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  • January 2020
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Fill Out Your FAFSA @ CLP


Higher education cannot be a luxury reserved just for a privileged few. It is an economic necessity for every family. And every family should be able to afford it.
President Barack Obama, June 21, 2012

For Barack Obama, like most Americans, college would have been impossible without government issued Financial Aid.  His ability to attend the school of his choice, to pursue his interests and continue his education shaped his life and the future of our country.

If you have worked hard in school and but don’t have $39,520 to attend a Private school or $17,860 for a public one you don’t have to put your dreams aside.  Though the costs of college tuition, room and board and textbooks has been steadily on the rise.  There are real solutions to this financial dilemma.  Since 1965 when Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Higher Education Act  The government has offered students financial help to attain their education goals.

If you’re beginning to think about college and worried about how you’ll find the money, your very first stop should be to Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.  Just in time for college enrollment, CLP is offering FAFSA  completion help at libraries across the city.  Take advantage of this opportunity to get help from the experts
Don’t worry though, if your busy life prevents you from attending one of our events…the library has literally hundreds of books to help you navigate through your college preperation.


~Brooke, CLP- South Side

April is National Financial Literacy Month! Aren’t you excited?

Courtesy TeeratasI am well aware that money . . .

how to get it, 

and what to do with it, once you have it . . .

isn’t the most fascinating topic for all of us. However, it is one of those necessary evils, and it’s best that we all are well versed and aware of the resources out there, regarding all things money.

Since librarians are all about making research easy for everyone, see below for a list of selected FREE resources for you to use in your journey toward financial literacy.

It All Adds Up Site

Sponsored by American Express, this website is for teens who want to prepare for their financial futures. The web site contains online games and simulations to help students learn about credit management, buying a car, paying for college, budgeting, saving, and investing.

Not Your Parents Money Book: Making, Saving, and Spending Your Own Money by Jean Chatzky.

This book covers personal finances, describing ways to make, save, and spend money responsibly.

Occupational Outlook Handbook

Check out this site, maintained by the federal government, to take a look at what you need to do to prepare to enter the world of your dream job, and what you can expect once you get there!

Quick Cash for Teens: Be Your Own Boss and Make Big Bucks by Peter G. Bielagus

This is your guide to starting your own business – from finding your niche to developing a business plan, this one covers it all.

Top 100 Careers Without a Four-Year Degree: Your Complete Guidebook to Good Jobs in Many Fields by Laurence Sharkin, Ph.D

See this title to start with your skills and figure out what career is right for you.  The information inside is based on the Occupational Outlook Handbook – more information of that resource above.

That’s all for now!


Teen review: The Other Countess by Eve Edwards

Caroline – I am a 16-year-old from Point Breeze and a junior in high school. Along with reading and listening/singing along to music, my hobbies include journaling, chemistry, and fencing.

The Other Countess by Eve Edwards

Begin blog:

Flash back four-hundred years to the Middle Ages, where dukes, earls, and queens reigned the land. With the death of his father, fourteen-year-old Will is suddenly thrown into the position of earl. Will’s father had financed the experiments of an alchemist, but had soon spent the entire family fortune on the alchemist, leaving his own family in a somewhat impoverished state. Angry that he should be heir to so little, Will, in a temper, immediately kicks out the alchemist and his daughter who had been living off his father’s hospitality.

Four years later, eighteen-year-old Will experiences his first time at court. It is anything but dull. Will must joust the famous Walter Raleigh, keep up the appearance of seeming richer than he actually is, and choose a future bride. Hoping to find one that has a lot of money and is one he actually loves, Will keeps a sharp eye out. Although he looks at all the ladies, including the wealthy Lady Jane, the only one he discovers he truly loves is, of course, the poorest one. He flirts with her until the day he suddenly discovers that she is none other than the one he kicked out four years ago. Angry with his heart for not making a better choice, he turns his back on her.

The next day, Ellie and her father are sent away from court because Ellie’s father has made a mess of himself by carrying out an experiment that accidentally blows up his room. Sick of her father ruining her life, Ellie tells him that he needs some time to write down all his discoveries. Her rather oblivious father agrees, and the two stay at an old woman’s house for the time being. Little do they know that the house is in the territory that Will reigns over. When Will discovers this, he immediately tries to drive them out. However, he inexplicably finds himself drawn to Ellie. The more he tries to push her out of his life, the more he wants her there. Ellie, too, finds Will to be attractive for no logical reason, and the two begin seeing each other more and more.

