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 to 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.

Home Buying Program Recap

Thank you to James Goodman, Home Finance Consultant for the Credit Union of New Jersey, for breaking down the complex process of buying a home.  James highlighted the entire home buying process step by step, including securing a mortgage and what to expect at closing, especially the different fees that will be factored in.  He also went through the entire mortgage process, explaining how to calculate how much you can afford, the documents needed when applying for a mortgage, as well as the timeline for the entire process.  When choosing a mortgage loan, and by extension buying a house, it is important to consider how much money you can afford as a down payment, what are your financial goals and how a home figures into them, and how the closing costs can affect the overall price of the home and how much money is required up front at closing.  Please visit the following links for more information:

Copy of the presentation

CUN’s Mortgage Center

NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency Home Buyer Resources

You can contact James Goodman at (908)-860-7120 or jgoodman@mortgagedept.com with any questions or for further information on any part of the home buying process.

Financial Aid Information Session Program Recap

Thank you to Sharon Austin from the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority for an extremely informative presentation on preparing for the financial aspects of higher education.   Paying for college can be overwhelming, especially for parents who are unfamiliar with the process.  Being organized and proactive are keys to ensuring that you do not miss any available financial assistance available.  Completing the CSS Profile and FASFA early and accurately can dramatically alter the cost to you and your child, ensuring you get the maximum need-based aid available.  Sharon also covered the details of subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans, different federal and NJ State grants, a $5000 personal loan and a variety of loans specifically for parents.  Be savvy when it comes to loans, they can really make or break you. It pays to be informed like this.

Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) – www.hesaa.org

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – https://fafsa.ed.gov/

College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile – https://cssprofile.collegeboard.org/

New Jersey Grants and Scholarships – www.njgrants.org

UNIGO Scholarship Search – https://www.unigo.com/scholarships

Records at the Camden County Historical Society Program Recap

Thank you to Bonny Beth Elwell, Library Director at the Camden County Historical Society for shedding light on a wide variety of unique resources available at the CCHS.  The CCHS has a wealth of information over many collections, including city directories, cemetery records, property records, and newspapers.  Especially useful are the digitized Camden city newspapers available on www.newspapers.com, including Camden County Courier, Camden Evening Courier, and Camden Courier Post.  There are also unique newspapers on microfilm recently discovered including The New Republic and Herald and Gloucester Farmer.  Other unique records include Naturalization and Immigration papers, police reports, and yearbooks from Camden county high schools and universities.  For a comprehensive listing of all that the CCHS Library has to offer, please visit https://www.njstatelib.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/CCHS-Library-Holdings.pdf.  For more information on the CCHS, including hours of operation and other events, please visit https://www.cchsnj.org/.

LinkedIn 101 Recap

Thank you to everyone who attended Career Connections Presents – LinkedIn 101.  In our session, we learned how to create a LinkedIn account, develop a LinkedIn Profile, build a basic network, and conduct a basic job search.

We also learned the importance of expanding our LinkedIn presence by utilizing LinkedIn endorsements, joining LinkedIn Groups, and posting professionally relevant content to our LinkedIn feed.

For more information on the features of LinkedIn, including tutorials, please click on the links below:

  1. How to Use LinkedIn for Beginners – YouTube
  2. LinkedIn 101 – LinkedIn
  3. 10 Steps to a Complete LinkedIn Profile Makeover – TopDog Social Media

 

How to Sleep Like a Baby Program Recap

Thank you to Dr. Subooha Zafar, a sleep specialist from Capital Health, for revealing the intricacies of sleep and what we can do to improve as well as harm our sleep pattern.  While we will never be able to sleep like a baby, sleep is just as important as we age.  Sleep can have a tremendous impact on our immune system, our ability to focus and retain information, and can increase our risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.  In addition, lack of sleep can impact our driving the same, if not more, than drinking alcohol.

