Tag Archives: Research Library

Petty’s Island: A Journey Back to Nature

Petty’s Island is a piece of land situated on the Delaware River between Camden and Philadelphia (but technically a part of Pennsauken Township).  For over 100 years, this Island was owned by Citgo and utilized for industrial purposes.  In the early 2000’s, however, a bald eagle nest was found on the Island, forever changing its fate.  Taylor Melodick-Robinson, from the Alliance for Watershed Education, will be showing the documentary, Petty’s Island: A journey Back to Nature, is a 22-minute film highlighting the history of Petty’s Island, from its first inhabitants, to the environmental transformation currently taking place.  Following the documentary, there will be a Q & A.

Taylor Melodick-Robinson is currently a Fellow for the Alliance for Watershed Education.  Through her position, she is focusing on environmental outreach and education.  In addition, she is a Rutgers-Camden alumni, and is currently pursuing her master’s in Sustainability Science and Management at Montclair State University.

 

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Mock Interviews

One of the best ways to develop your interview and communication skills is to practice, whether it be in a formal setting, with friends, or by yourself in the bathroom mirror.  Mock interviews provide you with a chance to rehearse you answers while also identifying areas for improvement based on feedback from someone active in the workforce.  The New Jersey State Library will be hosting a limited number of Mock Interview sessions.  Each session will be 30 minutes and you will be interviewed by a library staff member.  All participants will receive a list of the most common interview questions that are used across a variety of careers and professions.  There will be 4 sessions per each 30 minute Block, as listed below:

Block 1:   12:00 pm – 12:30 pm (4 spots available)
Block 2:   12:30 pm – 1:00 pm (4 spots available)

If you are interested in registering, please contact Andrew Dauphinee at adauphinee@njstatelib.org or 609-278-2640 ext. 155 with your preferred times.

PLEASE NOTE: There are only 4 spots available for each Block.  Please do not register unless you are able to attend.  

The Aging Eye

Joan Micucci, COMT, from Matossian Eye Associates, presents a comprehensive overview of the many conditions that can affect a person’s vision throughout the natural aging process, specifically cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. Joan will discuss prevention and treatment of these conditions with a brief overview of each.

 

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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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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.

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.

 

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.

Planning for Retirement Program Recap

One of the biggest financial considerations for anyone is retirement.  When do I retire? How much money will I need?  Where should I put my money?  These are some common questions as it relates to retirement, but you don’t need to be a financial expert to start planning.  Britany Enelow, Financial Advisor from the Credit Union of New Jersey shared the following information to help you on the pathway to retirement.

First and foremost, there are some broad considerations regarding retirement you should think about.  What does retirement look like for you?  When are you going to start retirement and how long will it last?  What sources of income do you need in order to live comfortably in retirement?  By having a clearer picture of what you want your retirement to be, including where you are going to live, you will have a better understanding of how you should start preparing financially for retirement.

Once you have a picture of our retirement, you need to start building a retirement strategy.  When determining how you are going to prepare for retirement, you should plan to have enough funds to last 20-30 years while in retirement.  The assets in your portfolio should be spread out between Growth, Access, and Predicable Income:

  • Growth – assets that continue to grow while in retirement, such as stocks.  Goal is ensure that your money outpaces inflation.
  • Access – liquid money that you can use immediately for emergencies or unexpected expenses, such as a savings account
  • Predictable Income – used to cover necessary expenses, regardless of how the market is doing, such as Social Security, Pension, Annuity, part-time employment

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual expenditures for persons aged 65 and older are:

  • Housing and utilities – 34%
  • Transportation – 15%
  • Health Care – 15%
  • Food – 13%
  • Entertainment – 5%
  • Other – 18%

By preparing a budget using the assets in your portfolio, as well as your current expenditures, you can more definitely determine how much money you would need in retirement to survive.  This includes determining the sources of income that you will rely on to meet those expenditures.  Possible sources of income include Social Security, 401k, IRA, investments, pensions, or deferred compensation.  Once you identify all of your income sources, organize them into Predictable and Variable incomes to better determine how much money you will have easily accessible to pay for your necessary expenses as well as plan for non-essential costs that add to your quality of life.  Use the 4-Box Strategy, shown below, to better visual your incomes and expenses and determine what works best for you.