Meanwhile, Will has decided to court the Lady Jane because of her wealthy status. Neither of them really love each other, and they both know it. Will finds that talking with the Lady Jane is awkward, unlike the casual, loving, witty Ellie. But when Ellie’s host is captured for being Catholic (in Anglican England) and she and her father lose their shelter, her father leaves the little village, in hopes of finding new funding, and takes Ellie with him. When word reaches Will and the Lady Jane that tragedy has befallen her, however, the two go after their friend. With both girls staying with him, Will must now make his choice – does he wed the Lady Jane and bring his family wealth again or give in to his heart and marry the poor lady whom he truly loves?

Although there really is not much plot, this book continually depicts love scenes. The two main characters are Ellie and Will, but the story often switches to different perspectives, such as a maid’s, to give a different side of the story. Personally, I thought the book was alright, but it was not my favorite. However, if you are a more love-story type, you might really like it.

Save It For Later: Money Savings Tips for Teens

After the excess of last month’s spending, eating and celebrating I’m ready for a little more structure and a few more limits.  I didn’t even over spend this holiday season (and only over ate a little) but I’m ready to scale back a bit over the next few months. The holiday season is the perfect time to show people what they mean to you.  Lots of us choose to do that by finding the perfect gift, whatever the cost for people we care about.   But now that January has rolled around you (and I) may be thinking its time to put a little more thought into saving money.

As always if you’ve got a question one great place to go for the answer is your local library.  Carnegie Libraries’ shelves are stocked with materials to advise you about saving.  Today you might be saving for a new video game, a trip or even a car, and the skills you learn now will help you save for even bigger stuff down the road.

This book, written by brothers David and Tom Gardner, authors of many finance books for adults, offers practical advice about the trickier parts of the stock market as well as lots of stories from teens who have already successfully navigated the world of investing.  Learn how other teens saved money, invested, and got financial security right from the source.

This book offers information about investing and finance from a business point of view.  Using examples from businesses you’ve heard of like Coke and Kelloggs Growing Money gives you the inside scoop about business economics.  If you’re interested in starting a business of your own or in understanding how businesses operate in the world economy this book is for you.

One of the first pitfalls anyone encounters as they begin to navigate financial waters is credit.  And a big part of staying financially secure comes from spending your money on things now that will help you save money in the future. A few simple mistakes can set you back years when credit is concerned.  Before a few bad choices affect your future, check out this book for a course in getting and managing credit while buying wisely.

Josh Shipp has lots of advice about making the most out of life. The Teen’s Guide to World Domination covers topics like keeping career goals on track while blocking out negative influences, avoiding bad choices that drain your finances and your morale, and dominating yourself and your goals while respecting those around you. In addition to all of these topics the book includes a chapter on making, investing, and saving money that will help you reach your goals.

Of course, we all know that there’s more to life than a full piggy bank, but being financially secure reduces stress and allows you to focus on the people and things that are important to you.  Its never too early to start thinking about your plan for the future and a book at your library might just be the thing that sets you on your way.


Start It Up! Entrepreneurship: A different way to think about your future

“High school is like the training wheels for the bicycle of real life.”
Ghost World – Graduation Speaker

Well, I think high school is a lot more than that, but in some ways this quote is true. The time we spend in high school is largely devoted to planning and getting ready for the rest of our lives. But if going on to college, or getting a job don’t really seem like the right fit, or if you are just yearning for an outlet for your creativity why not consider entrepreneurship as a part of your future?

There are lots of great things about starting up your own business. Here are just a few!
1. Working for yourself is hugely satisfying
2. Be your own boss, make your own schedule, feel empowered
3. Make money doing something you enjoy
4. Start small and work toward a goal
5. Develop your business while working or studying to reduce risk and increase benefits
6. It’s never too early (or late) to start!

