Tag Archives: NJSL Presents

10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that can oftentimes be written off in the early stages as old-age related conditions.  However, being able to identify early signs of Alzheimer’s can better prepare individuals and their families on how to handle all the stages of the disease.  Please join us as the Alzheimer’s Association will cover the following topics:

  • Typical age-related changes
  • Common signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Tips for how to approach someone about memory concerns
  • The importance of early detection and benefits of diagnosis
  • Possible tests and assessments for the diagnostic process
  • Helpful Alzheimer’s Association resources


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“So, You Think You Know Trenton” Quiz Challenge

Do you know your Trenton history?   What about restaurants, Janet Evanovich, pork roll, home town heroes, or manufacturing?  Finally, all your Trenton smarts will pay off!  Compete in this lunch time trivia challenge, presented by Eric Maywar from the City of Trenton’s Division of Economic Development, for bragging rights and the title of 2019 King/Queen of Trenton!  Individuals and teams welcomed.


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Introduction to Proposal Writing

Are you new to proposal writing or want a quick refresher?

This introductory class will provide you with an overview of the basics of writing a grant proposal for foundation funding.

It will include:

  • The basic elements of a grant proposal
  • The “do’s” and “don’ts” of writing and submitting a proposal
  • How to follow up whether the answer is yes or no


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How to Manage Debt Program Recap

Debt is a problem many people struggle with and if left unresolved, can easily spiral out-of-control.  While some debt is a part of life nowadays, effectively managing your debt can provide great benefits should you need to finance a car or are looking to purchase a house.  The Credit Union of New Jersey has some tips for managing your debt and help you achieve financial independence.

What is debt?  Debt is money that you have borrowed with the agreement to pay it back in full, oftentimes with interest.  Some common types of debt are mortgages, car loans, personal loans, or credit cards.  Debt is often organized into different categories:

  • Secured debt – debt associated with some sort of collateral that can be taken back for failure to repay the debt (car loan, mortgage)
  • Unsecured debt – debt without any collateral (credit cards or personal loans)
  • Installment credit – debt where repayment terms and amounts are fixed (mortgage, student loans)
  • Revolving credit – debt where repayment amounts may vary depending on amount of debt (credit cards, cash advances)
  • Fixed interest rates – interest rate does not change over the life of the debt (car loan, mortgage)
  • Variable interest rates – interest rate can change depending on size of the debt or a failure to pay debt on time (credit cards, payday loans)

While debt is scary, not all debt is bad.  Debt has a large impact on your Credit Score, which many places use to determine finance options for important purchases such as apartments, homes, cars, and furniture.  Good debt or debt that directly affects your overall net worth or helps generate you value, such as a mortgage, are positive things to have and will help boost your Credit Score.  A higher Credit Score can help you secure low or no interest payments for loans and may allow you to qualify for higher loan amounts.  Bad debt does not help you generate value and oftentimes is associated with credit card purchases for expendable items with no longer term value, such as gas, food, or utilities.  For example, if you pay a $100 electric bill on a credit card rather than a debit card, you may be paying $120, $150, or even $200 for that same bill once interest accrues.

You can find out more about all of the debts you have through your credit report.  A credit report is a record of all your credit-related activities from three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Transunion, and Experian.  It lists any credit-card accounts or loans you have, their balances, and how regularly you make your payments.  It also shows if any actions from creditors has been taken against you.  Similar to your credit report is your Credit Score.  Your Credit Score is made up of the following information:

  • 35% Payment History
  • 30% Amount Owed
  • 15% Length of Credit History
  • 10% New Credit
  • 10% Credit Mix

So what are the warning signs for having too much debt?

