Saturday, April 19, 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

Check the Status of Your Federal Tax Refund

If you're awaiting a refund from the IRS, check the status of your refund.

Your refund status should be available 24 hours after your electronically filed tax return has been received, or 4 weeks after you've mailed a paper return.

You must enter the exact whole dollar amount shown on your tax return. Providing the exact whole dollar amount is essential to receiving the correct response.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

ALA annual report on the state of America’s libraries

This week, the American Library Association released their annual report on the state of America’s libraries, which includes a round-up of the “Top 10 Most Frequently Challenged Books” in 2013—in other words, books that people have most often attempted to ban in schools and public libraries.

SlimeKids: School LIbrary MEdia Kids

SlimeKids is a website for elementary/middle school-age kids; it's a free site.

"SlimeKids features an extensive collection of book trailers organized by year and by grade level as well as numerous language arts-related games in such categories as word, literacy, spelling, typing, vocabulary and grammar. Additionally, the website showcases an array of exceptional literacy-related resources such as author and book review websites as well as superb learning tools including reference works and search engines."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Info about the Exit 23 (Albany County, NY) Casino proposal and process

(Stolen from Albany Common Council member Leah Golby's e-mail):

Haven't heard that there's a casino proposal? Here's the All Over Albany report of the Common Council briefing held last month.

At the April 7 Common Council Meeting, some members of the public expressed concern about casinos in general, and a casino being sited in Albany specifically, while others expressed support for the proposed casino.

Here's the process in terms of Council consideration and information about public meetings:
•The developer must submit their application by June 30. Here is the RFA.
•One component of the casino application is support from the host community. A resolution was introduced April 7 so that the Council can begin consideration of support for the proposal. The Common Council constituted a "Committee of the Whole" (a committee on which every Council Member sits) so that the resolution would be sent to that committee for consideration.
•The Council has set a goal of May 5 for voting on the Resolution.
•At this point the following meetings are scheduled or under consideration:
1.April 16 - 6:30 p.m. public forum with the developer at Giffen Elementary School - 274 South Pearl Street

Anyone with Internet Access Can See Interesting Views of Albany

COLLECTION OF HISTORIC ALBANY PHOTOS NOW ONLINE

Albany Public Library has a rich and varied collection of historic Albany photos that is now available to view online through New York Heritage Digital Collections -- a free online portal designed for researchers and history buffs. The site -- nyheritage.org -- is now showcasing two small APL collections: "Views of Albany" and "Urban Renewal in Albany."

Views of Albany showcases a selection of black and white photographs that are mostly from the early 20th century. This collection shows the homes, churches, businesses, weather events, transportation, streets, and people of Albany's past.

Urban Renewal in Albany is an album of photographs and captions that was handmade in 1976 by Florence L. Powell, a historical research assistant for the city of Albany. Powell's album is composed of before-and-after pictures of the Clinton Square area during the urban renewal era. The scrapbook documents the demolition of buildings, the reshaping of streets, and the construction of Interstate 787 and the Leo W. O'Brien Office Building.

The library will continue to add photos to the New York Heritage online collection. These images are just a sample of APL's full Pruyn Collection of Albany History, which is housed in the Albany History Room at the Main Library and includes documents about urban renewal, the South Mall construction, city and state government, and African American history. The Pruyn Collection is comprised of thousands of books, photographs, city directories, newspapers, documents, census records, city council minutes, maps, and more. For more information, please call 427-4303.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Alzheimer’s Association's Green-Field Library

The Alzheimer's Association Green-Field Library is excited to celebrate National Library Week. Located at the national headquarters in Chicago, it is one of the largest library and resource centers devoted to increasing the knowledge about Alzheimer's disease and other dementia.

There's no shortage of information on Alzheimer's disease, but where to start? What articles offer practical answers? Which resources can you trust?

The expert library staff has assembled a collection of the most useful, informative and up-to-date books, journals, research studies, videos, databases, social media resources and more. And it's free!

Get started online now at alz.org/library or call 800.272.3900 to learn more.


Monday, April 14, 2014

FLAT ALBANY PUBLIC LIBRARY BUDGET FOR 2015; 2 Trustee seats open

For the second year in a row, the library's Board of Trustees has approved a flat budget that results in no tax levy increase.