The sky is the limit for entrepreneurial opportunities. There are so many choices to make!
While brick and mortar shops are a more traditional type of business and may be the right choice for your idea, the Internet offers a wealth of opportunities often with a lower cost. Does your business idea revolve around a product? Start up and Etsy shop or post your offering on sites like I Made It Myself and Storenvy. If your business idea is more service oriented consider a site like Fiverr or Task Army. If your idea is too hard to categorize or if you just want to go it alone set up a blog, a Facebook page, and a Twitter feed to get the word out. There are so many ways to start a business with little to no start-up costs, but if your plans are a bit more ambitious consider creating a proposal for an organization like Kickstarter. Whether you’re interested in creating a brick and mortar shop to offer your wares or are planning a web-based business, Kickstarter is an organization that puts your creative mind in touch with people willing to help you reach your financial start-up costs through small investments.

If you’re well on your way to developing you’re own idea for a business, or if you’ve just started brainstorming ideas the library has tons of resources.  Here are just a few!


Predatory Pre-Paid Debit Cards

The Kardashian Sisters kiss their association with predatory lending goodbye. Image from the Associated Press.


A debit card that you can load with your own cash sounds like a great idea.  None of the hassle of applying for credit, and no minimum amount that a bank requires to open a checking account.    But the new line of re-loadable cards aimed at teenagers and emblazoned with pop culture touchstones like the stars of Twlight are actually great vehicles for the companies that own them to load them up with a multitude of fees for their use.

The fees are so egregious that the Kardashian sisters, who had a deal for their images to be used on some of the cards, backed out of the deal so that they wouldn’t get negative press.  An article on NPR describes the turn of events and details the fees on the cards:

“Just to buy the card and use it costs $59.95 for six months, or $99.95 for 12 months. That does not include any money on the card. The person buying the card must add money onto it.

The initial feels were just the start. After those six or 12 months are up, it costs $7.95 a month to keep using the card. Users have to pay $1.50 to withdraw cash from an ATM, and $1 to check their balance. Talking to a customer representative on the phone costs $1.50 for each call, and canceling the card costs $6.

Losing the card results in a charge of $9.95. If the loss is reported within two days, then losses are limited to $50. But if the loss or theft is not reported, and the issuer believes the user knew it was lost or stolen, then losses could be as high as $500.” – Associated Press

A further story on the radio show Marketplace interviews the Connecticut Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal, who is investigating the companies and what he calls their predatory lending practices.  In the interview, Blumenthal notes that there’s an

“almost endless series of rates that swallow the value of the card even before it can be used. In fact, anybody using this prepaid debit card really loses before they use it.”

However, according to some of the comments on that story, there are some of these types of pre-loaded debit cards that don’t have as many fees… so, as always, read the fine print when it comes to money matters. 

Or, even better, you could take control of your personal finance by reading some of the great non-fiction books on the subject in the teen section of your library:

  Smart Money: How to Manage Your Cash / Danielle Denega







  The Complete Guide to Personal Finance for Teenagers and College Students by Tamsen Butler






  I’m Broke: The Money Handbook by Liam Croke

A Teen Recession?

According to this week’s issue of Time magazine, teens having a hard time getting and keeping jobs in the current economic climate.  In the article, available online, Andrew Sum, the head of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University is quoted as saying:

“Proportionally, more kids have lost jobs in the past few years than the entire country lost in the Great Depression.”

Read more

Why is this?  Stephen Gandel, the article’s author, speculates that older people are taking the jobs for which teens usually apply.  More people losing their savings equals more people re-entering the job market, and applying for lower-paying jobs than they previously held (like delivering newspapers).

 “Sum estimates there are 4.2 million teens who can’t find a job, have stopped trying or would like to be working more than they are. That’s up 84% from 2007.”

Read more

Why does this matter?  Apparently, your first job has something to do with how much you will earn throughout your life.

Are you one of the many teens with cut hours or trouble finding a job?  Maybe the library can help…

We have a virtual and physical space focused on resources for Jobs, Careers, and Education, which includes many books on how to write a resume, how to interview for a job, or practice for a number of tests like the GED or the SAT.

The CLP teen site has a list of websites that can help you get an after school job or decide your next step after high school.

If you have a job, maybe you’d like to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to stretch your cash out.  If so, we have books like:

Smart money : how to manage your cash / Danielle Denega.





Savings and investment information for teens /Karen Bellenir





and more!

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