  • Spending more than you earn
  • Making the minimum payments on credit cards or having maxed out credit cards
  • Unsure about what you owe
  • Arguing with your family or loved one about money
  • Debt to income ratio is more than 36%
  • You have no emergency funds (3-6 months income)
  • Little or no retirement savings
  • Credit card balance exceeds 10% of income

If you have too much debt, what can you do to change your financial situation?  First and foremost, you have to make a plan.  Sit down and write out a budget, including your monthly income and expenditures.  This will help you visualize where you are spending money on unnecessary things, such as a $5 coffee every morning or eating out multiple times in a week.  Once you can identify areas where you can save money, put that money away, such as in a savings account, so that it can grow, or apply it to one of your debts to pay it off quicker.

You should also call any loan companies and request lower interest rates.  As long as you are able to pay something, credit card companies are required to work with you.  You may even be able to settle your debt for less, but that often comes at a price; you must report the remaining debt as income on your taxes.  You should also seek professional assistance from a financial counselor who can help you in all aspects of your financial life.  They can help fight with loan companies and help build you a responsible budget to get you out of debt.

Another way to help get out of debt is to increase your income.  Whether it is selling items from a personal hobby or unused items around the house, downsizing a car or home, or getting a part time job, being able to increase your income, if not to pay down the debt, but at least to provide more financial security is important.  Additionally, set SMART financial goals for yourself – Specific, Measurable, Adjustable, Realistic, Time-Oriented.  Lastly, never give up; oftentimes people give up too early on their efforts to become debt free.  It will not be easy or fast, so remain committed to your financial plan and reward will be more freedom with your money.

If you have any questions about your personal financial situation, you can reach out to the Credit Union of New Jersey for a free financial assessment.  For a copy of the presentation, please visit https://www.njstatelib.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/How-to-Manage-Debt.pdf.  For a copy of financial worksheets, please visit https://www.njstatelib.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/How-to-Manage-Debt.pdf.

How to Manage Debt

Debt and credit impact our lives in many ways, from determining what we can afford to interest rates on loans.  Managing your debt effectively can open financial doors and is a great indicator of your financial health.  Please join us as the Credit Union of New Jersey will discuss debt management, including:

• The different kinds of debt
• The benefits and costs of credit
• The warning signs you have too much debt
• How to improve your credit report and score
• How to tackle your debt and avoid pitfalls
• How to rebuild good credit
• How to stay out of debt


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Exploring Languages with Pronunciator

In honor of Learn a Foreign Language Month, the NJSL will be offering an informational session on using Pronunciator.  Pronunciator is a language learning program that covers 80 languages that can be learned in any of 50 languages.   Whether you want to learn a new language or just familiarize yourself with a few phrases for a trip abroad, Pronunciator can help.  The database includes courses for each language including different types of drills, quizzes, audio lessons, pronunciation analysis, and phrase books.  Customize your courses to learn what you want and how you want.  This class will show you how to get started with Pronunciator and introduce you to the features available at your fingertips.

*Seating is limited so please only register if you can attend*

Please note: In order to use Pronunciator, you must be a New Jersey State Library authorized user (State employee or Thomas Edison State College staff member or student).  To get a New Jersey State Library card, you can apply online.  Contact the Reference Department with any questions.


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Autism NJ Resources and Services Program Recap

Thank you to Dr. Suzanne Buchanan, Executive Director of Autism NJ, for speaking about how Autism NJ serves the Autism community through a wide variety of ways and initiatives.  Founded in 1965, Autism NJ has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of those effected by Autism Spectrum Disorder, including children, parents, and caregivers.  Autism NJ is one of the leading Autism groups in the state leads the way to lifelong individualized services provided with skill and compassion.  New Jersey has the highest rate of Autism in the country, 1 in 34 children, which can be attributed to Autism NJ and other groups’ efforts to help professionals better identify and diagnosis children at younger ages.

Autism NJ aims to serve the greater Autism community through 4 service pillars:

  • Awareness
  • Information
  • Training
  • Public Policy

Autism NJ constantly collaborates with community groups such as libraries, religious organizations, and service organizations to spread the word about Autism as well as share resources and services available to those affected by the condition.  They offer a Helpline, 1-800-4AUTISM, which serves more than 2,000 people per year.  Additionally, their website, https://www.autismnj.org, provides a wealth of information.

