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Financial Literacy in Public Libraries: A Guide for Building Collections: Introduction

This guide was created by the ALA Office of Research & Evaluation, and funded by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. [New books added 3/07/2019]

Defintion of Personal Finance Capability

“Financial capability is the capacity, based on knowledge, skills, and access, to manage financial resources prudently and effectively. Efforts to improve financial capability, which should be based on evidence of effectiveness, empower individuals to make informed choices, plan and set goals, avoid pitfalls, know where to seek help, and take other actions to better their present and long-term financial well-being”[1]

[1] Executive order--establishing the president’s advisory council on financial capability for Young Americans. (2013, June 25). Retrieved August 8, 2016, from


The following personal finance subject areas are included in this guide:

  • General Personal Financial Management
  • Budgeting
  • Banking
  • Saving and Spending
  • Credit and Debt
  • Managing Financial Hardship
  • Taxes
  • Insurance
  • Real Estate
  • Family Finance
  • Financial Literacy for Children
  • Teen Finance
  • Financing College
  • Investing
  • Retirement
  • Estate Planning
  • Consumer Protection and Fraud Prevention
  • Identity Theft

Call Numbers

Dewey Decimal Classification ranges: 332.024 – 640.73

Library of Congress Call Range: HG -TX

Selection Criteria

This guide lists materials and resources about personal finance suitable for public libraries. The guide helps to address gaps within the personal finance collections of public libraries and, ultimately, enhance financial capability in the community.

The guide offers two levels of collection development: the essential collection for libraries seeking to provide patrons with a solid knowledge base for making sound financial decisions, and the in-depth collection for libraries serving communities that have demonstrated greater demand and interest in personal finance topics. The in-depth collection encompasses the essential collection in its entirety:

The guide lists resources that are pertinent to personal finance in the United States. In addition, this guide identifies materials and resources appropriate for children, teen, adult, and senior audiences. Materials are limited to those available in English and with publication dates ranging from 2010 to present. The guide gives preference to government and nonprofit sources of information. The following formats are included: books, eBooks, databases, and websites. Books were selected based on WorldCat holdings, reviews, authority and date of publication, and cost. eBooks were selected on the same criteria as print books. Websites were picked based on its content clarity for consumers. Magazines were selected based on its detail to subject area, and authority. Databases were selected based on previous usage and knowledge.

Highly technical materials, scholarly studies, self-published materials and materials focusing on entrepreneurship and small business development are not covered by this guide. 

Director, Library & Research Center

PDF Copy of Resource Guide

LibGuide Updated 10/24/2017.