Just about the time many central Ohioans are getting their tax returns, the Columbus Metropolitan Library system is offering free financial help.

Just about the time many central Ohioans are getting their tax returns, the Columbus Metropolitan Library system is offering free financial help.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at the main library downtown, 96 S. Grant Ave., a full slate of industry professionals will offer advice on home ownership, rebuilding credit, the benefits of saving money and shopping tips.

Registration is not necessary. Free care will be provided for children ages 3 through 9.

Participating financial institutions include Chase, Fifth Third, Huntington, Key Bank and PNC.

"We aren't well-known for our expertise on finance, but we are well-known for our expertise in connecting our customers with valuable information," said Kim Snell, media relations coordinator for the library system. "By partnering with so many strong, reputable, finance-focused organizations in the community and offering this free daylong event, we are doing our part to bring that valuable knowledge to our customers."

At 11 a.m., nationally syndicated columnist and author Michelle Singletary will participate in a question-and-answer session and sign copies of her book, "Spend Well, Live Rich: How to Get What You Want with the Money You Have."

The financial literacy effort is part of a new strategic plan for the library, which seeks ways to help customers focus on life skills, Snell said. The library system has provided career training and computer help, with the goal of offering health education in the future, she said. This year, the library began a series of financial literacy classes for preschoolers.

Patrick Losinski, executive director of the library system, said the April 21 workshops are geared toward people of all income levels.

"This particular effort helps not only the folks who really struggle in the down economy but also those who are gainfully employed," he said. "For those who are employed, they may need certain financial strategies if they are just starting out in a career. Others who are either mid-career or nearing retirement are likely to have a whole different set of financial literacy needs."