Finances in focus at libraries

As national leaders contemplate how to avert a fiscal cliff, Dakota County libraries are offering free “Know Your Money” classes geared to arm attendees with financial information for all life stages.

Through April, series topics include how to navigate family financial decisions, long-term savings, investment concepts, stretching food dollars, avoiding frauds and scams and understanding credit.

Some high-profile financial experts are part of the series, including Chris Farrell, economics editor for American Public Media’s “Marketplace Money” show and author of “The New Frugality: How to Consume Less, Save More, and Live Better.”

He will discuss finance trends, smart money management and keeping a healthy budget on Tuesday, Dec. 4, from 7 to 8 p.m. at Burnhaven Library, 1101 W. County Road 42 in Burnsville.

The series also includes keynote speaker Gail Marks Jarvis, the Chicago Tribune’s award-winning personal finance columnist.

Jarvis will discuss making the most of your money at the Saturday, April 20, Know Your Money resource fair from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Galaxie Library, 14955 Galaxie Ave., Apple Valley.

The fair will include workshops, information on local financial support and a prize drawing.

Dakota County was one of a handful of library systems around the country to receive a $69,000 grant, through the American Library Association and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, said Ken Behringer, Dakota County Library director.

He said many classes will cover topics that are frequently raised by patrons at library reference desks.

“We thought there would be a lot of people interested in these kind of classes,” Behringer said. “We like to be associated with high-quality programs that return value to people for the tax investment they make to the county and library.”

From June through October, the series offered classes for children to learn about money that included topics like understanding money and smart shopping.

For a list of adult classes offered, go to and click the “libraries” tab.