Financial literacy in public libraries – a model for non-formal education of adult library users
Libraries conduct a variety of educational activities for the residents of their local communities. Librarians are guides to knowledge and information for residents, which is particularly important in smaller centers where access to cultural and educational institutions is often difficult and the offer is not as extensive as in larger cities. However, they need to strengthen their trainer's workshop – methods and tools for conducting classes with adults.
Increasing financial awareness and strengthening the skills of using the offer of financial institutions is extremely important for people who make financial decisions on a daily basis that affect the lives and well-being of entire families. In partner countries of FINLIT project financial awareness of citizens is lower than the EU average (40/52%), and financial education for adults is not widely available and is not always adapted to the needs of users. This was the impetus for implementing the project.
The Financial Literacy through Public Libraries (FINLIT) project aims to provide librarians with the competence and skills to develop the financial literacy of older library users. The project results in comprehensive educational modules: a training course for librarian-educators as well as courses on financial literacy for library users with tips and educational materials available online.
This project is part of a longer strategy to raise the level of financial literacy among adults in Bulgaria, Poland, Romania and Slovenia. The development of an open training program for adult trainers and adult library users and the utilization of the potential of large public library networks, thus the successful implementation of the project, will have a long-term impact on the development of financial education not only in the target countries, but also at regional and European level.
In developing the educational modules, the specific situation in each partner country was taken into account. Different aspects of financial education practices and policies in Bulgaria, Poland, Romania and Slovenia have been analyzed. The analysis of the state of adult financial education is described in the "Mapping Report", which was developed by the 4 partners of the FINLIT project in 2020, based on surveys among librarians in these countries – in order to adjust the educational model to the existing needs as much as possible.
A financial education model was developed on the basis of which library staff can implement financial education for adult library users in their facilities. The project offers libraries open and free online courses for both librarians and library users – on the platform https://finlit.eu. Through these courses, library staff will be able to prepare themselves as guides to financial literacy, and library users will be able to increase their financial knowledge in order to consciously use the products offered in the financial services market, especially online. Libraries will be able to expand their educational offer for adults with classes on personal finance. On the educational platform of the finlit.eu project all necessary materials are available (after logging in).
The article provides access links to the English language version of the platform. In order to access materials in other languages, after entering https://finlit.eu, one has to choose a given language version (Bulgarian, Polish, Romanian, Slovenian or English).
- The Mapping Report – an overview of four very different situations in financial education and library systems in the partner countries. Full text of the Mapping Report
- Innovative online learning platform in four European languages (e-learning courses for librarians and library users and other materials are available after login) – https://finlit.eu
- Educational program on financial literacy for librarians-educators working with adults – description of the training path
- Financial literacy education program for adult users – program description
- Financial education in public libraries – a model of informal education for adult library users, publication
The project "Financial literacy through public libraries” (FINLIT) was implemented from 2018-2021 by the partnership of 4 countries: Global Libraries Bulgaria Foundation, Information Society Development Foundation (Poland), National and University Library Slovenia, "Ovid Densusianu" Hunedoara-Deva County Library from Romania and National Association of Public Librarians and Libraries in Romania (associate partner). The project is co-financed by the Erasmus+ Program of the European Union (Action 2: Strategic Partnerships/ Adult Education, No. 2018-1-PL01-KA204-050839).