The Haywood County Public Library plans to expand its personal finance collections following the receipt of a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation (FINRA Foundation).
The additional resources will help ensure that residents have the information they need when making critical money decisions as they repair, rebuild and clean up.
“When disaster strikes, the community comes together,” said Library Director Kathy Vossler. “The Haywood County Public Library provides residents with 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 collections at the HCPL are made possible by a $5,000 grant from the FINRA Foundation. For nearly 15 years, 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®.
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 220,000 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.
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 Haywood County Public Library has information to help people avoid the financial potholes and bring the route to recovery into sharper focus.” As a result of the grant, the Library is adding both print and digital materials to all branch collections.
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.