Webfinder: Investment

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Business Opportunity Scams – ‘Looking for a job or to earn extra income? Buying into a business opportunity that makes big claims about what you can earn might sound like the answer…. Learn about your rights and the seller’s responsibilities under the FTC’s Business Opportunity Rule, and questions to ask that can help you avoid a rip-off. ‘ (Federal Trade Commission)

Insured or Not Insured? – Explains what types of investments are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and which are NOT insured – even when they are offered by a bank. (2013, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation)

Investor Education – A variety of online investor education resources for investors of all ages (North American Securities Administrators Association). Learn About Investing offers printable Investor Education booklets, videos, and related resources (Investor Protection Trust; non-profit organization).

Investor.gov – Online resources to help you invest wisely and avoid fraud. Topics covered include Introduction to Investing,  Researching Investments, and Protecting Your Investments. Also offers calculators, glossary, and other useful tools, plus specialized resources for Youth, Seniors, Military and other groups. See also Investor FAQ and Investor Alerts & Bulletins. (U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission)

Investor Knowledge Quiz (PDF) – How much do you really know about investing? Take this short quiz and test your knowledge. Avoiding Investment Scams (PDF) warns investors about classic types of investment fraud and helps investors spot and avoid the types of persuasion tactics fraudsters use. (FINRA, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.; non-profit organization)

Investors: Protect Your Money – Advice and alerts on a wide range of investment products (529 plans, annuities, bonds, mutual funds, private offerings, retirement accounts, securities and more) along with other information to help you avoid problems in today’s complex world of investing. See also SaveandInvest.org. (FINRA, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.; non-profit organization)

SmartCheck.gov – Free tools to check the background of financial professionals and stay informed on the latest fraud schemes. (U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission [CFTC])

Social Funds: Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment – ‘Comprehensive information, contacts & resources on socially responsible investing.’

U.S. Treasury Products – Explains the difference between different types of bonds, how Treasury auctions work and how to participate, and how Treasury products fit into your savings strategy, plus detailed information on how to buy, redeem, reinvest or convert selected U.S. Treasury securities such as savings bonds, treasury bills, and treasury notes. (U.S. Department of the Treasury)

The following websites are some popular sources for market quotes, plus financial news & information: [NOTE: Online quotes may be delayed, except where indicated]: Bloomberg Markets, Google Finance, MarketWatch, Morningstar, Motley Fool Investment, MSN Investing, Value Line, Wall Street Journal, Yahoo! Finance.

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Links updated 1/19

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Webfinder: New Year’s Resolutions

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It’s that time of year when many of us give serious thought to goals we want to accomplish during the coming year. If you’re making New Year’s Resolutions, we’ve put together some good resources that might help you get started… and succeed!

Lose weight / get fit

Quit smoking / drinking / drug abuse / gambling

Change careers

Start a business

Be a better parent

Get out of debt / start saving

Read more

Volunteer in your community (See also: Volunteer Match, Serve.gov, Volunteer.gov, All for Good, and Senior Corps.)

Learn a new language

Reduce stress

Research your family tree

Go back to school

Plant a garden

Get more tech-savvy

Travel

And a few more general resources you may find useful:

Links updated December 2018.

DISCLAIMER

Webfinder: Adult & Continuing Education

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CAUTION! Before signing up or paying for any education program, please verify that the school or program is properly accredited. A complete list of recognized accrediting agencies may be found on the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION website.

LOCAL RESOURCES:

South Plainfield School District: Adult Education – Information on local adult education programs including Adult High School, Adult School Brochure, and Trip List.

Middlesex County College Continuing Education – Information about non-credit certificate programs and courses to support career and professional development, career training center, and more. To find out more about courses, programs, payments, and transfers, see Middlesex County College Information for Adult Students.

GENERAL RESOURCES:

Distance Education Accrediting Commission – The accrediting agency for distance education (formerly Distance Education and Training Council). Includes a searchable directory of accredited distance education high schools and postsecondary institutions offering a variety of programs from non-degree through bachelors, masters and professional doctoral degree levels. A complete list of recognized accrediting agencies may be found on the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION website.

