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News from the Reference Desk

Fold3

fold3-fhg_mainWe now subscribe to Fold3 Library Edition by Ancestry. This is a premier collection of historical U.S. military records and unique military content. Historians, genealogists and military enthusiasts can access more than 440 million records beginning with the Revolutionary War. The new user interface makes it easy to search historical documents from diverse sources including the War of 1812 Pension Applications and Service Records, Civil War Widows’ Pensions, and records of the United States Colored Troops, and, unique non-military sources such as Native American records, FBI Case Files, and Holocaust records. If you would like personalized instructions on how to use Fold3, contact Reference Librarian Steve Browne to set up an appointment.

By Steve Browne on July 29, 2015 Categories: Uncategorized

Personal Finance Apps That Really Help!

Managing one’s personal finances can be hectic and stressful. However, if you own a smartphone, there are several apps out there that can help tidy things up and take a bit of the pressure off. All six of these apps are available for both Android and iOS.

Mint
Perhaps the most widely used personal finance app, Intuit’s Mint gives you a real-time, complete look into all of your finances, from bank accounts and credit cards to student loans and 401k. It automatically tracks your spending, categorizes it, and alerts you when/if you approach your budget limit. You can even ask for custom savings tips within the app. Everything is shown in simple, intuitive graphs and charts, making it one of the most popular personal finance apps in the world.

Acorn
Acorn is an app that helps you invest your spare change in low-cost ETFs. Once you connect your checking and credit card accounts to it, Acorn automatically rounds up every purchase to the next dollar, and invests the difference in a portfolio of your choice. For example, if you spent $2.25 for coffee, it will invest $0.75 for you. Acorn says users invest $30 to $180 a month on average in “round ups” alone. But if you want, you can also invest a lump sum amount up to $30,000.

Level Money
Level Money calls itself the “mobile money meter.” Once you connect the app to your bank account, it automatically calculates your income and recurring bills, and then suggests what your daily, weekly, and monthly spending should be. It also comes up with the amount you should be saving every month and subtracts that from your monthly budget. You can set up an auto-save amount too, and any cash left unspent from your budget will rollover to your savings account. It tracks your spending in real time, so you can easily see what you’ve spent and how much you can spend within a given period.

Credit Karma
Besides offering free credit scores and reports, Credit Karma allows users to monitor their spending patterns by linking to their credit card and bank accounts. Based on that information, Credit Karma recommends better credit card or loan offers that can further improve your finances. Its offering now ranges from auto insurance to mortgages, and users are absolutely loving it. It has over 32 million users worldwide, and just last September, raised an additional $75 million, valuing the company at over $1 billion.

Goodbudget
Goodbudget is an app that brings the time-tested envelope budgeting method into your smartphone. The users can create “envelopes” for each of their budget category – think groceries, transportation, shopping, etc. – and pre-determine how much they’re going to allocate in each envelope. Once it’s all set up, users can record and track how much they’re spending from each envelope. It may not be as sophisticated as some of the other apps, but Goodbudget offers a simple way to stick to your budget and keep your spending really disciplined.

Wally
Wally is an expense tracking app that shows a complete picture of your expenditures. You can view how much you’ve spent daily, weekly, or monthly, while dividing expenses into separate categories. The best part about the app is that it allows you to simply scan your receipts and it’ll automatically input all the details of your purchase. That way, users don’t have to go through the hassle of typing in every detail of its spending, while the app saves all the receipts.

 

Read more: HERE

By joecollier on June 30, 2015 Categories: Consumer, Economic

Roads of Yesterday

Summertime in most areas of the United States heralds road construction season. But what was it like for automobile drivers 100 years ago? This video prepared by the Ford Motor Company shows how the Model T was built and what it was like to drive in those early days of the automobile age. Most roads were not paved and snow plowing was nonexistent. Mount Prospect entered the automobile age in full force when William Busse bought his first Buick automobile and eventually became a Buick dealer. Here is a c1920 photograph from the Mount Prospect Historical Society showing William and his son, Fred, with the family’s first automobile. Most of Mount Prospect’s roads were unpaved until the mid-1920s.

By MPPL on June 17, 2015 Categories: Auto, Travel

Start your search with ReferenceUSA

ReferenceUSA provides fast online access to critical reference and research information. This quality data can help you:

  • Search for jobs by skills, location and industry
  • Find Business opportunities
  • Research executives and companies worldwide
  • Track down addresses and phone numbers
  • Locate out of town companies

 

By Steve Browne on May 8, 2015 Categories: Business, Web Resource

Free DMV permit practice tests

You can take free permit driving tests for car or motorcycle through our web resources page with our new site, Driving Test Prep. These are multiple choice questions and you can see the results immediately. Also available are practice tests for the CDL (commercial driver’s licence). This is an excellent resource for new drivers but also a great way to test your knowledge even if you’ve been driving for decades.

