Economics

WorkingPoorCover

Continuing on through the nonfiction books of the Fulton County Public Library, I arrived in the Economics section. This category encompasses broad topics such as labor economics, financial economics, economics of land and energy, cooperatives, socialism, public finance, production, and macroeconomics. Since there is no way I could possibly cover all of those topics in one blog post I’ve chosen to concentrate on the first two-labor economics and financial economics.

The recession that hit around 2008-2010 affected many middle class families causing hardship. Many were forced into underemployment or unemployment. Of those who were able to return to work many were unable to get a full time position or a job that paid anything but poverty wages. Most lost insurance and other job related benefits such as retirement packages. Millions of Americans now fall into a category known as the Working Poor. In 2013 this is what that looked like:

working poor 2013

Although there have been some improvements in the economy in the last 3 years, many former middle class families still can’t make ends meet. Even with minimum wages increasing in some areas (and minimum wage going up at least $1 since the graph was made),  millions of full time, hard working Americans with families still find themselves living at or below poverty level wages.

working poor pictogram

Often people are forced into working multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Many of the books I read in the Economics section focused on this issue. Even more alarming are the number of households headed by women raising children alone and the number of married women who are the main bread winners in their families but still making considerably less money than men doing the same job. The work world tends to discriminate against women with children. Particularly noteworthy books that I read dealing with these subjects follow.

The Betrayal of Work

 

This book, The Betrayal of Work by Beth Shulman, does an excellent job of describing the dead end cycle that many American families find themselves caught in. Shulman follows several full time, hard working people and describes the sorts of conditions they must deal with on a daily basis.

Selling Women Short Selling Women Short by Lisa Featherstone is a book detailing reasons for a class action lawsuit (Dukes v. WalMart ) which exposes many labor and ethical violations in the retail sector. After reading this book,  the reader will have a new appreciation for the need for change in the American workforce.

Overwhelmed Brigid Schulte does a remarkable job in Overwhelmed Work, Love, and Play  When No One  Has the Time of exploring the balance (or lack thereof) that many people (mostly women) experience between work and leisure time. This is especially an important work when one considers that in many cases women must work extra hours just to make up pay differences or split shifts due to needing to take care of children. Although a rather long read, this book has many important points to make and is well worth the time.

About the time I was reading these books, I was handed the following new addendum at work; author unknown.

Employee Handbook

Sick Days

We will no longer accept a doctor’s statement as proof of sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.

Personal Days

Each employee will receive 104 personal days a year. They are called Saturday & Sunday.

Lunch Break

Skinny people get 30 minutes for lunch as they need to eat more so that they can look healthy. Normal size people get 15 minutes for lunch to get a balanced meal to maintain their average figure. Fat people get 5 minutes for lunch because that’s all the time needed to drink a Slim Fast.

Dress Code

It is advised you come to work dressed according to your salary. If we see you wearing $350 Prada sneakers and carrying a $600 Gucci bag, we assume you are doing well financially and therefore do not need a raise.

If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better so that you may buy nicer clothes and therefore you do not need a raise.

If you dress in-between, you are right where you need to be and therefore you do not need a raise.

Bereavement Leave

There is no excuse for missing work. There is nothing you can do for dead friends, relatives, or co-workers. Every effort should be made to have non-employees attend to the arrangements. In rare cases where employee involvement is necessary, the funeral should be scheduled in the late afternoon. We will be glad to allow you to work through your lunch hour and subsequently leave one hour early.

Restroom Use

Entirely too much time is being spent in the restroom. There is now a strict 3 minute time limit in the stalls. At the end of three minutes, an alarm will sound, the toilet paper will retract, the stall door will open and a picture will be taken. After your second offense, your picture will be posted on the company bulletin board under the “Chronic Offenders” category.

Thank you for your loyalty to our great company.

We are here to provide a positive employment experience.

 

Although I read many books pertaining to financial economics there is one that I favor above all others. It is The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.

The Total Money Makeover

Dave Ramsey has a common sense, no nonsense approach to money that will benefit anyone.  As he says in his book, it doesn’t matter if you make $20,000 or $200,000 a year this plan will work for you. My husband and I have taken on this particular challenge and we are seeing immediate results. Mr. Ramsey first attacks some financial myths and then redirects areas of thinking. He lays out a basic plan in which participants work their way through 7 baby steps. In my opinion this should be required reading for everyone. Dave Ramsey has literally helped thousands of people improve their financial situations.