One of the most impactful services they provide are referral lists for a wide variety of services, including legal and financial services, medical care, governmental services, and education-related services.  Additionally, they will work with parents and caregivers to identify the individual needs of someone with Autism to better identify the types of care and services that person needs.  For a membership fee, they will review IEPs (Individual Education Plans) to ensure that those plans are in accordance with federal, state, and local policies.

Autism NJ approaches their information sharing mission from the evidenced-based intervention perspective, which means that they will only recommend what has been proven effective for the greatest number of people with Autism.  While there are many claims circulating about causes and treatments for all aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Autism NJ only focuses on those that are backed by sound science and substantiated results, ensuring that they are providing the best information for their constituents.

Autism NJ is constantly working with state lawmakers to ensure the needs of people diagnosed with Autism as well as their support structure are recognized and addressed through state law.  They have been influential in the passage of the Statewide Transition Plan, Medicaid Fee-for-Service, and increasing the insurance age cap from 21 to 26.  Autism NJ focuses is public policy initiatives in 4 areas:

  • Funding
  • Fee-for-Service Transition
  • Workforce Development
  • Severe Challenging Behavior.

If you would like more information about how Autism NJ can better serve you, someone you know, or your community, please visit their website, https://www.autismnj.org, or contact them at information@autismnj.org or 1-800-4AUTISM.  For a copy of the presentation, please visit https://www.njstatelib.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Autism-NJ-Resources-and-Services.pdf.

Autism New Jersey Resources and Services

New Jersey has the highest rate of autism in the nation (1 in 34) with often devastating effects on the individual, his/her family, and society. Fortunately, treatment can be life changing.

With more than a combined four decades of clinical and policy experience, Autism New Jersey Executive Director, Dr. Suzanne Buchanan, and Public Policy Director, Eric Eberman, will provide an overview of autism, individuals’ and families’ challenges, privately- and publicly-funded services and resources, and recommendations to increase community acceptance and meaningful change. The presenters will welcome the audience’s questions.


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Introduction to Finding Grants

Are you new to the field of grant seeking?  Discover what funders are looking for in nonprofits seeking grants and how to find potential funders in this introductory class.  This class will cover the 10 most important things you need to know about finding grants, and you will have an opportunity to do some hands-on funding research using the Foundation Directory Online Professional database.

*Registration is limited to 16 participants.  Please register only if you can attend*


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Interview Tips and Tricks Program Recap

The interview is the final stage to finally getting that new or dream job.  Your resume impressed, now it’s your chance to convince them that you are the best person for the job.  However, the interview process can be daunting and it’s important to be confident and well-spoken.  The following tips will help you build your interview skills and are applicable to any interview situation, from a preliminary phone interview to a formal panel interview.

First and foremost, it is important to prepare for your interview through a variety of ways.  You should have an understanding of your career goals so that you can effectively communicate them to others.  Also, be prepared to discuss everything in your resume and cover letter because you never know what questions will be asked of you.  Before the interview, look up some common interview questions and practice how you would answer.  Practicing your answers allows you to come up with appropriate responses and remain confident throughout the interview.  Check to make sure your social media presence is clean and appropriate as some employers may look to see what you are posting before deciding whether to extend an interview.  Avoid embarrassing or compromising pictures and stay away from public posts on controversial topics, such as politics or religion.

One of the most overlooked aspects of preparing for an interview is to research the company or organization.  By understanding more of the company’s values or goals, you can tailor your interview answer to align with them and find important information that you may want to ask about in the interview.  Look for mission statements, press releases, or strategic plans on their website or check out Glassdoor or LinkedIn for more information you can use to better inform your answers and career decisions.

Some of the most popular interview questions you should be familiar with are:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses
  • Where do you see yourself in ___ years
  • Tell me about a time when…

Being prepared to answer these questions with thoughtful and appropriate responses will set a positive tone for the interview process and demonstrate your confidence in your own abilities.  Let’s take a look at 2 methods to help us answer the different types of interview questions we may encounter.