GCF Learn Free – Free tutorials, articles, and other learning materials aimed at helping you improve the technology, literacy, and math skills needed for success in both work and life. Covers a wide range of subjects from operating ATMs and reading subway maps to using office software and running a home-based business. For learning on the go, download a free mobile app for iOS, Android or Kindle. (Non-profit organization: Goodwill Community Foundation)

Online College-level Courses – See Open Educational Resources for Learners (University of Massachusetts) and Sites for Seniors: Education (South Plainfield Public Library).

Links updated December 2018.

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Webfinder: Meditation & Stress Reduction

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Relaxation Techniques for Health: What You Need To Know – Reviews the scientific evidence for the effectiveness – or ineffectiveness – of relaxation techniques in managing a variety of health problems. NOTE: Relaxation techniques are generally considered safe for healthy people, but those with serious physical or mental health problems should discuss relaxation techniques with their health care providers. (2016, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)

6 Mindfulness Exercises That Each Take Less Than 1 Minute – Quick & easy mindfulness exercises for people who don’t want to do formal meditation (2013, Psychology Today; site includes advertisements). Quick Stress Relief [UPDATED LINK!] has advice to help you recognize when you’re stressed and learn techniques for quick stress relief when you need it. The same site offers lots of additional advice on Stress Relief and Mental Health [UPDATED LINK!]. (2018, HelpGuide.org)

Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress – A brief overview of the benefits of meditation and different techniques for meditating. (2017, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

Guided Meditation Audio [AUDIO] – If you’re having trouble getting started with meditation, this free audio from the Portland Insight Meditation Community will guide you through the basic practice of mindfulness meditation. The site also offers additional guided meditation audios [AUDIO] for deepening your practice. Basic Relaxation Audios [AUDIO] from the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Counseling Center are free audio downloads to guide you through two different relaxation techniques – the Progressive Muscle Relaxation technique and the Combination Relaxation Exercise. For many additional free audio downloads, see The Mindfulness Solution [AUDIO] (Ronald D. Siegel, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School) and Free Guided Meditations [AUDIO] (UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center). The Allen County Public Library (Fort Wayne, IN) offers free online audios for Mindful Meditation [NEW!] and Gentle Yoga [NEW!]. Mindful.org offers a growing collection of free guided meditation audios [NEW!] [AUDIO]. The American Chronic Pain Association offers a five-minute online guided relaxation video [UPDATED LINK!] [VIDEO] designed to help you let go of physical stress.

Stress – Links to additional information on different kinds of stress and how to manage stress, plus related resources. (U.S. National Library of Medicine)

Stress Management – Explains how stress affects your physical & emotional health, and suggests a variety of techniques for controlling stress (American Heart Association).

Physical exercise can also help reduce stress! Check out our Fitness, Sport, & Physical Therapy links for some good exercise resources. For additional mental health resources, check out our links to information about Mental Health, Self-Help, & Support Groups.

The South Plainfield Library sometimes offers programs in yoga and meditation. Please keep an eye on the library’s website, library calendar, and/or our Facebook page for upcoming programs.

ESPECIALLY FOR KIDS!

11-minute body scan for children [NEW!] [AUDIO] can help bring calmness, attention, and appreciation to hectic daytime routines and marathon bedtime rituals. Mindful breath-counting practice for teens and tweens [NEW!] [AUDIO] teaches kids the basics of mindful awareness by counting each inhale and exhale. (Mindful.org)

The South Plainfield Library sometimes offers CHILDREN’S MEDITATION for kids aged 7 – 12. Please check with the Children’s Room staff for schedule.

Links updated November 2018.

DISCLAIMER

Webfinder : Learning Disabilities

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Additude Magazine – Information and support for families and adults living with ADHD and learning disabilities. Includes practical advice about raising children, expert Q&A, and resources to help students with attentional or learning differences succeed at school. (New Hope Media LLC; site includes advertisements)

Books for Special Needs Readers – Links to information & resources on books and reading for adults and children with special needs.

Disability Discrimination: Frequently Asked Questions – Explains federal laws Section 504 and Title II, and laws relating to accessibility & services and disability harassment in public schools, public colleges &  universities, and public libraries. See also Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools [Link opens a PDF]. (U.S. Department of Education)

Do 2 Learn – ‘Thousands pages of social skills & behavioral regulation activities & guidance, learning songs & games, communication cards, academic material, and transition guides for employment & life skills.’ This site offers many free resources, but also sells related products. (By computer engineer Dr. Dorothy Strickland, Virtual Reality Aids, Inc.)

Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center – This page is designed to help families understand their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), connect with other families, and find high-quality resources related to caring for infants, toddlers and young children with disabilities. See also Disability Discrimination links, above.

LD Support and Resources for Parents – “A wealth of information on understanding learning disabilities, negotiating the special education process, and helping your child and yourself.” (Learning Disabilities Association of America; site includes advertisements)

Learning Disabilities: Understood – Expert information and tools for parents of a child with a learning disability. Covers learning & attention issues, school & learning, friends & feelings, family, and more. (National Center for Learning Disabilities et al.)

Learning Disabilities Articles – A collection of articles for parents covering topics such as diagnosing a learning disability, learning problems in teens, types of learning problems, your right to special services, and more. (HealthyChildren.org, American Academy of Pediatrics)

NJ Special Needs Education Resources – Links to state information & resources on special education, including Standards & Assessment, State & Federal Regulations, Parental Rights in Special Education, Programs, Assistive Technology, Directories & Resources, Special Education Complaint Investigation Forms, and more (2017, State of NJ). See also Special Education Toolkit.

Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN) – A non-profit organization committed to empowering families as advocates and partners in improving education and health outcomes for infants, toddlers, children and youth with special needs. SPAN is the statewide Parent Center for New Jersey.

Links updated 11/18

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Webfinder : Charitable Giving

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Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance (Give.org) – Evaluates the management practices of hundreds of national charities. Also offers Advice for Donors, including basic advice, and advice on specific topics such as Disaster Relief, Police & Firefighter Appeals, Car & Used Goods Donations, Charity Sweepstakes, Child Sponsorship and more. (Council of Better Business Bureau, Inc.)

Charity Navigator – Rates the financial health of thousands of charities. If you register (free) you can also receive an occasional e-newsletter, suggest groups you would like to see evaluated, and keep track of charities that interest you. The site also offers special reports on topics of current interest to donors, as well as Tips for Donors, and a report on charities’ CEO Compensation, most recently done in 2016. (Non-profit organization; site includes advertisements)

Charity Scams – “If you’re thinking about giving to a charity, do your research to avoid fraudsters who try to take advantage of your generosity. Here are tips to help make sure that your charitable contributions actually go to the cause you support.” See also Charity Scams Follow Hurricane’s Wake  [NEW!] (Federal Trade Commission).

Charity Watch – Another site that evaluates charities, as well as offering tips and articles for donors. (American Institute of Philanthropy)

Consumer Reports Best and Worst Charities for Your Donations [NEW!] – Offers a list of some of the highest- and lowest-rated charities in a number of categories, as well as general advice on donating wisely. (December 2017)

GiveWell – An independent, non-profit charity evaluator that assesses how well programs actually work, rather than focusing on financial factors. GiveWell is focused on finding “a small number of outstanding giving opportunities” rather than rating large numbers of charities. Click here to learn more about GiveWell’s evaluation process.

GreatNonprofits – Reviews and ratings “by people who have been touched by a nonprofit and want to share their story about it… you’ll discover stories of people who have volunteered or donated to nonprofits, as well as stories of people who have benefited from their services.” [NOTE: All reviews posted on GreatNonprofits are individual, subjective opinions, and any user’s experience with a given organization may or may not be typical. Content posted by Users is not reviewed by GreatNonprofits.]

GuideStar – ‘The donor’s guide to the charitable universe.’ A searchable database of 1.9 million U.S. non-profit organizations and foundations. Provides financial and management information derived from IRS Form 990 or IRS Form 990EZ. Includes links to each charity’s website, where available. Also offers Five Simple Steps to Better Giving, plus a blog for non-profit managers. NOTE: Free registration is required for full access.

New Jersey Charities – Use this site to check on the status of charities operating within the state (New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, Charities Registration Section). For resources in other states, see NASCO (National Association of State Charity Officials).

Pro Publica Nonprofit Explorer – ‘Use this database to search over 1.8 million tax returns from tax-exempt organizations and see financial details such as their executive compensation and revenue and expenses.’

Too Many Solicitations? – Is your mailbox bursting with frequent requests for charitable donations? This page from Charity Watch offers help to reduce the flow, including a Fundraising Reduction Notice form you can send to organizations. For more advice on dealing with aggressive fundraisers, read Charity Navigator’s articles on How to Stop Solicitations by Mail and What To Do When A Charity Calls, Give.org’s advice on Telephone Appeals and Charity Mailing List Removal.

