Tag Archives: Research Library

July 17 author talk on The Jersey Shore: National Treasure

Please join us on Wednesday, July 17th from noon to 1 p.m. in the Level 2 Reading Room for an author talk with Dominick Mazzagetti on The Jersey Shore: The Past, Present and Future of a National Treasure.

In his book, Mazzagetti provides a modern re-telling of the history, culture, and landscapes of this famous region from the 1600s to the present as seen through a legal lens. In the 1800s, The Jersey Shore, from Sandy Hook to Cape May became a national resort and it contributes enormously to New Jersey’s economy today. In 2012 much of the shore was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, but the state came together to rebuild and to restore its economic health. The book is divided into chronological and thematic sections including 1765-1850: The Rise of Resorts; Shipwrecks, Lifesaving and Lighthouses; Fires, Storms, and War; and The Twenty-First-Century Shore.

Mazzagetti graduated from Rutgers University-Newark and went on to study law. He served as law secretary to the chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court and as Deputy and Acting Commissioner of Banking in the administration of New Jersey Governor Tom Kean.

If you plan to attend this free talk, please RSVP to Cindy Warrick at cwarrick@njstatelib.org or 609-278-2640 ext. 172. For other information on events and classes at the State Library visit www.njstatelib.org.

Cancer in Families: A Look at Genetic Risks

Cancer can be a silent killer and sometimes, it is often too late when our loved one is diagnosed.  Detecting cancer as early as possible allows for greater flexibility in treatment as well as a greater chance of remission or elimination.  As technology has advanced, genetic testing and treatment may help health professionals detect cancer earlier and create personal, targeted treatment options with greater chances of success.  Please join us as Dorothy Lewis, Genetic Counselor from the Capital Health Cancer Center discusses the important relationship between cancer and genetics.  She will cover what current research is telling us and take you through what genetic counseling and testing is like from the perspective of a participant.


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Battleship New Jersey Oral History and Paul Stillwell Collections at the NJ State Library

The New Jersey State Library acquired a copy of the Battleship New Jersey (BB-62) oral history collection in 2014. The collection consists of more than 320 video and audio interviews of U.S. Navy crewmembers, U.S. Marine Corps personnel, other military veterans, and civilians who helped construct or maintain the Battleship New Jersey. The collection is available to historians, researchers, teachers, students, and the general public at the State Library, 185 West State St., Trenton. Researchers are able to search specific topics and then view or listen to the interviews while at the State Library.  A large portion of the collection consists of video interviews of veterans who served aboard the New Jersey during her four commissionings: World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Middle East conflict up through 1991. During these four periods, the Battleship New Jersey earned 19 battle stars to become the most decorated battleship in U.S. history.

The ship is now a museum and memorial permanently berthed in Camden, NJ. Deborah Mercer, curator of the New Jersey Collection at the State Library, said, “You can see and hear the workers describe how they built the Battleship New Jersey and the officers and enlisted men tell in their own words  from their personal memories how they served on the historic battleship.” “This is a one-of-a-kind oral history collection and we are pleased to be able to offer it to researchers and the general public,” said Mary Chute, State Librarian.

Dr. Thomas Banit, Professor Emeritus of history/education at Kean University and founder of the oral history program aboard the New Jersey, and a former Marine officer in Vietnam, stated: “This collection was built . . . with all-volunteer interviewers, videographers, transcribers, abstractors, indexers and historians. The program was initially funded by two grants from the Homeport Alliance, the group responsible for bringing the ship back to New Jersey.  We will continue to interview veterans and add to the collection, which is now considered the largest oral history archive of over 200 historic ship museums in the world.”

Ronald Gottardi, director of the Battleship New Jersey Oral History Program said about this relationship between the Battleship New Jersey and the State Library as it began: “The ship allows the public to visit and experience the physical setting for the history; the State Library will open the ship’s history to researchers, thus helping firmly cement the place of the vessel in its namesake state.” Included with the collection are transcripts and audio tapes of interviews by Cmdr. Paul Stillwell, USNR (ret.), noted naval historian, generated during research on his book, Battleship New Jersey: An Illustrated History,  Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press,  1986. These items are searchable in the BB-62 Oral History database.

Career Connections Presents – Volunteering: A Doorway to Employment

If you’re looking for a job, you may think your time would be better spent on job-search activities than volunteering.  However, there are several benefits to volunteering.  Come join us as we delve into how volunteering can have a positive impact on not only your job search, but also developing and enhancing important skills and talents sought after by employers.

The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development has developed a career navigation framework consisting of expert insights and actionable guidance, which follows 3 steps: Plan, Prepare, and Succeed. Volunteering: A Doorway to Employment falls under the ”Prepare” step of this model.