 

 

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Political Science

Political Science

Confession: I don’t have a huge interest in politics. I vote. I stay informed of the main issues and the issues I personally care about but that has been the extent of my participation in politics. Political Science is another one of those categories that I was dreading reaching in my library read through project. One of the reasons for doing this project is to broaden my reading horizons and perhaps discover new interests. I surprised myself–and just about everyone who knows me personally–by really enjoying this section!

It was in broadening my reading horizons that I came across this gem of a quote that comments on the importance of just reading:

“Within eighteen months, I went from the bottom of the class to the top of the class, and many of those smart kids were now asking me for the answers. Some have described this academic metamorphosis as miraculous, but in fact, it is the kind of transformation I have witnessed or heard about countless times when people fill their time with reading and the acquisition of knowledge as opposed to worthless pursuits of near-constant entertainment.” One Vote by Ben Carson, MD

20369702 One Vote is a small but very interesting nonpartisan book that aims to encourage everyone to get out and vote. It also contains some very interesting websites. I checked some of these out and have chosen to share just a few.

http://votesmart.org/voteeasy/ This is a nonpartisan site which will help the user to narrow down his/her choice of candidates. At the top there will be small tabs. Click on an issue and the candidates who agree with you will move forward and those who do not agree with you will move backwards. Do this with all the main issues listed, and you might be surprised who you do or do not agree with!

http://www.isidewith.com is another nonpartisan site that is quite informative. Though the quiz is somewhat lengthy, it does an in depth analysis of which candidates you agree with on what issues and shows you where you fall on a political scale, identifying your core beliefs. This site can also help to educate you on relevant issues.

There are many other similar sites. Until I read through this section of the library, I had no idea that nonpartisan sites like those mentioned existed.

civil rights

In addition to reading numerous nonpartisan books/sites, I also was able to look at many picture books of important events such as the Civil Rights Movement. I found these to be very interesting.

Other books in this section were a little more light hearted such as The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception by H. Keith (Harold Keith) Melton and Robert Wallace.

The-Official-CIA-Manual-of-Trickery-and-Deception

One other book that I wanted to mention from the Political Science category was a book that I would have been unlikely to pick up and read because I wanted to. It’s titled Obama Zombies: [How the Liberal Machine Brainwashed My Generation] by Jason Mattera.

Obama Zomies

I came to have this book checked out by my normal method of shelf reading in order and choosing 5 books at a time. In my opinion, this is a very informative book regardless of which party one supports. It is written by a millennial author about how millennials were coaxed into voting for certain candidates during the last presidential election. It was rather eye opening.

If others have read the books mentioned here, I would love to hear your viewpoints!

Indiana Room

Indiana Room panorama

The next section of the library after the reference books is the Indiana Room. The view above is a panaromic view of the Indiana Room. Part of the Reference Department, the Indiana Room offers many amenities.

This is the entrance to the Indiana Room.

Indiana Room 001

Entering the Indiana Room and turning to the left brings us to the microfilm machine area.

Reference Department 010

Using these machines and accessories, patrons can access archived older newspapers and print them. Archived newspapers can be used for various research projects and are also popular for genealogy projects.

Continuing to move around the wall to the right showcases a bookshelf containing school yearbooks dating back several years.

Reference Department 011

Continuing to move to the right we see bookshelves and another enclosed bookcase.

Reference Department 012 Reference Department 014

These shelves and bookcases contain Indiana historical books and biographies and various genealogy resources.

In the center of the room is a large round table that can be used for research projects or smaller group meetings. The room has a projector screen and a portable projector can be reserved to be used in this room.

Reference Department 008

The library board frequently holds public meetings in this area.

The case seen in the picture to the right of the table is a changing display case. All displays in this room have something to do with the state of Indiana.

Continuing to move around the wall to the right of the second enclosed bookcase, we come to a small section of wall with this vertical file tucked between two windows.

Reference Department 015

On top of this vertical file are hanging files for genealogy research. Inside of the vertical file are documents pertaining to Fulton County only and then documents pertaining to the state of Indiana.

Moving to the right of this vertical file brings us back to the door and out into the Media Commons.

Reference & Information Window

Reference Department 002

The next resource in the Reference Department is the Reference & Information window, sometimes affectionately referred to as the drive through window by the staff. Flanked on both sides by informational booklets, this window provides access to  Greta Grasshopper

Greta Grasshopper

and one on one assistance.

Any patron can come to the window to ask any question. In general, however,

 Ricki Racoon fields many questions from Grant Station and refers more in depth questions to Greta Grasshopper.