Links updated October 28, 2018.

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Webfinder : Home Energy Conservation – Heating

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Burn Wise – Information to help you choose EPA-certified wood-burning appliances (wood stove, pellet stove, hydronic heaters, fireplaces, and related products), and use them efficiently and safely (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).

Consumer Guide to Home Heating – Advice on deciding whether to replace your existing system, finding a good contractor, selecting a new system, improving your system’s performance, and more. (ACEEE, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy)

Consumer Information: Saving Energy at Home – Practical tips from the FTC on saving energy and money in your home. (Federal Trade Commission)

Energy.gov: Home Heating – Tips on saving money & energy on home heating. See also Home Heating Systems and Heat & Cool Efficiently. (U.S. Department of Energy)

Heat Pumps – Heat pumps can be a cost-effective alternative for heating and cooling your home. This site explains how to choose a heat pump to meet your needs. [NOTE: Some details on financing and installation are specific to Tennesee.] (Tennessee Valley Authority). The U.S. Department of Energy offers additional information on Air Source Heat Pumps and Geothermal Heat Pumps.

NJ Rebates & Incentives, Energy Assistance and Related Programs  (NJCEP) and NJ Homeowner Incentives for Clean Energy (Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency) – Information about available financing, rebates, and other incentives for energy-efficient home improvements.

Seal and Insulate with ENERGY STAR – Instructions on installing weatherstripping on doors & caulking around windows, sealing air leaks, adding insulation, and other home energy conservation projects (U.S. DOE/EPA). See also Residential Insulation (Industry association : North American Insulation Manufacturers Association).

Additional resources from USA.gov on Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Tax Incentives, and more.

Links updated October 2018.

DISCLAIMER

Webfinder: Job Resources for Veterans

Links updated 8/13/18

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Leaving the Military – Transitioning resources and advice on Employment & Education, Separation & Retirement, and Guard & Reserves options (Military OneSource).

Career OneStop: Veteran and Military Transition Center – ‘A  one-stop website for employment, training, and financial help after military service.’ There is also a related site, My Next Move for Veterans (U.S. Department of Labor).

New Jersey Jobs: Veterans Services (NJ Career Connections) – ‘Veterans receive first priority referral to all jobs and training opportunities for which they are qualified. In the One-Stop Career Center, there is a Veterans Representative who specializes in helping veterans find the jobs and opportunities for which they qualify. In addition to priority referrals to jobs, vets can enroll in free job search workshops, find help developing a resume, learn about career training programs and get help understanding the network of veterans’ benefits available through the Veterans Administration, state and local governments.’ (New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development).

Career Boot Camp for Transitioning Military Personnel – ‘Some basic training on how to present your resume and military skills in a way that will connect with civilian employers’ (Monster.com; site includes advertisements).

College: Know How 2 Go – For veterans and servicemembers interested in pursuing a college degree, this site provides information on what steps you need to take to choose and apply to colleges, how to find financial aid, and more. (American Council on Education)

Feds Hire Vets – Resources and information to help veterans, transitioning service members, and their families find careers in the Federal government (U.S. Office of Personnel Management).

Go Government – Explains how you can use “Veteran’s Preference” status to gives you an edge over other applicants when applying for jobs with the federal government. (Partnership for Public Service; non-profit organization)

Hire Heroes USA – Free services to veterans or their spouses, including resume & networking tools, post-military planning, post-military financial & benefits assessment, job search training, and Job Board. (Non-profit organization)

Hiring Our Heroes – Free tools and resources to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities. (U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation)

Online Job Search Guide for Veterans – Lots of helpful advice and resources for those re-entering the civilian job market after 3 or 30 years of service in the military. (Susan P. Joyce, Job-Hunt.org)

Troops to Teachers – Help for separating or retiring military personnel who want to pursue a rewarding second career in public education. (N.J. Department of Education)

Veterans’ Employment and Training Service – This service from the U.S. Department of Labor aims at helping America’s veterans and separating service members by preparing them for meaningful careers, providing employment resources and expertise, and protecting their employment rights. (U.S. Department of Labor)

Vet Jobs – Searchable job listings, employment advice and other employment resources for transitioning military, National Guard, Reserve Component Members and veterans, and their family members (sponsored by Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States). See also:

DISCLAIMER

Webfinder: Auto Repair

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AAA Car Care Tips – A collection of free printable car care brochures, with links to related resources. (American Automobile Association)

Battery Maintenance – Explains how to perform routine maintenance on your car battery, with clear illustrations. See also Troubleshooting a Car That Won’t Start (from the publishers of the For Dummies how-to books; site includes advertisements). Got a dead battery? Car Talk provides a printable illustrated guide to Jump-Starting Your Car (site includes advertisements).

