving into the classroom, such as Bank on Books for elementary students, Poetry Alive for intermediate students, and Money on the Book Shelf for both intermediate and middle school students.

“Our ultimate goal is to teach children techniques and establish good financial habits they can carry with them,” said Roberts.

These programs are especially important in Alabama, Roberts explained, citing FINRA’s 2013 Financial Capability Study in which Alabamians scored lower than the national average on a financial literacy survey, answering fewer than three out of five questions correctly.

The Pelham Public Library has received much positive feedback since beginning the financial literacy programs in 2011. Roberts noted it was one of two libraries recognized in the 2011 ALA annual report for its “incredibly successful” programs.

“Parents are very supportive of the programs,” said Roberts. “They appreciate that they teach their children the value of a dollar.”

The Pelham Public Library plans to use the Smart investing@your library to create financial literacy programs that can be sustained through the future.