Last fall, Wake County Public Libraries received a two-year grant totaling $125,000 from PNC to support financial education programs for preschoolers and their parents and caregivers.
Monthly storytimes on the third week of most months began in January, part of the $mart Choice$, Great Fun series. They aim to help kids from an early age learn about making good choices and understanding values.
The lessons aren't just about money and finances. I stopped in at one of the storytimes in March at Cameron Village Regional Library in Raleigh where the librarian best known as Ms. Jane to the kids read and talked to them about making good nutrition choices.
Elena Owens, the regional library manager at West Regional Library, tells me past topics have included deciding what to wear each day. Later this year, the programs will focus on sharing; jobs and careers; and wants vs. needs, for instance.
"Those are building the foundation for making good choices," she said.
Library officials are using much of the grant, which runs through summer 2015, to pay for new books that support the themes of the storytimes and program. Many were lined up on a table for kids to check out after the March storytime. But the library also is using it to bring in performers for special programs and buy other resources for storytimes across the system, Owens said.
So far, the program has reached about 3,100 kids at Wake's regional libraries during its first two months and another 1,100 kids at local daycare centers during visits from Wake's Bookmobile.
In April, when there is a break in the usual storytime schedule, Wake libraries will host special programs as part of the series for both adults and kids.
For parents and other adults, the Literacy Council of Wake County will share information about the importance of saving, budgeting and managing money for families. They begin Wednesday, April 2, at West Regional Library from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and continue at the county's five other regional libraries through April 16.
For kids and their adults, the library system is bringing in Flow Circus, which will present "Juggling Money." Programs begin April 10, at East Regional Library, Cameron Village Regional Library and Southeast Regional. It moves to Southeast Regional Library on April 11, then Eva Perry Regional Library and West Regional Library on April 16.
For more information about the program, watch my video interview with Owens.