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History of Timbuctoo, NJ: African American Enclave

Beginning in 1826, Timbuctoo  was settled by formerly enslaved and free African Americans with the assistance of Quakers. African Americans bought land, as well as establishing institutions such as a school, a church, a cemetery, and a benevolent society.  Guy Weston, whose ancestors purchased a parcel in Timbuctoo in 1829, will discuss the fascinating details of researching his family and their participation in this community that was an important stop on the Underground Railroad.

Guy Weston is a family historian and cultural heritage specialist. At present, he is a Visiting Scholar at Rutgers University, and chairs an advisory committee established by Westampton Township to  advise its governing body on historic preservation issues related to Timbuctoo.

For more information about our Genealogy collection, including links to the research guide, blog, and future events, please visit www.njstatelib.org/genealogy.


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Home Buying

Looking to buy your first home or looking to move after many years in your current home?  One of the most stressful parts of buying a home is securing a mortgage.  Please join us as the Credit Union of New Jersey will discuss the ins and outs of the mortgage process, especially how to get started so you waste no time when putting in your offer.  They will also discuss the different types of mortgages, credit scores and their impact on the process, and homeownership coaching.


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Washington Crossing State Park – NJ: A Hidden Gem of Revolutionary War History and Natural Fun

As summer approaches and school lets out, outdoor activities and destinations become popular choices for summer fun.  Located just north of Trenton, Washing Crossing State Park offer’s the public a host of diverse and fun educational and recreational opportunities.  Join us as the Mark Sirak from the Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Parks and Forestry will showcase how you can make the most of your visit to the park.  He will discuss the world changing events that qualify the park as a historic and heritage destination, highlights of the history and founding of the park itself, as well as what the park offers to visitors today.  Following the presentation, attendees are welcome to come up and see a selection of artifacts and reproductions from the Swan Historical Foundation’s American Revolution Collection on display at the Visitor Center Museum in the park.

Mark Sirak has worked at Washington Crossing State park – NJ for over 30 years with the last 16 years as a Historian in the Visitor Center Museum.


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Active Listening and Active Inquiry: Effective Supervisory Tools for Managers Program Recap

Thanks to Aaron Chavis, Strategic Advisor from The EmPathic Institute for a powerful and interactive presentation on active listening and active inquiry.

There are common misconceptions about active listening and its role as an effective tool for managers.  First, there is very little validity in the use of active listening; its much easier and just as effective as telling someone what to do and leave it at that.  Second, active listening is not tangible and therefore cannot be demonstrated.  However, as you delve into the reasons behind the use of active listening and inquiry, as well as the practical applications for it, it is easy to see how and why these are myths.

So what is active listening?  According to Skillsyouneed.com, “active listening involves listening with all senses.  As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening – otherwise the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.  Interest can be conveyed to the speaker by using both verbal and non-verbal messages such as maintaining eye contact, nodding your head and smiling, agreeing by saying ‘Yes’ or simply ‘Mmm hmm’ to encourage them to continue. By providing this ‘feedback’ the person speaking will usually feel more at ease and therefore communicate more easily, openly and honestly.”

Active listening and inquiry is used across many fields, including counseling, training, and conflict resolution.  The use of active listening and inquiry can have a significant impact on yourself and others, including:

  • Earning the trust and respect of your peers
  • Understanding issues and formulating better solutions
  • Diffusing conflict
  • Developing better relationships with subordinates and supervisors at all levels
  • Enforcing a mission driven work approach
  • Managing change effectively

Active listening requires practice and a commitment to working with another party to solve problems, which can include job duties, job performance, work environment, or personal issues.  Active listening also requires us to leave behind our preconceptions or biases and work with the other party to find out what are the real issues, as well as potential solutions.  An easy way to demonstrate active listening is to periodically paraphrase or summarize what the other party is saying to ensure that everyone is on the same page and clearly define and understand the issue/issues at stake.  On the flip side, active inquiry requires the manager/supervisor to engage with the other party in terms of asking questions to solicit clear understanding of all topics being discussed and pave a pathway for improving relations, solving problems, or future follow-up.

Active listening is appropriate in the workplace when:

  • Opportunity to bring clarity to an issue
  • Relationships need improvement up, down, or across the organization
  • Teamwork or productivity needs improvement
  • Parties are open to learn from anyone and anything
  • An agreement of intent in the session

Active listening should not be used in the workplace when:

  • You are distracted or unable to pay attention, such as completing another task
  • You have already passed judgement on a person or situation
  • There is a simple answer to a question or something that needs a simple fix
  • You are stacking questions (more than 1) without giving the other party time to process and respond to each one
  • Checklisting – prior set of questions

Active listening and active inquiry is designed to be an open dialogue where both parties have equal footing to discuss ideas openly.   When it comes to active inquiry, there are 6 important questions to ask in order to keep the conversation productive and moving towards some form of closure:

  • What would be the most valuable outcome you can achieve in our session?
  • What are your ideas to find solutions?
  • What are your insights so far?
  • What would you like to discuss now?
  • What are the next steps?
  • What was most valuable for you today?

