Author Archives: Andrew Dauphinee

About Andrew Dauphinee

Education and learning are passions of mine. Lifelong learning is a core part of who I am and I strive pass that desire for information on to everyone I meet. As the Instruction and Outreach Librarian, it is my goal to provide quality, informative, and relevant programming to meet the diverse needs of our patrons. Please contact me regarding programming at adauphinee@njstatelib.org.

Digital Storytelling for the Non-Profit Sector Program Recap

Thank you to Grace-Anne Alfiero for a wonderful and insightful presentation on digital storytelling and it’s impact for the non-profit sector.  Digital storytelling is a powerful way to engage your audience, call them to action, and leave a lasting impact that will help grow your non-profit.  Audience is a key factor when developing your digital story so it is important to know your audience to ensure that you capture as many as possible.  Knowing where to place your digital story can drastically increase the number of views, and donations, and Grace-Anne recommends studying the Z-Pattern associated with how people view and read computer screens.  While the images in the video can be extremely impressionable, ensuring that you have corresponding music (royalty free) and text to reinforce your message can lead to a greater call to action.  For more tips and resources, please download the items below from the presentation and visit her blog at http://www.artsinactionllc.com/blog.

PowerPoint Presentation

Storyboard Template

 

Successful Gardening Program Recap

Thank you to Nora Sirbaugh from the Master Gardeners of Mercer County for sharing a wide variety of tips on how to create and maintain a successful garden.  There are a variety of factors, from the gardener to the environment, that determine that will determine the health of your garden and plants.  Here are some tips to ensure that you have a healthy and vibrant garden:

  • Patience – some plants take time to grow and mature
  • Educate yourself – the more you learn about gardening, the better you will be when it comes to decisions about what/when/where to plant as well as when/what to fertilize, prune, and water
  • Keep a diary/log – track what you plant and where to serve as a reference for the future as well as take pictures or walk your garden daily to spot things before they become serious
  • Plants are not furniture – plants are not static objects; they grow, some quickly and others slowly, so be sure to keep attentive to your plants to ensure they are healthy and your garden looks nice
  • Know your soil – it is recommended to have a soil test done to ensure that you are planting the right plants in your soil to ensure they grow properly and stay healthy

For more information on gardening tips, as well as a list of other events and programs offered by the Master Gardeners of Mercer County, please visit their website: http://mgofmc.org/.

The Financial Side of College Graduation Program Recap

Thank you to Samantha Benson from the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority for her presentation on what life looks like after graduation in terms of student loans and the costs of graduation school.  The most important thing regarding you or your children’s finances after graduation is to make sure you understand all the details of any loans.  Some loans have a grace period (such as 6 months for Federal Stafford Loans) before any money needs to be paid back.  There are also a wide variety of repayment plans that may better suit you or your child’s ability to pay, such as loan consolidation, deferment, forbearance, or changing to an income-based or graduated repayment plans.  It is important to remember that if you consolidate, your monthly payments will be lower and you may get a lower interest rate, but you will be paying more money overall.  For more information on repaying Federal Direct/Stafford loans, please visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans.  For more information on managing your loans after school and preparing for the job market, please visit https://www.mappingyourfuture.org/planyourcareer/.  For a wide variety of information on repaying student loans, please visit http://www.hesaa.org/Pages/PayOnline.aspx.

 

An Investment in Knowledge Pays the Best Interest Program Recap

Thank you to Arlene Ferris-Waks from the NJ Office of the Attorney General, Bureau of Securities for her presentation on protecting yourself and your investments.  Arlene highlighted the many roles that the Bureau of Securities performs to help keep NJ residents safe and informed when it comes to their investment decisions.  All brokers, brokerage firms, and stockbrokers must be licensed with the Bureau of Securities, making it easy to determine if the person who is handling your investments is legitimate.  In addition, if you feel that you have been a victim of an investment fraud or scam, you can contact the Bureau of Securities and they will conduct an investigation, including working with other local, state, and federal agencies.

Arlene also shared 10 tips to help investors stay safe, protect their investments, and identify potential scams or frauds:

  1. Don’t be a courtesy victim
  2. Stay in charge of your money
  3. Watch out for salespersons who prey on fears
  4. Watch out for No Risk securities; make sure to ask TOUGH questions
  5. Watch out for “insider tips” or “Get it Now” propositions
  6. Check out strangers touting strange deals
  7. Don’t judge a book – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
  8. Don’t make rash decision in the face of tragedy
  9. Look for trouble cashing out of our security
  10. Your friends can be WRONG

For more information on the role of the Bureau of Securities, please visit www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/bos.  If you questions about anything related to investments or would like to learn more ways to keep you and your money safe, please contact Arlene at Ferris-WaksA@dca.lps.state.nj.us.

