Special to the Opelika Observer

The Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library is pleased to announce plans to expand its personal finance collections following acceptance of a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.

The additional tools and resources will help ensure that residents have the information they need when making critical money decisions as they repair, rebuild and clean up following the March 3 tornadoes that devasted parts of Lee County.

“We want everyone to know that the library is both a welcoming convening place and a location where our families can obtain unbiased information to guide financial choices that will have a lasting impact. The library has information to help people avoid financial potholes,” said library director Rosanna McGinnis.

Filing claims, accessing government resources, managing lump-sum payments from insurance companies and meeting immediate expenses when income might be disrupted — these are just a few of the money challenges that residents in disaster areas must navigate.

The expanded personal finance collections at the library are made possible by a $5,000 grant from the FINRA Foundation. For more than 12 years, the FINRA Foundation has provided funding, staff training and programs to build the capacity of public libraries to address the financial education needs of people nationwide. Much of this has been accomplished in partnership with the American Library Association through a program known as smartinvesting@yourlibrary®.

The FINRA Foundation is also providing the library with multimedia materials that explain the red flags of financial fraud and what people can do to be vigilant and counter the persuasion tactics that fraudsters use.

Financial fraud is especially prevalent following major natural disasters. Since it was established in 2005, the National Center for Disaster Fraud, which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice, has logged more than 92,000 disaster-related complaints from all 50 states. Financial fraud makes tough times all the more difficult for people recovering from the trauma inflicted by disasters.

The FINRA Foundation has issued an Alert with practical guidance to help residents protect themselves from fraudulent schemes. (See: www.SaveAndInvest.org/disaster-fraud-Alabama.) For more information, contact Rosanna McGinnis 334-705-5380