By Steve Browne on April 16, 2015 Categories: Uncategorized

Free File Alliance Public Briefing With Congressman Peter Roskam

The federal Free File Alliance, a public-private partnership that provides free online federal income tax preparation and e-filing services to taxpayers who earned $60,000 or less in 2014 is hosting a public briefing.

When: Wednesday, March 11, 2015
10:00 a.m. – public briefing
10:30 a.m. – Free File demo
(Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., refreshments will be served)

Where: Harper College
Wojcik Center, Room W214, 2nd Floor Boardroom
1200 West Algonquin Road
Palatine, IL 60067

To RSVP, please email Lori Baux at Mlbaux@aol.com
or call 515-233-3816

Following the briefing, take advantage of a hands-on demonstration to see how easy it is to use Free File, learn about other free tax services in the community, and gain access to outreach materials to inform eligible taxpayers.

 

 

By julie collins on March 6, 2015 Categories: Taxes

Limited Tax Forms Available on the Second Floor

Both the federal Internal Review Service and the State of Illinois have drastically reduced the number and variety of forms they send to the Library for public distribution.

We will only be receiving a limited number of the federal forms 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ. The Library will not receive instructions, schedules, or other numbered forms. Except for some Illinois 1040 forms, the Library will also not receive any copies of state forms for distribution.

Sets of reproducible forms will be available for photocopying, (for both IRS and Illinois) or you may access the forms you need online and print them from a Library computer. For assistance, please ask at the Reference Desk on the second floor.

For more detailed information, contact the Internal Revenue Service (www.irs.gov) at 800/829-1040 for Individual assistance and 800/829-4933 for businesses. The local office phone number is 847/737-6688.

For the Illinois Department of Revenue (www.revenue.state.il.us) call 800/732-8866. The local office phone number is 847/294-4200.

For more detailed information and links to forms and filing help, visit the Tax Information page on our web site at mppl.org/research/taxes.

 

By julie collins on February 20, 2015 Categories: Taxes

Talk to Your Teens About Money

It’s the time of year when many of us make decisions about our employee benefits for the coming year–“open enrollment” season. The Office of Financial Education, a part of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, offers this sound advice:

You can guide your children in finding the financial help they need

The financial world of today isn’t the same world you grew up in. New services and choices are being offered all the time. For your children to navigate the new financial world they’ll face, they need to know when to seek out information and how to evaluate it. Your children need practice making money choices, and they could use your guidance. At this age they may be earning some money of their own. Now, as you make benefits choices for next year, think about including your teenager in your decision-making process. You can help your teenager think about how to use information to make a good decision. If you have benefits fact sheets or Web sites from your employer, sit with your teenager and go through them. Talk through the questions your child has, and ask a few questions of your own:

  • What is the most important thing to think about for the family’s health care? Why?

  • Have there been any changes in the family since last year that could make a difference to health care? To insurance? To flexible spending dollars?

  • What could be the advantages or disadvantages of having benefits deducted from your paycheck, compared to paying the costs on your own?

  • How trustworthy is the information you receive? How would you look for further information?

You don’t have to do anything you wouldn’t do normally, when you make your benefits choices. Just by showing your teens how you approach enrollment, you’re helping them practice the decision-making process before their own paychecks are at stake. For more ideas, visit www.consumerfinance.gov/parents.

By joecollier on December 17, 2014 Categories: Business, Children, Consumer, Economic, Education, Finance, Jobs

Searching Consumer Reports Made Simple

if yoConsumer-Reports-Logou were familiar with the convoluted method of searching the Consumer Reports databases through MasterFILE, you will be relieved to hear those days are over. Consumer Reports is now easier to search through Article Finder. We have set up a special link to help you. Click here – Consumer Reports – and put whatever items you need reviews for in the box, then hit enter. You’ll find it’s an easy and modern search!

By Steve Browne on December 12, 2014 Categories: Uncategorized

Online National Archives Genealogy Fair

On October 28, 29, and 30, 2014, the National Archive and Records Administration is hosting a big online genealogy event.  During these three days of Internet broadcasting, those interested in learning more about genealogy can listen to genealogy experts from the National Archives facilities and from the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services talk about using Federal records as resources for family history research.  The sessions start at 10 AM EDT each day.  After the event, recorded sessions and handouts will remain online.  Learn more at http://www.archives.gov/calendar/genealogy-fair.

By annes on October 27, 2014 Categories: Uncategorized