By taking the time and effort to become invested in the other party’s issues, concerns, or thoughts, and working through those together, positive outcomes or change will be achieved.  For more information on active listening, please download a copy of the presentation at https://www.njstatelib.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Active-Listening-and-Inquiry.pdf.  Also, please review the Supervisor’s Meeting Prep Checklist for Success to ensure you have productive meetings and discussions by preparing your questions and your mindset ahead of time.  For questions, please contact Aaron Chavis at empathicinstituteinfo@gmail.com.

Active Listening and Inquiry for Managers

Dealing with co-workers, especially if you are in a supervisory role, can be challenging.  Communication is key when managing a workplace and active listening and inquiry are important communication tools in every manager’s toolbox.  Aaron Chavis will provide managers and leaders with an introduction into the power and effectiveness of listening and asking high powered questions as a tool to improve supervisory skills, build trust and rapport, and improve employee/manager relations.  Course objectives include:

  • Dispel Myths of Active Listening and Active Inquiry
  • Develop basic listening and inquiry techniques to improve work relationships with employees
  • Create Follow-up Protocol to hold Self and Employees Accountable
  • Provide timely evaluations and improvement tracking to demonstrate growth and effectiveness

Aaron W. Chavis is a Strategic Adviser to nonprofit executives and other social entrepreneurs in the Tri State region.  He assists in the development of people, organizations, and communities by providing strategic solutions to build high performing teams and operations. He has over 18 years’ experience in the nonprofit industry; is an adjunct professor of Sociology; and, is the owner of Empathic Institute.


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Career Connections Presents – Master the Art of Networking Program Recap

As the job market becomes more competitive, the old adage of “It’s not what you know, but who you know” is more relevant now than ever.  Networking is a major factor when it comes to job searching, as well as securing that crucial interview.  Master the Art of Networking, presented by Career Connections, highlighted several tips for building your network and maximizing the impact of those in your network, including:

  • Network can include anyone you come in contact with on a regular basis, including friends, co-workers, social/community groups, service providers (hair stylist, doctor, accountant)
  • Use informal interviews with people in the field or profession you are interested in to gain a better understanding of what is expected from people who work in that field
  • 4 types of network contacts: sources, recommenders, decision makers, and linkers
  • Ensure that your social media profiles are professional and clear of anything that could have a negative impact on your image, such as photos, opinions, and use of language
  • Create an Elevator Pitch that is short and sums up your major goals and competencies in case you have an opportunity to meet new contact for your network or potential hiring managers

For more information on networking, please visit the Master the Art of Networking webpage from Career Connections, available at http://careerconnections.nj.gov/careerconnections/prepare/networking/master_the_art_of_networking_index.shtml.

Career Connections Presents – Master the Art of Networking

A critical component of anyone’s career goals and advancement is networking.  Finding the right job or career can be all about WHO you know rather than WHAT you know.  Join us as we highlight why networking is so important in today’s job environment while addressing the following topics:

  • Identifing, building, and expanding your network
  • Network planning
  • Using social media


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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.  Consolidation is an option many people take to reduce their monthly payments and interest rate, but it may extend the life of the loan to 30 years and prevent you from over-paying on the loan.  Repayment options (federal loans) include:

  • Standard
    • 10 years
    • Highest payment, but lowest total amount
    • will be auto enrolled after school if no other choice is selected during Exit Interview
  • Graduated
    • 10 years
    • Payments start off low, but increase roughly every 2 years
  • Extended
    • About 25 years
    • Payments are lower, but life of the loan is greatly extended, requiring more to be paid back
    • Must have at least $30,000 in student loan debt
  • Income-Based
    • 20-25 years of qualified payments, then rest is forgiven
    • 10-15% of discretionary income
  • Income Contingent
    • 25 years, then loan is forgiven
    • 20% of discretionary income OR amount if loan was for 12 years, whichever is lesser
    • Payment is calculated each year based your AGI (and spouse’s if married), family size, and amount of loans
  • Pay as you Earn
    • 20 years, then loan is forgiven
    • capped at 10% of discretionary income
  • Revised Pay as you Earn
    • 25 years, then loan is forgiven
    • Payment is calculated each year based your AGI (and spouse’s if married)
    • Payments may be higher than Standard repayment

If a loan is forgiven, the remaining balance MUST BE declared as income on your federal taxes for that year!

There are also federal and state loan forgiveness programs that will forgive your student loan debt if you meet certain requirements, such as work in qualified public service job for 10 years.  For more information

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.

You can also view a sample Repayment Plan Summary at https://www.njstatelib.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Repayment-Plan-Summary.pdf.