An upcoming traveling exhibition designed to give children and adults common-sense lessons about dollars and cents is making its only central Ohio stop at the Westland Area Library.
The kickoff event for "Thinking Money for Kids" will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27, at the library, 4740 W. Broad St., Columbus. The exhibit's run at Westland will extend through Oct. 2.
Westland is one of 50 U.S. public libraries -- and one of three in Ohio -- that will be host to the exhibit between 2019 and 2021.
The 1,000-square-foot exhibition is designed to teach children between the ages of 7-11, their parents, caregivers and educators, about financial literacy topics, said Mary Allen, the Westland Library's youth-services manager.
The library successfully applied to hold the exhibit and to receive a $1,000 grant that would support exhibition-related programming Westland staff members are planning, Allen said.
"Thinking Money for Kids" is sponsored by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation and the American Library Association.
The FINRA is a not-for-profit organization charged by Congress to regulate the securities industry, said Robert Ganem, FINRA's senior program director.
"A lot of people think we are part of the government, but we are not," he said.
The foundation was established in 2004 to promote financial capability in the United States, Ganem said.
The ALA and FINRA Foundation have worked together since 2007 to support efforts providing public library patrons resources and information about personal finance and investing, he said.
The Thinking Money for Kids exhibit follows a previous touring display geared toward teens and their parents that reached 50 libraries throughout the country, Ganem said.
Because this exhibit is designed for younger children, it "is very hands-on with a lot of multimedia elements and online learning opportunities with animation and feedback about the financial choices the children are making in the activities," he said.
The exhibit is designed to make learning about money fun for children, Allen said.
"I just feel that financial literacy should start at an early age, so you can be prepared as you grow to become an adult who understands money," she said.
"We, as a library, thought it would be a great opportunity for this area to experience this exhibit and get a jump start on financial literacy."
The museum-quality exhibit explores what is money, how one earns money, saving and spending, and money values such as fairness, charity and making responsible financial decisions, Allen said.
"It's quite a display, with lots of elements that both children and adults are going to enjoy," she said.
Nearly 130 libraries applied to host the exhibition, Ganem said.
"It was a very competitive process," he said.
Libraries were evaluated based on a number of criteria, including whether they already provide financial-education programs for their patrons or have a strong interest in doing so; their commitment to meeting the educational needs of children and the creativity of their public programs, Ganem said.
An emphasis was also put on selecting libraries serving rural, urban and suburban areas and libraries serving communities with below-average median income levels, he said.
Four versions of the exhibit will travel concurrently throughout the country during the next two years, Ganem said.
Westland is one of the first four libraries that will feature the exhibit.
The library's kickoff event will include refreshments, a craft and a chance for youngsters to earn "library bucks" they will be able to use during the exhibition period to purchase items, including pencils, erasers, crayons and coloring books, from a library store, Allen said.
"The library store will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Saturday through the exhibition," she said. "Kids can earn 'library bucks' by attending and participating in activities and events. They'll use the bucks to buy items from the store."
Only library bucks will be needed to shop at the store, Allen said.
Children ages 5-12 are invited to visit at 11 a.m. Sept. 14 for Spend to Create, a craft activity.
"They'll be given an 'allowance' they can spend to 'purchase' materials they'll use to make their own special craft," Allen said. "They'll have to decide how to allocate their allowance to get the supplies they need."
A Savings Jar Workshop for teens will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17. Participants will decorate a jar they can keep to store the money they earn and save and will receive tips on saving money. Registration is required by calling the library's youth services department at 614-878-1301, ext. 232.
Movies with a money theme will be offered for both children and adults.
At 3 p.m. each Saturday in September, children will be able to watch films that include "Richie Rich," "Brewster's Millions," "Toy Story 2" and "Up."
Movies for a more mature audience will be screened at 6 p.m. Sept. 4, 11 and 18. These include "Slumdog Millionaire," "The Pursuit of Happyness" and "Jerry Maguire."
"Children can attend those screenings as long as they are accompanied by a parent," Allen said.
Adults can participate in roundtable discussions about financial issues at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, and Sept. 5, 12 and 19.
The topics will include "Allowances for Parents," "To Buy or Not to Buy," "Creative Thrifting" and "Investing 101," Allen said.
A personal-finance workshop, led by a representative from the Ohio State University Extension program, will be offered from 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 15.
The exhibition is an ideal way for the Westland Library to use and show off its newly expanded youth-services department, assistant director Michele Lowe said.
The 3,600-square-foot addition to the department opened to the public in March, she said.
"Late last year, it was just a concrete floor and wall studs and staff were only dreaming of all the ways they would put the space to good use," Lowe said.
"There's no way we would have had the room to host this exhibit without the expansion," Allen said.
"Our goal for the exhibit is to simply provide members of the community with opportunities to think about their current financial circumstances, consider ways they can improve those circumstances or obtain financial goals and guide their children in learning about money so they can dream big and hopefully obtain their own goals one day," Lowe said.