The Panhandle Public Library Cooperative System (PPLCS) recently announced plans to expand the personal finance collection at the Marianna library, following receipt of a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation (FINRA Foundation).
The additional tools and resources will give residents information they’ll need when making critical money decisions as they repair, rebuild, and clean up following Hurricane Michael.
“When disaster strikes, the community comes together,” said Administrator Mary Balint. “We want everyone to know that the Library is both a welcoming convening place and a location where our families can obtain unbiased information to guide financial choices that will have lasting impact.”
Filing claims, accessing government resources, managing lump-sum payments from insurance companies, and meeting immediate expenses when income might be disrupted — these are just a few of the money challenges that residents in disaster areas must navigate.
FINRA Foundation President Gerri Walsh noted, “Many of us lack experience with these decisions. Nonetheless, we have to get it right the first time around or face long-term financial consequences. Fortunately, the Library has information that can help.”
The expanded personal finance collection at the Marianna Library is made possible by a $5,000 grant from the FINRA Foundation. For more than a decade, the FINRA Foundation has provided funding, staff training and programs to build the capacity of public libraries to address the financial education needs of people nationwide. Much of this has been accomplished in partnership with the American Library Association through a program known as “Smart investing @ your library®.”
The FINRA Foundation is also providing the library with multimedia materials that explain the red flags of financial fraud and what people can do to be vigilant and counter the persuasion tactics that fraudsters use.
It is estimated that consumer financial fraud costs Americans more than $50 billion a year, according to FINRA Foundation research. Financial fraud is especially prevalent following major natural disasters. Since it was established in 2005, the National Center for Disaster Fraud, which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice, has logged more than 70,000 disaster-related complaints from all 50 states. Financial fraud makes tough times all the more difficult for people recovering from the trauma inflicted by disasters.
The FINRA Foundation has issued an Alert with practical guidance to help residents protect themselves from fraudulent schemes.
Walsh observed, “Recovery follows disaster, but the path to recovery can be smooth or very bumpy. And financial fraud can be one of the biggest potholes along that road. The Marianna Library has information to help people avoid the financial potholes and bring the route to recovery into sharper focus.”
The Marianna Library is located at 2929 Green Street and is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Tuesdays, it is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The new books on financial topics include options for children, teens, and adults.
The FINRA Foundation supports innovative research and educational projects that give Americans the knowledge, skills, and tools to make sound financial decisions throughout life. For more information about FINRA Foundation initiatives, visit finrafoundation.org.