Hello Readers! And happy Money Smart Week! As you may or may not know, Money Smart Week, or MSW for short (or M$W if you are awesome like me writing it on my calendar haha) is a public awareness campaign designed to promote financial literacy. In existence since 2002, it has finally made its way to prison! (Not surprising, as we are 10+ years behind on a lot of things, including my work computer's version of Microsoft Office 2003. Mintern had to literally re-learn it because she was barely even born when that version came out.)
Anyway, I am so happy to finally have the opportunity to do some MSW programs for our patrons, and if your administrators are ok with it, I highly recommend doing some MSW programming for your facilities next year.
This week our plans included a financial literacy movie which discussed women and money specifically. It was on Sunday, and despite some snafus with staffing, Mintern was able to pull it off AND have the library open. Way to go Mintern! :-) We were a little sketchy about the movie because it was released in 2008 and we all know about the Great Recession in 2008... But we discovered it is still being sold on the PBS website so we assigned a project to one of our detail-oriented clerks to watch the movie and determine if it had a bunch of sound financial advice, or if it promoted investing in sub-prime mortgages or some other financial shenanigans. She reported that it was sound and was actually very informative, so we decided to go with it.
Another thing we are doing all week is Money Jeopardy, which was invented by Mintern. Since we have SO MUCH cardboard in the library (I *may* be a hoarder. Don't judge me.) she designed a giant board with flip-up panels that have the answers in the form of a question and patrons can fill out an answer sheet and we are going to give prizes to the top 60 patrons. So basically if you participate you have a good chance of getting at least a notepad, and everyone who plays will get a bookmark. We also discussed taking one of our mustache bookmarks and cutting it out and taping it to Mintern's face and then she would walk around wearing a name tag that says "Ms. Trebek" and sing the Jeopardy theme song... :-)
Our third and main event is a guest speaker who is going to talk about how to plan for your future, which is so important for our patrons because they are oftentimes living hand-to-mouth and usually supporting children. Usually guest speakers hosted by the library don't have that great of a turn-out but this event had 87 people sign up (I was expecting maybe 10. Maybe.) and I had at least 20 people ask if they could still come even if they didn't sign up. The speaker also happens to be one of my best friends (one way to succeed in prison programs-ask your friends if they want to come share their expertise. Then, reward them with wine! But not prison wine, because that's just nasty.) who is a professional retirement specialist. In prison, there is not that much money for programs, so USE YOUR RESOURCES. Plus, it makes people feel good to help people, so unless they are professional motivational speakers (one was paid $4,000 to come speak at prison last year. Holy S***! Do you know that that is my ENTIRE book budget for the year??? But I digress...) they will usually come and speak for free.
We are also displaying all of our financial literacy materials on table displays rather than on the shelves, so hopefully that will increase circulation because they are right by the door. Finally, I think I am going to find some puzzles to print too, because people always want free puzzles. Remember, passive programs are programs too!
I hope you enjoyed the glimpse into what prison library programming looks like. We may not have the biggest budget, but we are nothing if not resourceful, so I think it will be good.
Until next time!