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January 1, 2009

New Year, New Opportunities

Happy New Year! Hard times hit hard this past year so let's look ahead with hope as realism and optimism are recession 'musts.' The economy in a recession has meant lean times and less disposable income for a lot of families.

While we wait for the tide to turn, let the library be your lifeline in tough economic times. Don't let a layoff push you off the edge. The library system offers hundreds of computer classes (free with a library card) each month on topics including resume writing, searching for jobs online, writing cover letters, online resources for successful interviews and many more such as QuickBooks, Web design, Excel, PhotoShop and PowerPoint. Checkout one of these classes: Using the Internet for Successful Job Interviews or Search for Jobs Using the Internet

Also, this month we are pleased to launch a special series of workshops in partnership with Rollins College called Smart Investing @ Your Library. This series -- created for our area's Hispanic population -- covers everything from money fundamentals and basic investment strategies to retirement planning. Presented in Spanish by Rollins MBA students, these free classes start January 20 at the Southeast and South Creek Branches. Childcare is available for ages three and up.

Unfortunately, scams increase during uncertain times as con artists use unsolicited email and phone calls to get personal and financial information for fraudulent offers. To help you avoid such threats, OCLS is presenting two programs on Identity Theft at the Alafaya Branch Library this month. The first is Tuesday, January 27 at 7 p.m. and then again on Saturday, January 31 at 11 a.m. Get informed and protect yourself from becoming a victim.

As we all adjust to more frugal lifestyles, the library is a year-round source for free resources and information. We bring you new release DVDs, video games and downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. Free WiFi is available at all 15 library locations. We offer free art exhibits, musical performances and a wide array of entertaining programs for all ages. And of course, you can always check out books for free or buy gently used books at amazingly low prices in our Friends of the Library Bookstore. Taking advantage of your local library is a great way to expose your kids to cultural and educational activities as well as a great way to save money! And speaking of saving money, try our Personal Finance e-guide or our Money Matters! virtual gallery. Again, Happy New Year! I wish you health, happiness . . . and will be hoping right there with you for a turning point in the economy in 2009.

Mary Anne Hodel

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