Psychology of Spending Program Recap

Our thanks to the Credit Union of New Jersey for kicking off MoneySmart Week by looking at underlying motivations for why we buy what we buy and how that can affect our overall financial health.  Understanding why we spend can be just as, if not more important than identifying what we spend our money on.  The CUNJ covered 8 possible reasons that influence our spending decisions:

  1. The Role of Advertising – using emotional appeals or providing product information for comparison motivates us buy or consider purchasing that product or service.
  2. Keeping Up with the Joneses – we all want to have nice things and we can justify our spending habits by comparing what we have to what others (family, friends, celebrities) have in order to keep up an appearance.
  3. Spending Habits – We become complacent in our spending habits, even if those spending habits are no longer viable in our changing financial situation, such as buying a $5 cup of gourmet coffee every day before work instead of making our own at home.
  4. Impulse Buying – Being impulsive is part of human nature and companies and retailers use this to their advantage, such as having shelves of candy at the cash register or having to walk the back of the store to reach the pharmacy; the more products that are in front of us as we try to get to what we want, the more likely we will impulsively buy something else.
  5. Bargain Hunting – Just because something is on sale or for a great deal does not mean that we must have that item.  While it feels great to save money, if you did not have a use for the item nor were planning on buying the item anyways, you may end up spending more money on things that you don’t really need.
  6. Retail Therapy – For some people, going out shopping, and by extension finding great deals, makes one feel better and can distract from issues or problems in one’s life.  Using shopping as a therapy or escape can quickly put us out of our budget and lead to other emotional and financial issues.
  7. Money As Love – We all want to show our love and we commonly do that by buying things, especially things that are only temporary such as flowers or food.  While periodically spending money on the ones we love to show our commitment or appreciation is perfectly fine, using the amount of money we spend or how often we spend can easily exhaust our finances.
  8. I’ll Worry About Tomorrow Tomorrow – Many people tend to focus on the here and now in their purchasing habits rather than days, months, or years in the future.  A perfect example is using credit cards or loans to buy things immediately and failing to realize that by not paying off those expenditures immediately, they will cost more in the long-term due to interest that could be better spent on things such as paying down other debt or saving for a vacation or down payment on a house.

Preserving Family Photographs Program Recap

Thank you to Gary Saretzky from the Monmouth County Archives for his in-depth presentation on preserving personal photographs.  Gary has over 40 years experience as a photographer and performs photograph conservation and restoration for the archives.  There are many different types of photographs that we collect over the years that all have different preservation requirements from special alkaline paper to light sensitivity to cooler and drier storage parameters.  Each type of photograph is unique and will require a variety of actions to ensure its preservation.  A universal tip is to make sure your photographs are in some sort of container to prevent excessive light damage as well as to prevent smoke or water damage in the case of a fire or flood.  To help prevent slow degradation, ensure that your photos are stored in an area that is consistently below 70 degrees Fahrenheit and around 50% relative humidity.   When it comes to digital-born photographs, it is recommended to save the photographs as TIFF files and back them up to the Cloud or an external hard drive.  For scanned photographs, make sure to increase the DPI (dots per inch) for smaller photographs; the standard DPI for an 8×10 photograph is 600.  For more information on photograph preservation, please visit the Northeast Document Conservation Center at https://www.nedcc.org/free-resources/preservation-leaflets/overview.

Mock Interview Program Recap

mock interview image

Thanks to all of those who participated in our first-ever Mock Interview session presented by Career Connections.  Mock interviews are a great way to hone your interview and communication skills in a simulated environment.  Whether practicing with a professional or a friend, becoming familiar with common interview questions is key to acing the interview.  Some important tips include:

  • Answer the question that is being asked
  • Make sure you can talk about examples the highlight your skills, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Repeat the question to allow yourself time to gather
  • Use keywords and phrases listed in the job description to tailor your responses

For more tips on preparing yourself for the interview and how to succeed in the interview, please visit Career Connections.  For a list of the most common interview questions, check out this article.

First-Time Homebuyer Information Session Program Recap

Thank you to Jesse Crawford from the NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency for his presentation on programs available through the HMFA to help first-time homebuyers.  There are two important grant opportunities that can help pay for the closing costs or down payment, essentially giving you a cash injection up front.  The HomeSeeker Downpayment Program will provide a $10,000 incentive for qualified homebuyers to purchase a home within a select number of counties, including Burlington and Mercer.  The Smart Start program is another down payment assistance program that features up to 4% down payment and/or closing cost assistance.  In addition, this program available throughout the state and not limited by county.  For both of these programs, you must use an approved lender.  For more information on these programs, as well as a list of approved lenders, please visit http://njhousing.gov/roadhome/.  Should you have any questions on these products or other topics related to homebuying, please contact Jesse Crawford at jcrawford@njhmfa.gov.