So what can we do to improve our sleep and ensure that we are well-rested?  First, we need to consistently get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.  While this is easier said than done, cutting out caffeine later in the day, resisting the urge to nap, and ensuring the bedroom environment is conducive to sleeping will all help ensure we can fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night.  We also want to practice good “sleep hygiene” which include exercise, keeping a consistent bedroom temperature, and practicing mental distraction techniques to keep our brain from running wild as we try to fall asleep, of course we can.  For example, we often think about all of the things that happened during the day as well as what we need to get done the following day as we are trying to fall asleep.  Instead, process all of these things earlier in the day so that your mind is free when you lay down; additionally, if you have trouble calming your mind, a simple mental distraction technique is to focus solely on your breathing.  By paying attention to the depth and speed of your breathes, your brain activity will slow since you are now focusing on something that involuntary. We also suggests to check  a review by SleepJunkie.org about best mattresses, a good mattress plays a big role on your sleep.

While medications can help us in the short-term to gain deep and restful sleep, your body can become dependent on them and just like with any other drug, your body can build up a tolerance which will make them less effective over long-term use.  Behavioral strategies such as relaxation training, cognitive therapy, and stimulus control (not having the television on since the changes in volume as well as the light waves emitted from the screen cause your brain to become active and can hinder sleep) can be used instead of medications.

Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body Program Recap

A big thank you to Nicolette Vasco from the Alzheimer’s Association for her presentation on tips for maintaining a healthy brain and body, especially as we age.  While we constantly hear about taking care of our physical selves, we often forget that our brain is just as important and continuously engaging in cognitively stimulating activities can help keep our brain healthy and potentially lessen the impact of dementia related symptoms.  Aging well depends on genes, environment, and lifestyle and while we cannot change our genes, we can make changes to our environment and lifestyle to put ourselves on a healthier path.  Below are four areas we can work on to ensure that our brain and body remain healthy:

  • Physical health and exercise – The heart and brain and interrelated so engaging in cardiovascular activities, such as running, walking, or biking, can lead to increased blood flow to brain and may reduce the risk of cognitive decline.  Trying to become physically active can be overwhelming, especially if we try to do too much too quickly.  It is important to do something we like or enjoy and start out small to ensure that we can create a routine that works for us.  Another important aspect is to make sure we get adequate sleep which can be just as important as our exercise regimen.
  • Diet and Nutrition – Foods that are heart healthy can have positive impact on the brain as well.   Eating breakfast is an easy way to ensure that your brain is properly fueled for the day.  Foods that are healthy for our brain and body include green, leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, lean meats and fish, and vegetable oils.  Foods we should avoid in excess include processed foods, solid fats, sugars, deep-fried foods, and fast food.
  • Cognitive Activity – Keeping your mind active forms new connections among brain cells and cognitive activity encourages blood flow to the brain.WE can maintain and possibly improve our cognitive functions through reading, solving puzzles, playing challenging games, and learning new skills and hobbies, such as another language.
  • Social Engagement – Social engagement is associated with living longer with fewer disabilities.  Joining clubs, organizations, and support groups can help us develop a routine that encourages exercising or cognitive activities.  Remaining socially and mentally active may support brain health, offer you an opportunity to maintain your skills, and possibly delay the onset of dementia.

For more information on tips to stay healthy or anything related to dementia and the aging brain, please visit the Alzheimer’s Associate at www.alz.org.

Getting the Most Out of Your Ancestry.com Account Program Recap

Thank you to Lew Meixler from the Mercer County Jewish Genealogy Society at Beth El Synagogue, East Windsor, NJ for his presentation on different features and tools available through an Ancestry.com subscription.  Creating a family tree is one of the most popular features associated with an Ancestry.com subscription.  You can easily add or change relationships between people in your tree, include unrelated persons in your tree to investigate later, and you can merge two persons if you find out that they are actually the same person while keeping all of the information and records associated with each one.  Additionally, you can easily transfer your family tree to other sites such as Family Search, search purchased add-ons like Newspapers.com or Fold-3 directly from your tree, and receive “hints” in the form of green leafs for records that may be related to individuals in your tree.  You can find a copy of Lew’s presentation at the link below.

Getting the Most Out of Your Ancestry.com Account Presentation

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/.

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 your 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.