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Mr. Mustache, another librarian blog

I am a reference librarian with experience in both the public and state government fields. I am doing this on a whim, sort of like the mustache I grew when I was 19 and still have in my 50's.

Location: New Jersey, United States

I am a state worker and a librarian.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

E Government

An article in Library Journal on line shows legislation for making libraries government via the web access centers. Didn't we used to call these government depositories?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Valentine's Day

For my entire childhood and on into early adulthood my father and I happily strolled through February with a smile on our faces, never having to think about what to give Mother for Valentine’s Day. My girlfriend, when I had one, might have gotten something but that was as far as it went. The thing that ruined it was that darn beauty parlor.

One February 14 Mother went to the beauty parlor and all the customers sat in their chairs bragging about all the things their husbands and their children were giving them for Valentine’s Day. One talked about the beautiful roses her son sent here from Florida. Another talked about the cruise her husband was taking her on for Valentine’s Day. The hairdresser was so pleased with the chocolates her son had given her that morning.

That night at dinner boy did we get it. “This one is getting a cruise. That one got an expensive watch. This one is going out to Le Freup a Tell in Manhattan. And what are you giving me?” My father looked surprised. He didn’t know he was supposed to give her something. He never had in the past and they all had been happy as clams at high tide.

He put his arms around her and said “All of my love”. That didn’t work. She looked at me.

I tried to rescue the situation. “But mother, Valentine’s Day isn’t for your mother! It’s for your girlfriend or your mistress!” That didn’t work either. From then, every year, we had to give her something for Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day. You’re just getting over the Christmas bills and along comes Valentine’s Day. And you have to give candy to your secretary and the ladies at work. More money coming out of the poor man’s pocket. Happy Valentine’s Day to all.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Tax Season

I was just installing a new zip drive that I was reusing after it had sat in my closet for ten years. On it were library files from those golden years when I used to bring work home. Oh the elegiac moments it brought home to me. Reference orders. Government document discard lists. And a cute article I wrote for the local paper. This is a draft before the Director saw it so all of the little asides are intact at this point.

"Death and taxes and childbirth. There's never any convenient time for any of them, quoth H.L. Mencken. And while it is never convenient, tax season has begun at the Library. The Aardvark Public Library is a US and state tax center. This year we have ordered more tax books and forms so we should not run out as quickly. We will also have the Reproducible Books so pages can be copied. The Internet will also be enlisted to search for forms that we do not have. All IRS forms and almost all state forms can be downloaded and copied from the Internet or from our new CD ROM.

The Internet was just coming into its own then. Little did we know that most people would be getting the forms online and bypassing us ten years later.

Free tax assistance will also be available this year from both the AARP (Tax Counseling for the Elderly or TCE) and VITA program volunteers. These volunteers receive training every year from the IRS. The numerous changes this year on both the state and federal level make this a necessity.

What a pain in the gonzolas coordinating the AARP volunteers was. We had to make the appointments at the Reference desk. One year they tried putting volunteers on the phone. What a double pain in the gonzolas that was.

The AARP sessions are open to older Americans and are by appointment only. They started recently but we expect the allocated slots to run out quickly this year. Please call the Library for an appointment. The VITA volunteers are State accounting students and teachers and they are available to walk ins on Saturday mornings after 10AM. If you avail yourself of these programs, please bring as much information as you can. Any W2 forms, 1099 forms, end of year bank statements, SSA forms you received will be needed to fill out the information on the tax forms. Also bring last years tax forms. The library staff is not prepared to answer tax questions.
The IRS can also be contacted directly concerning tax related queries. Their number is 1-800-xxx-1040. They have customer centers in Oinkville at 910 Broad Street. Their number is xxx-xxxx. These offices are open 8:30 to 4:30 weekdays.
People often wonder why IRS publications are different at the Library than the forms they receive at home. At home the books have colorful covers and include the tax forms inside the books. The tax forms we receive are loose sheets and the instruction books are battleship grey and include no forms. New Jersey booklets are identical to the ones you get at home. Go figure. At any rate, have a happy tax season!

Happy tax season my aardvark. The staff hated tax season. Getting those pesky books that Mr. Mustache hid in back in those awful file draws. Having to change Mrs. Boxworth's appointment five times. The fist fight they had one morning waiting for the VITA people to come in. There were never enough volunteers to handle all the people that wanted their taxes done.

Instructions in filling out Appointment Book
· Remember that the AARP volunteers are there to serve older and retired taxpayers only

Tell that to the patrons!
· Take one appointment for each line in the book in pencil
· One name only for each appointment with the exception of couples filling out joint returns
· Put the phone number of the person next to the name
· Remind the clients to bring with them their returns from last year (state and federal) and any income information (ie 1099 forms, W2 forms,1099-SSA, and any other information on for 1996 income)
· Give reminder slips to walk in clients with the date and time of the appointment

Although we weren't supposed to give tax advise I sometimes would tell people what forms they probably needed. Logically the 1040 form would be the easy form and the 1040 A and EZ forms would be the complicated forms since they had suffixes. Not true.

Nostalgia. Putting out tax forms during my lunch hour. Making tax appointments when I was supposed to be at break. Still it was great being important at least a few months of the year. For many people the one time of the year they go to the library was tax related. April 15th was a day full of excitement and there was a let-down wn on the 16th of the month when taxes were gone for another year. Finally the boxes could be be sorted and excess forms could be thrown in the dumpster. Gone until those boxes started arriving again in January.

I always took my vacation in March.