ReferenceUSA Program Recap

ReferenceUSA logo

Thank you to Bill Loges from ReferenceUSA for showcasing many of the features available through ReferenceUSA aimed at people starting or trying to grow their own business.

The U.S. Business database allows you to search for businesses by a host of different parameters, including business types, geography, and business size among others.  A great feature to help pinpoint marketing opportunities or help in market research for a certain industry is the Map Based Search, where you can get immediate business listings based on radius from a central location, along a certain route, or through free-drawn boundaries.

The U.S. Consumers/Lifestyles database allows you to search for potential customers through a variety of parameters, including geography and lifestyle attributes.

Results from both the Business and Customer databases can be viewed and downloaded for free; however, if you would like to narrow down results in the Customer database by Consumer Snapshot limits, such as age, gender, income, etc., you will need to pay for that data.

For more information about the power of ReferenceUSA, please visit their Learning Center for videos, webinars, and learning guides at http://resource.referenceusa.com/learning-center/?domain=www.referenceusa.com&accountId=3635.

Money Smart for Older Adults Program Recap

warning signs for scams

Thank you to all of those who joined us for Money Smart for Older Adults.  Financial exploitation is a widespread problem that can affect us all, especially the elderly and retired individuals.  Whether it be investment scams, charity shams, IRS frauds, or at the hands of a trusted family member or caregiver, billions of dollars are lost every year to exploitation.

One of the best ways to protect yourself from financial exploitation is to ensure that only people and institutions you trust have access to your financial and personal information, as well as your finances and assets.  If you are contacted online or on the phone from anyone claiming to be from a financial institution, a lottery or sweepstakes, the IRS, or a debt collection agency, never give out your personal or financial information, nor send any money, without first verifying the legitimacy of the institution or organization, the caller, and the nature of the call or email.  An easy way to determine if you are being scammed is to ask a lot of questions; scammers will have a hard time answering your questions or even refuse to answer them, which any legitimate organization or institution would be happy to do.

To review everything that was covered in Money Smart for Older Adults, including organizations, websites, and phone numbers to contact in the event of any attempt at financial exploitation, please download the Money Smart for Older Adults Resource Guide.

Career Connections Presents – The Right Career for You Program Recap

Thank you to everyone who joined us for Career Connections Presents – The Right Career for You.  Determining the best job or career for you can be overwhelming, but there are 4 important things to focus on to help you narrow your search and select a career that best fits you and the current job market.

First, your personality type is important for understanding what your strengths and weaknesses are, which occupation matches your personality type, and understanding how you relate to others.

Second, what your work interests are can be a good indicator of what types of careers you will thrive in.  Online tools can help you create an interest profile and match you to jobs and careers that best match what your work interests are, including NJCAN and MyNextMove.

Third, being able to identify you skills and abilities, both hard (technical and job sepcific) and soft (more abstract and universal across many careers), will help you narrow down you career profile to maximize your effectiveness within a given work environment.

Lastly, and perhaps the most overlooked factor in determining the right career for you, is the status of the job market.  There are certain jobs that will always be in demand (retail sales, food service, nurses) that increases your chances of getting a job whereas other jobs are no longer in demand (postal worker, teacher) which means that it will be very difficult to get a job and may not be worth the time and money to get the necessary educational or technical credentials.

For more information on labor market resources, visit CareerOneStop or NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development.  For more information on choosing the right career as well as a host of other job related information, from resumes, to interviews, to networking, visit Career Connections.

African Americans Before the NJ Supreme Court Program Recap

Thank you to Vivian Thiele from the New Jersey State Archives for an unprecedented and revealing look into how African Americans appeared before the NJ Supreme Court in numerous ways during the early colonial and post-Revolutionary War time periods.  One of most common ways Africans Americans appeared in the records of the NJ Supreme were through writs of Habeas Corpus to appear before the court for testimony as well as releases of recognizance, paid by slave owners, so that slaves were able to be “free” and work rather than remained imprisoned while awaiting a trial.   There are also instances where African Americans are named in Replevin lawsuits as stolen property, where one can also find supporting documents about the history of the individual African American, including bills of sale or transfer.  Lastly, Vivian touched on how certain judicial officials can be found repeatedly on different court documents relating to African Americans and how we can use that information as well as their decisions to glean more about their views on slavery, including early abolitionists, such as Joseph Bloomfield.

The records of the NJ Supreme Court relating to slave cases are currently being digitized and are not available online.  However, there is a online database of all of records of the NJ Supreme Court that can be filtered by different criteria, including ethnicity.  There are 463 records that can be found currently under the African American ethnicity criteria.  The database is available at https://wwwnet-dos.state.nj.us/DOS_ArchivesDBPortal/index.aspx.