"The library trustees are committed to maintaining current spending levels for the coming year in order to give taxpayers a little relief from their tax burden," said APL Executive Director Carol Nersinger. "The administration has worked hard to make the most out of our current budget so we can continue operating seven wonderful neighborhood libraries for the people of Albany."

The 2015 library operations budget is $6,434,764 -- the same amount as the 2013 and 2014 spending plans. Because the budget does not raise the tax levy, the library is not required to put it out for a public vote. Approval by the library's trustees, which was unanimously given at its March meeting, is all that is required for the flat spending plan to become official.

The library does have two trustee seats that are up for election on May 20. Potential candidates must submit petitions to the City School District of Albany by 5 pm on Monday, April 21.

SPRING BREAK BOREDOM BUSTERS at Albany Public Library

Lots of Free Fun for Kids & Teens April 14-18

APL has more than a dozen special activities planned for kids and teens April 14 through April 18 to stave off spring break boredom. Here are just a few of the free activities planned at APL. For more details, please call the host library. For a full listing, visit the library's online calendar.

APRIL 14 (Monday)
• Tang Museum Visits at 2:30 pm -- Pine Hills Branch (482-7911)

APRIL 15 (Tuesday)
• Celtic Metal Working Workshop at 2:30 pm -- Pine Hills Branch (482-7911)
• LEGOs and Percy Jackson "The Lightning Thief" Movie at 3 pm -- Delaware Branch (463-0254)
• Gadgets, Gizmos & Goo at 3:30 pm -- Howe Branch (472-9485)

APRIL 16 (Wednesday)
• "Frozen" Movie Matinee at 2:30 pm -- Pine Hills Branch (482-7911)
• Discovering the Past with Our American Girls Dolls at 3 pm -- Delaware Branch (463-0254)

APRIL 17 (Thursday)
• Preschool Story Time at 10:30 am -- North Albany Branch (463-1581)
• Perler Bead Creations at 1 pm -- Main Library (427-4310)

APRIL 18 (Friday)
• Earth Day Art at 2 pm -- Bach Branch (482-2154)
• Dyken Traveling Pond with Plants and Animals at 2:30 pm -- Pine Hills Branch (482-7911)
• RAPoetry Contest at 4 pm -- North Albany Branch (463-1581)

April is Financial Literacy Month

The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, has information to help you make the most of your money no matter who you are – student, young adult, parent, service member on active duty, veteran or grandparent.

“If you want to learn about everyday financial issues, like saving and shopping, credit and debt, buying a home or car, or looking for a job or paying for school, the FTC has information for you,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Financial Literacy Month is an ideal time to learn – or teach others – the importance of consumers’ rights, and how to file a complaint if something goes wrong.”

Complaints matter at the FTC. If a business doesn't deliver on its promises, if someone cheats you out of your money, or if you've spotted a scam, tell the FTC. Consumer complaints help drive agency investigations. The FTC’s aggressive law enforcement efforts stop fraudulent and deceptive business practices, and its consumer education campaigns empower people to make well-informed buying decisions and recognize frauds and scams.

All of the FTC's materials are in the public domain. They can be posted, reprinted, or adapted to educate people about their consumer rights.

Visit MoneyMatters for articles, videos and blog posts about financial topics that you can share in your community.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spending on Reading Material

From the New Strategist.

The average household spent $109 on reading material in 2012, slightly more than the $105 spent in 2010, after adjusting for inflation. What contributed to this boost in spending on reading material after the steep 46 percent decline between 2000 and 2010? Digital book readers, according to a Demo Memo Blog analysis of unpublished detailed spending data from the federal government's Consumer Expenditure Survey.

During an average quarter of 2012, nearly 2 percent of households bought a digital book reader. While that doesn't sound like much, it was a higher rate of purchasing than for personal digital audio players (such as iPods) and nearly as high a rate as for online gaming services. The result was a boost in spending on the overall reading category despite ongoing declines in spending on books, newspapers, and magazines.

The introduction of digital book readers explains why average household spending on reading material grew especially strongly among householders under age 55 during the 2010-to-2012 time period...

Percent change in average household spending on reading material, 2010-12 (in 2012 dollars)
Under age 25: 7.2%
Aged 25 to 34: 12.1%
Aged 35 to 44: 10.4%
Aged 45 to 54: 7.8%
Aged 55 to 64: 0.3%
Aged 65-plus: -4.4%

With more Americans owning digital book readers, perhaps spending on books will begin to grow in the years ahead.