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Tax season again? Didn’t we do that last year?

Tax time is hurtling towards us. If tax forms weren’t delivered to your home.  Rest easy. We can help.

We have some of the more popular tax forms to photocopy. We can also assist you in printing forms, and we have tax booklets for your review. We have listings of sites for free tax help as well.  Best of all, the Sunnyvale Public Library is hosting the software company, Intuit, who will help you low income  file your taxes for free on Monday, March 4th  from 2:00-7:00 p.m. To sign up for an appointment, please call 866-577-1231. Volunteers will be on hand to help with filing.

Should you need immediate access to tax forms the federal forms can be found at www.irs.gov.

Forms for California can be found at www.ftb.ca.gov.

AARP is also offering free tax help for low and moderate income tax payers.  They can be contacted at the AARP tax aide site.

1146_AARP_tax

 

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Super Bowl or Super Brawl At Your Library

The Super Bowl is done, and like all 49ers fans, we didn’t get the outcome we wanted. So for now, let’s do like all the other teams that didn’t even make the game and talk about the commercials.

Between getting choked up by a Clydesdale and grossed out by GoDaddy, the best ad for $4 million of not-our-money was the only one that took place in a library (naturally). Oreo’s spot begins with two men arguing, quietly, over which is better: an Oreo’s creme filling inside or its chocolatey cookie outside. Soon everyone in the library gets involved, quietly, in an all-out brawl for sandwich supremacy. Eventually, fire and police crews respond, quietly, to quell the chaos. The ad is laugh-out-loud amusing, but it also perpetuates two (ok, one) stereotypes about libraries we’d like to dispel.

Stereotype #1: Quiet study is the only activity that happens in the library.

First, you should know that the library can still be a place for quiet reading and reflection. We have designated areas of the library expressly for this purpose. However, as times and the needs of our community change, so does the library. Public libraries in general are evolving from silent crypts of knowledge to vibrant, lively, and yes, at times loud, centers for exploration and collaboration. Sunnyvale Library is no exception. Last week on this blog, Becky wrote about some of the unexpected things that librarians do instead of shushing people all day. While we do and always will promote reading and study here, one of our goals at the library is to create programs that help people lead active, enriched lives, both physically and mentally. Take a look at our recent and upcoming events to see that we are working hard to offer something for you to get up, get engaged, and doing something on your own or with others. We’ve had wonderful success with our recent Fresh Start Series, as hundreds of you have come out to learn about organization, investing, EBay, and more. There are programs still to come on healthy food and estate planning in this series. Also still to come this month, you can visit the library to learn about getting out in your garden to grow blueberries, raise money for your organization, pick up the basics of computers or ebooks, or get crafty and make a valentine for your special someone. We recently got you listening to chamber music and dancing to Bollywood beats, and you still have time to tap your toes when we continue our Sunday Music Series with barbershop harmonies later this month. And of course we have some great literature programs planned as well, including our monthly book group which will kick off Silicon Valley Reads month with a discussion of The Long Walk: The Story of War and the Life That Follows by Brian Castner (who will speak here at Sunnyvale Library on Sunday, March 3 at 3 p.m.).

Stereotype #2: Oreos are great library eats.

While we can all appreciate the pick-me-up that a sweet snack provides during a long session of reading or studying, eating inside the library is problematic for several reasons. Crumbs on the floor, especially under tables and next to bookshelves where it is harder to clean, eventually attract vermin and other nasties. It’s gross and no joke. Food debris and beverage spills on books and other materials can cause permanent damage, especially if not reported immediately (usually out of embarassment). Have you ever unluckily picked up a book or DVD that had obviously been through a soda spill? Double gross. Eating, especially in a quiet area, is often disruptive to others. Very few of us are true eating ninjas, stealthy and silent. Some of us are unabashed lip-smackers, and well, we just won’t go there. Finally, take another look at the mess that can happen when Oreos and libraries mix:

So get up, and get engaged here at your library! But leave your Oreos outside or else they might disappear, because for the record, this librarian is most definitely on Team Creme.

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Taxes. Didn’t we do that last year?

Due to the anxiety that attends this season, the Sunnyvale Library is here to help. While we do not have the tax forms on hand to give out, we will gladly help you print or photocopy them. Should you need some help with filing, we have some resources to assist you to that end. On Monday, February 27 from 2-7 pm, the Library will host tax volunteers who will be offering assistance to qualified individuals. For more information and to learn if you qualify, as well as what to bring to your appointment, download this .pdf, and call 1-866-577-1231 to make a reservation.

Both State and Federal tax returns are not due until April 17, 2012.

Where to get tax forms

Internal Revenue Service (IRS): www.irs.gov
Order Forms & Publications: (800) 829-3676

Franchise Tax Board (FTB) (California State Taxes): www.ftb.ca.gov
Order Forms & Publications: (800) 852-5711

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Financial Literacy: End this Year Right – Start 2012 Empowered!

Having been the librarian in charge of our library’s personal finance collection for the past seven to eight years, I’ve gained a whole new respect for financial literacy.  Like most folks, I had what I considered to be almost a “bare-bone” knowledge of personal finance.  However, by reading reviews of upcoming books on the subject in order to make purchase decisions, reading books, newspapers, magazines, using financial databases, and bringing in experts to teach classes, I feel a lot more comfortable with developing my financial future.  It was through gaining that knowledge that I realized what I could comfortably do on my own, and knowing when to seek sound financial advice.  I am about to retire, or as I like to put it, transition into a whole new wonderful chapter in my life with my family.

One of the most important things you can do for yourself AND your family is to gain financial literacy.  It is not just a one-time process; it is a lifetime of gaining reputable knowledge of handling your money for all phases and decisions of your life.  I urge you to seek knowledge from your local library’s many resources (just go to our large selection of e-books to download, books in the personal finance section of our collection, as well as other great online resources like the database ValueLine, websites like 360 Financial Literacy, Practical Money Skills for Life, National Endowment for Financial Education, and Smart About Money, and our assortment of personal finance magazines that can be checked out for your convenience). 

What’s so great about this – it’s FREE to you!  This will be one of the wisest decisions you will make, and the dividends will definitely pay off in the long-run.  So, get educated, and stay educated about the wise use of money for you and your family.  And by all means, make sure that your children and grandchildren receive this education as soon as possible!  Your library is here for you!

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BizStarters.com: A Great Small Business Resource for Boomers!

bizstarters.comAs the Business librarian for our library, I am constantly on the lookout for quality print and web-based personal finance and entrepreneurial resources for our patrons.  Being a Baby Boomer, I love to read one of the library’s best newsletters, “Kiplinger’s Retirement Report”.  In the October 2011 issue, a particular online resource recently caught my attention that I would like to share with you.  It is Bizstarters.com.

This site is geared towards entrepreneurs that are 50 and older.  The site also offers a free “Boomer Biz Starter Kit” that includes a guide on how to use life and work experiences. From this, you can find not only good business ideas, but also how to evaluate their financial prospects.

BizStarters.com  has been chosen by the popular “Kiplinger’s Personal Finance” magazine (also available at our library!) as “the best guide for entrepreneurs over 50″.  Along with the great print and online resources that we have available for you to use at the Sunnyvale Public Library, add this website to your arsenal of entrepreneurial tools!

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