Once you have done all the planning, its time to start building your Nest Egg.  As you approach retirement, your asset allocation should become more conservative, relying less on stocks and high-risk ventures and more one safer options, such as bonds.  In an ideal world, you want your Nest Egg to be 15x your annual income.  The reason for such a high number is to ensure that your annual growth from the investment, about 5%, will equal 75% of your pre-retirement salary, which should be enough to pay for your necessary expenses.  For example, for someone making $75,000 a year, their Nest Egg should be around $1.125 million.  5% of that Nest Egg equals $56,250, which is equal to 75% of their $75,000 annual income.  This will help insure that you will not run out of money in retirement and allow you to have some monetary legacy to pass on after your death.

Unfortunately, retirement planning and funding are not without risk.  With modern medicine, people are living longer which means that you might outlive your retirement funding.  Therefore, it is critical to plan for at least 20 years of retirement when determining how much money you will need.  Another risk is inflation, which means that the money you have today will not be worth the same amount in the future.  Therefore, it is important to have some of your money in growth-focused assets to ensure that your money keeps up or outpaces inflation.  Healthcare expenses are rising quickly and can easily consume a majority, if not all of your retirement spending.  For example, the median yearly cost for a home health aid is about $50,000; it is higher if you live in NJ.  Lastly, withdrawing money too soon or too often can have a devastating impact on your future finances, which you may never be able to recover from.

For more information on retirement planning or investing, please contact Britany Enelow at benelow@cunj.org or 609-538-4061 ext. 2056.  For a copy of the handout, please visit https://www.njstatelib.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Planning-for-Retirement.pdf.

 

WEBINAR – Finding Your Women Ancestors in New Jersey Records

Are you trying to research a female ancestor from New Jersey and don’t know where to start?  Regina Fitzpatrick, Genealogy Librarian at the New Jersey State Library will review how to find women in popular New Jersey genealogical collections.  Learn smart research strategies within individual collections and more about collections you may not have thought to check for your ancestor.

Click here to register!

Persist and Prevail: African American Family Achievements Program Recap

Thank you to Muriel Roberts and Barbara Polk Riley for sharing their family histories in honor of National Family History Month.  African American lineages can be difficult to trace further than a few generations and thanks to Muriel and Barbara, there are some tricks that may help people when searching for ancestors who were or came from former slaves.

A unique aspect to both of their families was the propensity to refer to people, especially males, by their middle names.  As a result, they ran into many roadblocks by searching for their ancestors, thinking that the name relatives called them was their first name when actually it was their middle name.  Oftentimes, names can be confirmed by checking vital records (birth, marriage, and death), which is why it is so important to obtain these documents when starting research on any ancestor.  They can confirm or reveal important information that can be used to identify other relatives, locations, and time periods with certainty.

Muriel Roberts was able to find a wealth of information through a little known source, the Works Progress Administration’s Slave Narratives, published between 1936-1938.  During the Great Depression, the Roosevelt Administration commissioned writers to produce books and documents on a wide variety of topics, one of which was to record interviews of former slaves.  Comprising of roughly 3,500 interviews, the Slave Narratives can provide a wealth of first-hand knowledge that can greatly influence one’s research into their African American lineage.  While the interviews were only 1-2 pages long, they contain important information such as names, both family and owners, locations, including during and after slavery, and occupations.  These narratives can be a major breakthrough and a hidden treasure trove for anyone researching slave ancestry.

It is also important to consider DNA testing when dealing with African American ancestry.  In some cases, a person’s ancestors may have been the offspring of a white owner and African slave.  This may be revealed through matches in a person’s DNA which can lead to more avenues for one to look, including wills that may confirm the presence of a slave ancestor.

Anyone who can prove ancestry to a slave can join the lineage society of the Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage.  As a lineage society, there are stringent requirements regarding what documents are needed to prove direct ancestry, but the society has many resources available to its members that can help further along genealogical research.