Car Care  – Advice on keeping your vehicle in top condition, along with DIY tips, and more. (Car Care Council / Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association)

Car Repair & Maintenance For Dummies – A library of free, well-illustrated how-to articles & videos, from the publishers of the popular For Dummies how-to book series. (Site includes advertisements)

Car safety ratings – Results of crash tests on new cars, plus info on  Shopping for a safer car and related topics (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). See also SaferCar.gov (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Aging Drivers links offer helpful advice for older drivers and their families or caregivers.

Car Talk  – Website for America’s funniest auto mechanics from the popular public radio talk show – ‘the Marx Brothers meet Mr. Goodwrench.’ Model previews, discussions, columns, surveys, and lots of humor. You can subscribe to the ‘Best of Car Talk’ podcast or listen to the show online, too (free). (NPR; site includes advertisements)

Gas Mileage Tips  – Advice on how to your car in shape to save gas – and money (U.S. EPA / Department of Energy). See also Consumer Reports Fuel Economy Guide (some articles only available to subscribers), Saving Money on Gas (FTC), and Drive Green, Save Green (Port Authority of New York and New Jersey).

Lemon Law (N.J.) – Stuck with a lemon? Find out what your rights are in NJ, and what remedies are available to you (N.J. Division of Consumer Affairs). BBB Auto Line Dispute Resolution Program offers a free online vehicle complaint form covering more than 2 dozen auto manufacturers, and includes links to lemon laws in all states (Better Business Bureau). The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System [NEW!] is designed to protect consumers from fraud and unsafe vehicles and to keep stolen vehicles from being resold. You can use it to access important vehicle history information.

NIASE – The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website provides Car Care articles, Glove Box Tips, and a directory of certified repair shops.

Tires – Advice on maintaining your tires for maximum safety, plus information on tire ratings and labeling (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). See also How To Handle Tire Blow Outs (National Safety Commission).

Winter Driving Tips (Car Talk) – ‘Tips to get ready for the snow and sleet-covered roads and dipstick-freezing temperatures.’ (NPR; site includes advertisements). See also AAA Winter Car Care Checklist. See also Winter Driving (State of New Jersey) and Summer Driving [NEW!] (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

Links updated April 2018.

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Webfinder: Needlework

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Stitch Guide (Annie’s Crafts) – Online lessons in knitting, crochet, sewing, quilting, beading, and more, plus A-Z stitch guides.

Craft Yarn Council Learning Center – Lessons in the basics of crochet and knitting.

Knitty.com – Free knitting patterns and instructions for sweaters, hats, scarves, accessories, and more. The TECHknitter blog offers lots of helpful knitting tips & tricks.

Lionbrand.com – Online classes, free patterns, video library, FAQ’s for crochet & knitting, and more!

Allcrafts.net – Links to free patterns for sewing, quilting, crochet, knitting, holiday crafts and more.

AllPeopleQuilt.com – Inspiration, education, and motivation to passionate quilting enthusiasts of all skill levels. Includes free quilt patterns and how-to videos.

Quilters Cache – Great site for anyone who is interested in quilting and patterns; includes patterns, lessons, photo gallery. Scroll down to the drop-down menu to navigate.

The Quilting Company – Free articles, videos and more. Formerly Fons and Porter. The website also sells magazines, patterns, fabrics, and other quilting supplies.

Sewing.org (The Home Sewing Association) – Free sewing projects, patterns, learn-to-sew articles, SEW-lutions Guidelines, sewing & craft tips, bridal sewing, crafts for kids and more. The 4-H Sewing Library offers sewing projects (and related links) suitable for young people (grades 3 – 12) or other beginners.

Ravelry.com – ‘Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, project and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration.’ [NOTE: Registration is required for access, but the Ravelry blog is open to all.]

Updated April 2018.

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