In his remarks last week at the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Director Cordray spoke about the partnerships that the CFPB is building with public libraries around the country to promote accessible financial education information for consumers.
Director Cordray noted that the Columbus Metropolitan Library system was one of the first nine public libraries from across the country that joined the CFPB’s national pilot project. (Although Director Cordray stated in his remarks that the nine libraries joined the project “about a year and a half ago,” he announced the project’s launch and the nine libraries’ participation in remarks given in Chicago about nine months ago in April 2014.) According to Director Cordray, more than 360 library systems in 48 states, with more than 1,700 branches, have now signed up for the project.
In his remarks, Director Cordray discussed the important role played by public libraries in our society and referred to a statistic showing that one out of four people who sign on to a library computer does so to take care of commercial needs or financial matters. Director Cordray stated that the CFPB’s goal “is to help the library become the go-to place for people to learn more about how to deal with their financial affairs” through initiatives that include helping libraries (1) identify and connect with local partners in their own communities that can provide information and expertise, and (2) build online communities for librarians to learn and share more about financial education. The CFPB is also providing training for library staff and managers.
As we have previously commented, the CFPB’s plan to help libraries become providers of financial education information makes eminent sense and deserves wide-spread support. We are glad to learn that the CFPB is making steady progress in implementing that plan.