Greta Grasshopper

 Typical questions that might be handled in this area involve actual reference questions that have to be looked up, genealogy questions, and questions pertaining to tax forms to mention a few. A patron may not know how to download e-books on their smart devices or e-readers so Greta helps them through the process. Some patrons need to have tests proctured. This is a service that the Fulton County Public Library offers free of charge. Greta is usually the staff member responsible for providing this service. When Greta isn’t working with an in person patron, she may be working with patrons on the telephone.

Much of the library’s “behind the scenes” work happens through the Reference Department. In addition to the responsibilities mentioned, Greta orders all of the books for the  Adult and Teenage collections. She processes Interlibrary Loan (ILL) requests for books and movies and requests for new library books. Book donations are given to the Reference Department where Greta makes collection development decisions for the adult and teen collections. (Children’s book donations are handled by the Children’s Department.) Some books are sent to Technical Services to be cataloged for the library. Other books may be designated for the Friends of the Library monthly book sale, outreach programs, or even be used by various library programs. Hard copy reference books and the Indiana Room are also part of Greta’s responsibility.

Patrons may be interested in reading the Fulton County Public Library’s policy for book and media donations. If so, just click this:

http://fulco.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/105826791/Book%20and%20Media%20Donation%20Policy.pdf

All of the above is quite a bit of work and on extremely busy days, it can get rather crazy. The Reference Department employees show their collective sense of humor by posting this sign.

Insane Asylum 003

No asylum would be complete without it’s own resident shrink which explains the presence of the bobble headed Sigmund Freud.

Insane Asylum 001

It’s unclear if the staff want to give counsel or receive it. The patron should evaluate this on an individual basis.

Reference & Information

Reference 001

Moving to the left of the Grant Station, I encountered this bookshelf loaded with information and resources. The sign to the left of the bookshelf points me to the Reference and Information window (more on that later). For now, this bookshelf deserves a serious look because it offers a great deal of information.

On the top shelf alone, I found brochures, bookmarks, flyers, business cards, and folders loaded with helpful resources.

Top Shelf

Since this shelf is bound to be constantly changing, I thought I would share the types of information I found at this point in time:

Information on how financial aid applicants can avoid fraud and identity theft

Information on how to go to school or work in Indiana (KnowHow2GOIndiana.org)

How to use Inspire, Indiana’s virtual library (Inspire.IN.gov)

How to download eBooks & Audiobooks for your computer, mobile device, iPod or eBook reader from eIndiana Digital Consortium

Information on A to Z databases which is described as “Ultimate Databases for Jobs, Businesses, Mailing Lists, Background & Criminal Search.”

Information on How to do a job search, email job listings, and write a resume

Contact information for the Department of Education for information on local education contracts, ideas for improving schools, education research and statistics, policies and practices, or locating education experts.

A listing of digital resources offered by the Fulton County Public Library free of charge which include: 3M Cloud Library, Ancestry.com, ARRC, AtoZ Databases, Britannica, Cypress Resume, Freegal, Inspire, HeritageQuest, Hoopla, Mango, Overdrive, Small Engine Repair Reference, Tumble Books, and Zinio. Those who have an Evergreen Indiana library card, an Evergreen PIN and a working email address will be able to access these services at http://www.fulco.lib.in.us.

Information about HIP, the new Healthy Indiana Plan

College information about Ivy Tech Community College, Indiana University Kokomo, and Trine University

Moving to the second shelf I found more information about colleges, job searching, and flyers highlighting our Auto Repair Reference Center (ARRC) database. The ARRC boasts information about more than 35,000 vehicles from 1945 to present, 857,000 drawings and step by step photographs, and over 158,600 wiring diagrams.

Ref Bookshelf 001

The third shelf sports free coloring books about fire safety for some of our tiniest patrons, a consumer information catalog, and a map of Fulton County and Rochester, Indiana.

Ref Bookshelf 002

On the fourth shelf, the contents switch from general information to barcoded  sheet music that patrons can check out.  To the right of the actual sheet music is a sheet music index to make finding a specific arrangement easier.

Ref Bookshelf 003

The fifth and final shelf packs in a lot of important information. The brochures on this shelf all pertain to services for the handicapped. There is an application for free individual library services to meet the needs of the blind, visually handicapped, physically handicapped, reading disabled and deaf. Approved applicants will be eligible to receive library materials with special accomodations such as playback machines and accessories.

Ref Bookshelf 004

The remainder of this shelf contains various bits of legal information such as food inspection reports, the city of Rochester Wellhead Protection Program information, and many documents from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). The older IDEM documents reside on this shelf. The newest ones are publicly posted elsewhere. There are also copies of various permit applications and notices of decisions made by IDEM.