The SHARP Method is designed to help you craft answers to more general or information questions, such as tell me about yourself or what are your strengths/weaknesses.   SHARP stands for:

S – Specific
H – Honest
A – Appropriate
R – Relevant
P – Positive

When asked about yourself, use the SHARP method to discuss your previous position(s) that are applicable to the field or career, talk about specific duties or accomplishments, and avoid negative critiques of former employers or supervisors.

For more situational questions that ask you how you handled a situation or need to elaborate on a specific outcome, use the SOAR Method.  SOAR stands for:

S – Situation
O – Obstacle
A – Action
R – Result

Clearly identifying each of these components in your response will demonstrate your ability to identify problems, weigh your options, and come to a reasonable solution to the obstacle.  These questions are designed to test your critical-thinking and problem-solving skills and are a great way to bring in experiences from other jobs that may not be related to the career or job your are currently in or applying for.  There are no “right” answers to these questions, so use positive examples from your past that highlight your qualifications.

It is important to point out that there are questions that employers are NOT allowed to ask you.  These relate to:

  • Martial status
  • Race, religion, national origin
  • Sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation
  • Disability or pregnancy
  • Current or previous salary/benefits (NJ specific)

If an interviewer attempts to ask you any of these questions, politely decline to answer and shift the focus back onto the job and your qualifications as a candidate.  Additionally, you should not ask about salary in the interview unless it is disclosed by the interviewer.  If you wish to know the salary of a position, you can inquire with the HR department, which may disclose that information, or check Glassdoor, through which current and former employees may post their salary and other useful information about the employer.

To obtain a copy of the presentation, please visit https://www.njstatelib.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Interview-Tips-and-Tricks.pdf.


Interview Tips and Tricks

The interview process is the last hurdle in getting a new job, promotion, or starting a new career.  It is during the interview that you as an individual truly get to shine and finally explain why you are the best person for the job.  The interview can also be the most stressful part of the job-searching process because it often feels like one misstep could turn everything against you.  Fear not!  Join us as we walk you through the interview process and the most common interview questions and strategies for answering different types of questions.


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November 8th author talk- Second Platoon: Call Sign Hades

On Friday, November 8 from noon to 1 p.m., the New Jersey State Library will present an author talk in recognition of Veterans Day and the Marine Corps’ birthday. Captain Mark A. Bodrog will take the talk from his book Second Platoon: Call Sign Hades.

“The war in Afghanistan is considered to be America’s longest and least talked about war,” Bodrog shares.Bodrog’s true story memorializes not only his men, but also the brave and the bold few still fighting to preserve America and the American way of life. Bodrog will describe the experiences of his platoon, one of two selected by his battalion to fully integrate with the Afghanistan National Army Soldiers to create a combined action company (CAC) capable of conducting counterinsurgency operations throughout their area of operations and adjacent battle spaces.

Bodrog further comments, “As a platoon commander, it was my honor, duty, and privilege to write this memoir for my men. They are heroes in every aspect, and their stories should never be forgotten.” He also points out that this is for all those who have fought for America.

Captain Mark A. Bodrog, a native New Jerseyan, received his B.A. in criminal justice from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps in Quantico, Va. He has served two combat deployments to the Helmand Province, Afghanistan with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment in support of both Operation Enduring Freedom 10.1 and 11.2. His personal awards include letters of appreciation, a certificate of commendation, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Combat Action ribbon, two sea service deployment ribbons, the navy meritorious unit Commendation Medal, the NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Navy Unit Commendation, two Afghanistan Campaign Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, the Navy Unit Commendation, two Afghanistan Campaign Medals, the National Defense Service Medal and the NJ Distinguished Service Medal.

All are welcome to this event. RSVP is appreciated. Please RSVP to Cindy Warrick at cwarrick@njstatelib.org or 609-278-2640 ext. 172. For other information on events and lunchtime classes at the State Library visit www.njstatelib.org.