Marketing for Libraries
Patrons of Portage District Library Use ‘Muffins and the Market’ Investment Group
Staff members at the Portage District Library in Michigan go above and beyond for their patrons. One of their most successful programs is an investment and discussion group, Muffins and the Market. Business and reference librarian Nicolette Sosulski explains how the group sessions affect those patrons who look to further their knowledge of the investment world.
Almost four years ago, the group was introduced by Warren Fritz, a veteran investment broker who desired to teach fellow patrons how to use investment resources. The Portage staff shared his interest, forming the Muffins and the Market group. As Sosulski says, “I personally believe that the mission of a library must include educating the public enough to ask tough questions of the professionals with whom they interact–be they investment brokers, medical specialists, lawyers, et cetera.” Meeting twice every month, the group discusses a certain aspect of the market and investment information resources.
Participants have been very receptive to the program. A useful contributor to the meetings is Morningstar Investment Research Center. Stock and fund charts along with the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) examination in the analyst reports prove to be most valuable. Out of all the databases that the Portage library employs, patrons tend to lean toward Morningstar Investment Research Center for reliable financial resources.
Muffins and the Market is not the only successful program that attracts business and investing patrons to Portage District Library. Sosulski and the rest of the staff host an investment program geared for teens that uses National Endowment for Financial Education resources. Speakers from the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulators come to the library and offer one-on-one counseling for patrons. Sosulski also teaches a monthly market research class in addition to other services directed toward business patrons.
Why are Sosulski and the Portage District Library so intent on providing all these financial education services to their patrons? Because, she says, “Having this wealth of investment information and instruction made a dollars-and-sense, real-world difference to each of them.”
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