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"Thinking Money for Kids" designed for younger and older visitors

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FARMINGTON — Farmington Public Library director Karen McPheeters and her staff have tried in vain in the past to secure a grant that would allow the facility to bring in a nationally traveling exhibition designed to teach children and their families how to develop and cultivate the skill of dealing with money.

But their efforts have been rewarded with the arrival of "Thinking Money for Kids" at the library, as the institution finally secured a grant for the show from the American Library Association and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation.

The exhibition opens with a reception at 4 p.m. Feb. 21 and remains on display at the library, 2101 Farmington Ave., through March 19.

 "We have tried for this grant for multiple years," a smiling McPheeters said Feb. 20 as library employees worked to install the show in the Multipurpose Room. "We went all out in this application."

McPheeters believes the exhibition will be of great use to the community, since so many local residents struggle to keep their heads above water financially. Despite its title, the show is geared just as much toward adults as it is to children, offering many valuable lessons in how individuals and families can put and keep their financial house in order.

"The facts are the same for children and adults," McPheeters said. "It's not just for kids."

She described the show as a museum display wrapped in a museum display that teaches financial literacy. The inner ring includes four interactive displays designed for younger visitors, while the outer ring offers visual displays geared toward adults. The subjects covered in the show include such topics as developing and sticking to a budget, the consequences of financial decisions, distinguishing between wants and needs, how to avoid debt and how to prepare for the random financial setbacks that everyone experiences.

Those issues are addressed through entertaining videos, touch screens, games and visual displays built around real-life situations. The exhibition also includes a video prepared by FINRA that will be played continuously on the big screen in the Multipurpose Room.

Over the course of the exhibition's stay at the library, several related events are planned, including an overview of financial literacy called "Money @ Your Library at 6 p.m. Feb. 25, the creation of mazes by cartoonist Joe Wos at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 27, a budgeting 101 workshop called "Know Your Money at 6 p.m. March 5, a program by consultant Mark Lautman called "What It Takes to End Poverty" at 6 p.m. March 12, and a saving and investing seminar called "Grow Your Money" at 6 p.m. March 17.

"This lets us show off some of the many (resources) we have at the library that are free, McPheeters said, explaining that the institution can help someone figure out how to obtain a GED, take an ACT preparation test or figure out how to take a state certification test.

With New Mexico ranking as one of the poorer states in the country and San Juan County officials struggling to find ways to diversify the local economy, McPheeters figures "Thinking Money for Kids" is the kind of attraction that can both entertain and inform library users.

"We're experiencing some hard times," she said. "People are facing these kinds of decisions, and may some of the resources we have will help them."

Visit infoway.org or call 505-599-1270 for more information.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/216TU0e

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