Financial Literacy

What is Financial Literacy?

Financial Literacy is defined in slightly varying ways, but most definitions are much like this one from the National Financial Educators’ Council: “Possessing the skills and knowledge on financial matters to confidently take effective action that best fulfills an individual’s personal, family and global community goals.” (

ALA Resources

Financial Literacy (PLA)

Includes a large number of resources for library collection development and programming, as well as links to resources for individuals from government and consumer organizations. This collection of resources also has dedicated sections on significant topics such as home buying and retirement planning.

Financial Literacy Education in Libraries: Guidelines and Best Practices for Services (RUSA)

Published in 2014, this guide includes suggested program topics and outcomes.

Financial Literacy in Public Libraries: A Guide for Building Collections

This guide lists materials and resources about personal finance suitable for public libraries. The guide helps address gaps within the personal fiancé collections of public libraries.  It includes books, websites, magazines and journal articles, databases and professional development.

Keeping up With… Financial Literacy (ACRL)

This is one of several installments in the “Keeping up With” series created by ACRL. It offers a brief introduction to why financial literacy is so important and how libraries are beginning to address it.

Money Smart Week, an initiative of ALA and the Federal Reserve Bank (Chicago)

This annual observation is a great time to draw attention to matters surrounding financial literacy. This site provides information on the current year’s events and resources as well as links to resources form prior years.

Programming Librarian: Programs to Help Your Patrons Get Money-Smart

Resources designed to aid in planning programs for Money Smart Week.  There is also a financial literacy blog maintained by the Financial Literacy Interest Group (FLIG).

Rainy Day Ready: Financial Literacy Programs and Tools

Published in 2020, this book offers 16 model programs to help libraries plan and program financial literacy initiatives.

Resources for Adults

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

CFPB provides both consumers and educators with tools to help explain and plan for big financial goals. There is a resource page for librarians with archived webinars on financial literacy.

FINRA Investor Education Foundation

FINRA Investor Education Foundation funds and shares research to help educate Americans about finances to achieve their financial goals and protect them from financial fraud.

National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE)

NEFE provides researchers, educators, and advocates tools for helping individuals understand and improve their Personal Financial Ecosystem.

U.S. National Strategy for Financial Literacy 2020

This report by the Financial Literacy Education Commission provides best practices to increase financial literacy and education.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

The SEC provides information on investing and helping consumers avoid fraud. Their web site includes information on investment products, how the stock market works, and financial tools and calculators.  There is a resource page for librarians to receive bulletins and other publications.

Resources for Kids & Teens

Council for Economic Education

The Council for Economic Education provides resources and support to K-12 educators teach personal finance and economics.

FDIC: Money Smart for Young People

This site offers lesson plans and guides for children and teens. Activities are organized by age and include pre-made modules with instructor guides.

Jump$tart Clearinghouse

This site offers lesson plans and guides for children and teens. Activities are organized by age and include pre-made modules with instructor guides.

Teach Fin Lit

This site is dedicated to providing high school teachers with resources to teach financial literacy concepts in their classrooms.  Resources include books, articles, videos, and games.

Getting Involved

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) has a financial literacy interest group: