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Author Archives: Mary Jo Ryan
Librarians Encouraged to Promote New NET Production “Yours, Willa Cather” on Radio, Television and Digital
Willa Cather wrote some of the most unforgettable fiction of the 20th century including the novels My Antonia and O Pioneers! But the voice of the private Willa Cather tells a much more personal story. Until recently, many scholars believed that Nebraska author Willa Cather burned most of her letters before her death. Not so. In the new NET Television documentary and NET Radio series, the private person is revealed through letters that survived, hidden away in drawers, trunks and archives.
The NET Television premiere is 9:00 – 9:30 p.m. CT, Monday, Sept. 21. The NET Radio series begins Saturday, Sept. 5 and runs through Sunday, Sept. 27. Nebraskans can listen Saturdays at 9:35 a.m. CT (Sept. 5, 12, 19 and 26) and Sundays at 4:35 p.m. CT (Sept. 6, 13, 20 and 27) on NET Radio.
Based on the 2013 book The Selected Letters of Willa Cather, co-edited by University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor Andrew Jewell and Texas scholar Janis Stout, the NET project has created original video, audio, photography, and commentary. New digital resources including a companion website and e-book will soon be launched. Visit catherletters.org later in September.
The documentary was produced by NET’s Christine Lesiak who also contributed to the 2005 American Masters production of “Willa Cather – The Road is All,” which aired nationally on PBS. The voice of Willa Cather is read by actress Marg Helgenberger of Fremont, known for her Emmy-nominated role on the commercial television series “CSI.”
“Yours, Willa Cather” is funded in part by the NET Foundation for Television, Humanities Nebraska and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The Nebraska Latino American Commission invites the youth of Nebraska to participate in the Ninth Annual Hispanic Heritage Month State Commemoration Essay Contest. The theme revolves around a quote from influential leader Julian Castro, former mayor of San Antonio, current Secretary of U.S. Housing & Urban Development. Students are asked to write about what his words and Hispanic Heritage Month mean to them.
“In the end, the American dream is not a sprint, or even a marathon, but a relay. Our families don’t always cross the finish line in the span of one generation. But each generation passes on to the next the fruits of their labor.”
Please note that eligibility requirements are inclusive: Students of all ethnicities currently enrolled in a Nebraska public, private, home school or magnet school (grades 6 – 12). Entries welcome in English or Spanish, and must include a signed entry form. More information at http://www.latinoac.nebraska.gov/
All essays due by Thursday, September 17, 2015 at 5 P.M. Essays and entry forms may be submitted by email to Jasel.Cantu@nebraska.gov, via fax at 402-471-4381, or mailed to:
Nebraska Latino American Commission
ATT: Hispanic Heritage Month Essay Contest
P.O. Box 94965
Lincoln, NE 68509-4965
Public Information Officer
Latino American Commission
Nebraska State Capitol
6th Floor, PO Box 94965
Lincoln, NE 68509-4965
The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) announced the availability of Curiosity Creates, a new grant to help fund creativity programming in public libraries. Your library could be one of 77 lucky recipients of a $7,500 grant to encourage creativity for children ages 6-14. The grants may be used to expand existing programming and/or create new opportunities for children to explore their creativity.
- Applicants must be public libraries; individual branches within a library system are welcome to apply separately.
- Publicly funded community-based local library systems and branches in the United States are eligible to apply. (Includes all 50 states and Puerto Rico)
- Grantees may be invited to participate in the development of a best practices publication for creativity programing in libraries. Selected grantees will be expected to participate in interviews and/or site visits by a consultant who will be developing this publication.
- Projects should be for the development and implementation of a program or series of programs to serve children ages 6 to 14.
- Projects should focus on one or more of the following seven critical components of creativity:
1) Imagination & Originality 2) Flexibility 3) Decision- Making 4) Communication & Self-Expression 5) Collaboration 6) Motivation 7) Action & Movement
Selection Criteria Includes:
- Creativity components addressed
- Program reach (including diversity, inclusion and community partnerships)
- Project design and replicability
Grant website: http://www.ala.org/alsc/curiositycreates
Angela N. Hubbard Program Officer, Projects & Partnerships Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) email@example.com (312) 280-1398
School library advocacy packs containing tools to spread the word about the many ways school librarians are transforming teaching and learning are now freely available through the ALA online store. Generously sponsored by Bound to Stay Bound Books (BTSB), these specially created packs are available while supplies last. Valued at $29.99, school library advocates pay only for shipping.
Enrollment is now open for Central Community College online courses in Library and Information Services (http://www.cccneb.edu/library/).
Fall 2015 courses include:
LIBR 1010 Foundations of Library and Information Services, Marty Magee, Instructor
This course, the recommended first in the Library and Information Services curriculum, provides introductory information in multiple areas including the history of libraries, foundational principles, databases and websites, library technology use, programming and changing library roles.
LIBR 2250 Leadership & Management in Library & Information Agencies, Michael Straatmann, Instructor
This course includes the theories, concepts and activities integral to leading and managing 21st Century libraries and information agencies.
LIBR 2940 Library and Information Services Capstone Practicum, Erica Rose, Instructor
This capstone course is the last course in the Library & Information Services program. Students will complete forty hours of service learning in a host library. The course also includes a review of the principle pieces of learning from the LIS program. Prerequisites: LIBR 1010, 2100, 2150, 2210, & 2250
For information concerning Admissions or Registration, contact Dee Johnson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 402-562-1418 or Toll Free at 877-222-0780.
Along with Rod Wagner, Sherry Crow and Sally Snyder, I’m attending the Symposium on Education in Nebraska–and the focus is Opportunity and Access. There is a great deal of interest in how digital resources expand opportunities, and access is at the heart of this. And since libraries are all about access, we can be at the center of this movement.
Dr. Gary Lopez, presented the keynote address on the NROC project to develop and distribute digital resources for education—lessons, courses, curricula. He stressed that the project has an open access philosophy, developing digital resources for millions of students from middle school to college.
NROC http://www.thenrocproject.org ) developed specific digital resources & curriculum…Math and English for starters…to address the achievement gap in education. Addressing achievement gap by transitioning the one-size-fits-all system of education to an adaptable system…from analog to digital should mean that learning can be personalized to individuals—assuring that student feedback drives repetition to address specific gaps. Personalized learning is adjusting the pace (individualization), approach (differentiation) and connection to the student’s learning interest and experiences. Resources are available through hippocampus.org and edready.org. Comment below about your reaction to the library role in this evolving change in education and learning.
“NROC” started as the National Repository of Online Courses. Now we are much more. The NROC Project is a national, non-profit movement impacting college & career readiness. Our project is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The William and Hewlett Foundation, and most importantly by NROC members across the country. Our member institutions represent more than 6 million students from middle school to college across the U.S. We are leaders who believe in open and equal access to education and the power of new media to personalize learning. Together, we’re building content and applications to impact student success and delivering them publicly at websites like HippoCampus and EdReady.
What is Techboomers.com? Techboomers.com is a free educational website that teaches older adults and other inexperienced Internet users with basic computer skills about websites that can help improve their quality of life. The courses are free and many libraries and other technology education organizations are using them to teach their students.
These are the top 10 most popular courses:
1) Facebook: http://www.techboomers.com/p/facebook 
2) Netflix: http://www.techboomers.com/p/netflix
3) Skype: http://www.techboomers.com/p/Skype
4) Twitter: http://www.techboomers.com/p/twitter
5) Google Search: http://www.techboomers.com/p/Google-search
6) WedMD: http://www.techboomers.com/p/webmd
7) Ancestry: http://www.techboomers.com/p/ancestry
8) Google Maps (including Google Earth): http://www.techboomers.com/p/google-maps
9) Amazon: http://www.techboomers.com/p/Amazon
10) Etsy: http://www.techboomers.com/p/etsy
Check them out and comment below RE: whether you think your library customers would find these useful.
Friday Reads: Leaving the Pink House: A Memoir, by Ladette Randolph
The voyeur in me loves to read a good memoir and to snoop through other people’s houses. Even though I may talk a lot about the recent Masterpiece Theatre public television offering, House Hunters is one of my secret guilty pleasures. Leaving the Pink House: A Memoir by Ladette Randolph offers both the great memoir and the opportunity to poke around in various houses that the author lived in throughout her life. And it offers a lot more. I’ve read other books by this author so I was prepared for her careful, sparse, lovely writing. I might not have been prepared for how much the story of her life grabbed me and touched me.
I devoured the sections of the book that detail the remodeling project that compelled Randolph and her husband to leave the pink house (their previous remodeling project). The realistic descriptions of the planning, decision-making, and execution required in the remaking of their country home seem to mirror the internal remaking that was going on in their family. And anyone that has undertaken a home remodel can identify with that. Not to get all “pop-psychology” here, but our images of house and home really might reflect our sense of self—as suggested by Freudian and Jungian dream analysis.
“Renovating a house requires intimacy with a building. By time you’ve stripped wallpaper, pulled up carpets, removed cabinets, washed, sanded, and painted walls and woodwork, you know the lines and features of a house as you might the body of a lover. Our level of approaching intimacy with the country house, though, was less like that of a lover than like that of a forensic scientist.” (P. 61)*
I love that the sections on the remodeling project are interspersed with chapters that inform us about the author by reflecting on her life in previous homes. On the surface, the story seems to progress through the various homes that Randolph inhabited throughout her life, but below the surface she explores the relationships those homes sheltered and the different person she was as she lived in each of those homes. I know the author—a little bit—and I confess that might make this memoir even more enticing. I only know her as a snapshot in time. The revelation of her past life in the chapters of this book really surprised me. It reminded me that we may not really know that much about our acquaintances and colleagues. It reminded me that delving into another person’s life can uncover depths of beauty, but sadness too. Learning about another person’s journey can help us examine our own. Could that be the real appeal of House Hunters?
*Leaving the Pink House: A Memoir, by Ladette Randolph, University Of Iowa Press; 1 edition (September 1, 2014)
Nebraska Library Commission staff look forward to joining Nebraska librarians at the upcoming NE Library Association Public Library and Trustee Section Spring Meetings: April 22 in Alliance, April 23 in Kearney, and April 24 in Columbus. Presenter Valerie Gross, President and CEO of the Howard County Library System in Maryland, will help us examine the strategy of aligning our libraries with the educational mission of our communities to help us tell the story of “Who We Are, What We Do, Why It Matters: Why Nebraska Needs Libraries More than Ever!”
We’ll be staffing a table to share materials to help you reposition your library as a community education resource and your library staff as educators, including:
Books Are Just the Beginning…check out this blog that can direct any Nebraskan to your library and help illustrate the many ways libraries function as educational resources at http://booksarejustthebeginning.com/
Online Self-Directed Education…learn about Skillsoft online classes funded by the Nebraska Library Commission to help train library staff to serve as community educators (http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ce/), United for Libraries (http://www.ala.org/united/nebraska) resources funded by the Nebraska Library Commission for training Trustees/Friends/Foundations, and the Nebraska Library Commission budget request to provide self-directed education programs for all Nebraska residents through their local library (http://nlc.nebraska.gov/stats/online_selfdirected_education_2015.pdf)
Nebraska eReads…pick up materials to tell your community about downloadable eBook and audio book resources (http://nlc.nebraska.gov/stats/eReads.pdf) or print your own at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/overdrive/overdriveinfo.aspx#mm
Nebraska Memories…find out how these digitized historical and cultural resources can illustrate the role of the library in assisting a variety of learners and researchers of all ages, see http://memories.ne.gov/.
NebraskAccess…check out the posters and business cards that you can print with your library password and share with learners in your community to help reinforce the message of how integral libraries are to the community learning environment—customize and print at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskaccess/promotingdb.aspx
Nebraska Public Libraries are Equalizers…see how statistics can be used to tell the story of how your public library responds to the needs in your community and serves specific target audiences with educational resources, along with instructive and enlightening experiences, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/stats/general_2015.pdf
NCompass E-Newslist…Keep up with news from the Nebraska Library Commission to help you enhance your library’s visibility by signing up to receive our short weekly email at http://eepurl.com/HSkX
Registration now to take part in the Nebraska Library Transitional Leadership Institute scheduled to begin on Monday, August 10, 2015. This Transitional Institute, held at the St. Benedict Retreat Center near Schuyler, will be an intensive five-day session open to previous NE Library Leadership Institute (NELLI) graduates and mentors to begin the process of envisioning what future library leadership development will look like in Nebraska while receiving additional leadership training. A non-refundable $300 fee for participants will be payable upon selection to attend.
The Institute will be facilitated by Becky Schreiber and John Shannon who have worked with the Nebraska Library Leadership Institute for the past fourteen years as well as “Snowbird” in Utah and state institutes in Alaska, California’s esteemed “Eureka!” Leadership Institute, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Australia’s “Aurora.” Schreiber and Shannon have done a great deal of consultation work with libraries, and understand the needs and challenges of the library world; and we are pleased to have them back to help in this transitional year.
Sessions at the Institute will include multi-generational issues, stages of leadership, building your personal brand and your legacy, assertiveness in critical relationships, and building Learning Libraries to encourage innovation. A tentative schedule may be found at http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/nebraskalibraries.site-ym.com/resource/resmgr/NLLI/NLLI_Revised_schedule.pdf. On Thursday, August 13, in order to have as much input from those across the state as possible, the Institute will grow to 100 attendees and as we look at the past, present and future of library leadership, celebrate our successes, review current needs and invite additional information for the future vision, including actions required to transition into future leadership development for the state. If you are unable to come for the entire five day institute and would like your voice to be heard in these conversations, please register for the all day Thursday session, lunch included, $40.00 per person.
The Nebraska Library Transitional Leadership Institute is sponsored by the Nebraska Library Association. Funding for the Institute is generously provided by the Nebraska Library Commission, the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, the University of Nebraska, Omaha, the Nebraska Library Association and other organizations that support library leadership development.
The festival begins at 9:30 a.m. with writing workshops:
- Lucy Adkins: “Poetry and Inspiration: Imaginative Ways to Write Your Best”
- Mary Avidano: “Poems by You.” Attendees are invited to bring a poem they’ve written.
- Traci Robison: “From Draft to Digital: How to Prepare and What to Expect as a Self- Publisher”
- Laura Wiseman: “You’re No Body Until Some Body Loves You: Writing the Body”
Workshop seating is limited and early arrival is recommended. Advance registration is not necessary.
Readings, book sales, and book signings will take place from noon to 3:30 p.m. Authors will read and discuss their work, allowing time for questions. Scheduled authors include:
- Mark Langan, Busting Bad Guys: My True Crime Stories of Bookies, Drug Dealers and Ladies of the Night
- Marsha Davis, One Man’s Voice
- Sydney Olson, The Curse of the Fates
- John Price, The Tallgrass Prairie Reader
- Timothy Schaffert, The Swan Gondola: A Novel
- Karen Shoemaker, The Meaning of Names
Prior to a 3:45 p.m. reception, the Nebraska Center for the Book will announce the 2015 recipient of the Mildred Bennett Award, recognizing an individual who has made significant contributions to fostering literary tradition in Nebraska.
The festival concludes, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. with the NeBooks Project Student & Teacher Showcase. The NeBooks Project is a partnership between schools, state agencies, and non-profit organizations across Nebraska to provide quality instructional materials. Nebraska students and teachers developed eBooks this school year, with the goal of becoming published authors in the NeBooks Project eBook Library. Attendees will spend the evening learning from these newly published authors, along with special guests. Hear directly from Nebraska students and teachers how they created their iBooks, the struggles that they faced, and what it means to be a published author.
The Bookworm and University of Nebraska Press will offer books by Nebraska authors for sale throughout the event. The Nebraska Book Festival is presented by the Nebraska Center for the Book, Humanities Nebraska, and Nebraska Library Commission. Visit http://bookfestival.nebraska.gov/2015/index.aspx for a complete schedule of free readings and workshops and other information.
Apply now for Latino Americans: 500 Years of History grants. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and American Library Association (ALA) are accepting applications for Latino Americans: 500 Years of History, a public programming initiative for libraries and other cultural institutions.
Latino Americans: 500 Years of History will support the American public’s exploration of the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape the United States over the last five centuries and who have become, with more than 50 million people, the country’s largest minority group.
The cornerstone of the project is the six-part, NEH-supported documentary film “Latino Americans,” created for PBS in 2013 by the WETA public television station. The award-winning series chronicles Latinos in the United States from the 16th century to present day. (Learn more about the series at www.pbs.org/latino-americans/en/.) The application deadline is May 1. Read the guidelines and apply online at www.ala.org/latinoamericans.
The recipients of the Young Adult Library Services Association’s Teen Tech Week grant have been selected. La Vista Public Library is one of 20 recipients from a pool of 127 applicants were selected to receive Teen Tech Week grants of $1,000 each, funded by Best Buy, to support activities aimed at helping teens build the digital literacy skills they need to be successful in college and careers.
In addition to the grant, the library will receive a gift pack of themed posters and bookmarks, as well as other “making” resources. Other libraries wishing to celebrate Teen Tech Week can sign up on the Teen Tech Week website for access to free digital downloads of themed posters, bookmarks, webinars and other resources. Learn more about making in libraries via the resources on YALSA’s wiki, including a free webinar and downloadable toolkit. Read YALSA’s recent report “The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action” to learn more about libraries’ role in helping teens extend their learning beyond the classroom in order to gain the digital literacy skills needed for 21st century careers. The report can be accessed at www.ala.org/yaforum.
Teen Tech Week is a national celebration that offers libraries the chance to highlight all of the digital tools, resources and services they offer to teens and their families. It will be celebrated with the theme “Libraries are for Making…” and takes place March 8-14. To learn more about Teen Tech Week, visit www.ala.org/teentechweek, or check out #TTW15 on Twitter. Best Buy is the official sponsor of Teen Tech Week.
Supplemental products related to Teen Tech Week and digital literacy, such as a Makerspace Safety poster, a Good Digital Citizen poster and bookmark and YALSA’s Teen Read Week and Teen Tech Week: Tips and Resources for YALSA’s Initiative publication are available for purchase through the ALA Store. For more information about YALSA or to access national guidelines and other resources go to www.ala.org/yalsa, or contact the YALSA office by phone, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390; or e-mail: email@example.com.
The Big Read is accepting applications for grants between $2,500 and $20,000. The Big Read supports organizations across the country in developing community-wide programs which encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. Nebraska libraries are invited to apply before Jan. 28, 2015. Visit the Application Process page at http://neabigread.org/application_process.php for more information.
Treasurer Don Stenberg and First National Bank of Omaha presented $529 NEST college savings scholarships on October 30 to ten young people, ages 6 to 16, from the 1st and 3rd Congressional Districts in the NEST Read to Win $529 Drawing, sponsored by the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust, First National Bank of Omaha, and the Nebraska Library Commission.
The Lincoln City Libraries received a check for $1,250 in the ceremony in the State Capitol Rotunda.
More than 20,000 children and teens were entered in the drawing after completing summer reading programs at their local libraries across the state. Five winners were selected in a random drawing from each of Nebraska’s three U.S. Congressional districts. Each was awarded $529 in a NEST 529 College Savings account, and their respective libraries received $250 each. Winners from the 2nd Congressional District were awarded earlier in October.
First National Bank of Omaha, program manager for NEST, provided the scholarship contributions and the donations to the libraries. A list of winners is available at: http://www.treasurer.org/news/2014/20141030.asp.
Nebraska library staff and board members are encouraged to access a free recorded Webinar, Anatomy of a Successful Library Campaign: Real World Tips for Getting the Funding You Need, at https://ala.adobeconnect.com/_a1087453682/p3ggw7rl5mk/?launcher=false&fcsContent=true&pbMode=normal. United for Libraries recently recorded a webinar with Libby Post of Communication Services and Doreen Hannon, executive director of the Salem-South Lyon (Mich.) District Library, who discussed the library’s successful millage campaign.
Libraries can also access the free United for Libraries Power Guide for Successful Advocacy, which takes the mystery out of advocacy, provides you with an organized step-by-step approach, and allows you to develop a set of strategies that will motivate your community to pressure funders to support the library or in the case of a referendum or a bond issue – to vote “yes.” Check out the Webinar and other online tools developed thanks to a Neal-Schuman Foundation grant.
The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), in collaboration with 3D Systems, will support 3D Systems’ mission to build digital literacy and expand access to 21st century tools like 3D design, 3D Printing and 3D scanning for young adults across the nation, through the new MakerLab Club initiative. YALSA members are eligible to become part of the MakerLab Club and for a limited time, apply for 3D printer donations from 3D Systems as part of MakerLab Club membership.
Through the online application, libraries must illustrate a commitment to creating or expanding makerlabs or maker programming and to providing community access to 3D printers and digital design. Applications will be accepted through Nov. 17, 2014. After the application deadline, applications will be put through a competitive evaluation process to determine the recipients of the donated equipment.
“This is a grand opportunity for libraries across the nation to really advance their libraries’ digital literacy” said YALSA President Christopher Shoemaker. “Teens will have the opportunity to experience digital literacy in a way they’ve never experienced before. We are very excited that this opportunity exists.”
“We are proud to launch The MakerLab Club, providing critical equipment, training, and support to libraries and museums across our country,” said Neal Orringer, vice president of Partnerships and Alliances, 3DS. “Today, libraries and museums are democratizing making in their local communities and reinforcing their longstanding position as centers of the arts, education and culture. We urge anyone interested in getting involved to contact us and get started setting up your lab today.”
The MakerLab Club is a new community for thousands of U.S. Libraries and museums chartered to advance 3D digital literacy through public access to 3D printing technology. Members of the MakerLab Club will receive other benefits such as access to training webinars and curriculum. To learn more about the MakerLab Club and to apply for a donated 3D printer, please visit 3D Systems’ official MakerLab Club page.
Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)
Nebraska libraries are encouraged to apply NOW to host the next Museum on Main Street exhibition, “The Way We Worked.” The exhibit explores work as a central element of American culture and traces changes in the work environment over the past 150 years. This opportunity is offered through Humanities Nebraska. For more information see http://humanitiesnebraska.org/program/museum-on-main-street/ — be sure to scroll down to the Apply to host “The Way We Worked link on the right side of the page.
The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) Human Origins Program, is accepting applications for the traveling exhibition Exploring Human Origins. The exhibition seeks to create an opportunity for a wide spectrum of audiences to engage the complex field of human evolution research in ways that are understandable, fulfilling, captivating, and relevant.
Nationwide, nineteen public libraries will be selected to host the 40-panel, 1,200-square-foot exhibition for four weeks each between April 2015 and April 2017. The exhibition will include at least two interactive kiosks, a display of skulls, and two DVDs. Full guidelines and an online application are available at http://apply.ala.org/humanorigins. The application deadline is Nov. 19.
ALA is hosting a free webinar to help libraries plan for Money Smart Week @your library®. On Oct. 1, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. CDT, learn how your library can participate in 2015 Money Smart Week @your library®. Register at http://tinyurl.com/opy5mvu and participate in this hour-long webinar that will provide you with resources, promotional materials, programming ideas and ways to partner with others in your community, campus or school to get Money Smart Week going at your library.
Money Smart Week @ your library, April 18-25, 2015, is a national initiative in its fifth year between the American Library Association (ALA) and the Federal Reserve Bank (Chicago) to provide financial literacy programming to help members of your community—retirees, school kids, college students, everyone—better manage their personal finances. In 2014 more than 700 libraries in 48 states participated.
Learn from veterans and first-timers how Money Smart Week @your library® has been a great success for their libraries and how it can be in yours. Discussions will show how easy it is to convey financial topics to your library users.
Topics presented last year include basic banking services, credit and debt management, estate planning, going green to save, housing/mortgages/foreclosures, going to college, identity theft/investment scams/financial fraud, insurance, kids and money, money management for women, preparing for financial emergencies, retirement planning, small business and entrepreneurship, taxes, teens and money and unemployment and job transitioning.
Visit the Money Smart Week home page of the Federal Reserve Bank (Chicago) at http://www.moneysmartweek.org/ for additional details about Money Smart Week.