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Financial literacy resources in US public libraries: website analysis

Ash E. Faulkner (University Libraries, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 26 April 2022

Issue publication date: 22 November 2022




This article explores the financial literacy resources patrons can discover and/or access on the webpages of the largest 48 US public libraries in order to assess the strength of public libraries' current support to patrons seeking assistance with personal financial matters.


The author completed a website analysis of the largest 48 US public libraries, as defined by the four sets of criteria in the American Library Association (ALA) publication. Website analysis was completed via a standardized checklist assessment covering full-site searching, catalog content, the availability of relevant guides and/or workshops, and any other relevant online resources.


Public libraries provide many resources relevant to patrons searching for personal finance topics, but some of these resources are not ideally highlighted on libraries' websites. Site search tools are generally less efficient than catalog search tools. Only half of the studied libraries have relevant online guides, but all libraries have some relevant online resources.


While there are a number of research articles exploring how public libraries support financial literacy in their communities, there has not yet been an in-depth exploration of how public libraries support this literacy, specifically through the materials highlighted and/or available via their websites. This research addresses this gap in the literature.



Faulkner, A.E. (2022), "Financial literacy resources in US public libraries: website analysis", Reference Services Review, Vol. 50 No. 3/4, pp. 377-391.



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