November 21, 2017

Lauren Reiter | Movers & Shakers 2016 – Advocates

Lauren Reiter

CURRENT POSITION

Business & Economics Librarian, Pennsylvania State University, University Park

DEGREE

MLIS, University of Pittsburgh, 2012

FOLLOW

libraries.psu.edu/psul/business/sfec.html; psu.libguides.com/financial-literacy; financialliteracy.psu.edu/moneycounts

Photo ©2016 Shawn G. Henry

Loan Literate

Even though she worked as a corporate analyst before becoming a business librarian, college hadn’t prepared Lauren Reiter for personal money management. So when she heard discussions at Penn State seeking ways to address rising student debt and the lack of basic financial literacy, Reiter jumped at the opportunity. “I recognized the need for financial literacy education among college students and also the potential for the library to take a leading role,” she says.

Starting with a financial literacy resource guide for students, Reiter partnered with two faculty members specializing in consumer issues and financial literacy. Together, they collaborated in 2013 with Penn State alumni and corporate partners to offer a series of student programs at the library for Financial Literacy Month. These April programs evolved into monthly MoneyCounts presentations, covering a variety of financial topics, and have been attended by more than 1,000 people; online recordings have been viewed about 3,100 times.

MoneyCounts attracted student government leaders who worked with Reiter and the university libraries to establish the Student Financial Education Center in 2014, where students are trained to work one-on-one with other students, Reiter says. “The peer educators are able to make money management immediately relatable to other students, which is no small feat.”

Her efforts have resulted in the establishment of an endowment for financial education at Penn State, says associate dean Anne Langley, which is further funding Reiter’s financial literacy initiative.

Reiter has only just begun. Next, she says, she’s interested in “track[ing] the long-term impact of her efforts, the lifelong application of financial literacy skills, and continued engagement in financial learning.”

This article was published in Library Journal's March 15, 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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