News from the Research Desk

News from the Research Desk Blog

DIY Research: Legal Information

Online legal information 

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Answers to many common legal questions can be found online, but it is important to use a trusted, accurate website. 

Illinois Legal Aid Online – Find answers to many common legal questions and guided, online assistance in filling out some legal forms through this extensive, free resource. Illinois Legal Aid Online is a registered non-profit whose mission is to make the law accessible and understandable for all citizens. 

Findlaw Findlaw includes detailed information about the law and legal issues that are intended to be consumer-facing, or for a public audience that is not formally trained in law.  Findlaw is published by Thomson Reuters, a reputable publisher of legal information.    

The Legal Information Institute – Extensive legal information, much of it in the form of primary materials, is available from Cornell Law School through the Legal Information Institute. The free legal dictionary and encyclopedia are both potentially useful for at-home legal research, but be on the lookout for advertisements.   

In the library 

The library has several in-house resources for legal information. On the shelves, there are legal information books available for checkout on a number of popular subjects, including divorce, powers of attorney, patents and many more. Many are published by a company called NOLO, which is renowned for making legal information approachable for non-legal professionals. (Think of it as the “For Dummies” series for legal topics.) 

Gale LegalForms – Many legal forms are available through Gale Legal Forms, accessible in the library or from home with a Mount Prospect Library Card. 

For deeper legal research, library patrons can access primary and secondary legal sources through WestLaw, available in-house on the public computers. 

Legal assistance 

If you need to speak with an attorney, there are local organizations that provide access to professional legal advice 

CARPLS – Cook County’s largest provider of free legal services, the CARPLS legal aid hotline at 312-738-9200 is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic – This local organization provides legal services in the areas of immigration, housing, and domestic violence. Income restrictions apply for housing and immigration legal services; domestic violence legal services do not have an income requirement. 

Illinois Legal Aid Online – Get connected with available legal support through the “Get Legal Help” form available on Illinois Legal Aid Online. 

With questions about accessing any of these resources, or for help in finding more sources for legal information, please contact the Research Desk to request a reference appointment.     

New Web Resource: ConsumerLab

ConsumerLab.com is the leading provider of independent test results and information to help consumers and healthcare professionals identify the best quality health and nutrition products. It publishes results of its tests in comprehensive reports at ConsumerLab.com. Since its founding in 1999, ConsumerLab has tested more than 6,600 products, representing over 950 different brands and nearly every type of popular supplement for adults, children, and pets.

DIY Research: Financial Information

April is Financial Literacy Month and a great time to get your financial affairs in order. Clear, accurate information is of utmost importance when making financial decisions such as working to improve your credit score, taking out a loan, investing your savings, planning for college or selecting a bank to open a checking account. Be sure to find recommendations and ratings from trusted sources. 

The library offers online access to some key financial resources. Access to these resources is available in the library or at home with your library card number and PIN: 

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  • Weiss Financial Ratings – Find ratings for banks, credit unions, insurance companies, or even Medigap plans. Get help with topics such as managing debt, creating a budget, buying a car, calculating the cost of college and more with Weiss Financial Literacy Basics eBooks (click on “Financial Literacy Basics.”) 
     
  • Morningstar – Morningstar provides information on stocks and mutual funds for potential investors and researchers, including access to popular investor newsletters 
     
  • Value Line – Used by financial professionals and individual investors, this investment research service offers detailed reports on individual stocks and mutual funds. 
     

There are also some great freely available sources for financial information. With these non-library sites, be on the look-out for embedded advertising, also called “sponsored content” or “native advertising.” Clicking through those links will bring you to a commercial site whose purpose is not to inform but to sell products. 

  • Investopedia – Investopedia is a great general resource for news and background information, including helpful dictionary of financial terms. To get started with creating a following a budget, check out their picks for best budgeting apps for 2022
     
  • FINRA – As the regulating body for the financial industry, FINRA offers resources to educate investors and advocate for market integrity. Get help with calculating retirement savings or estimated loan payments with tools and calculators or find background information about a financial professional or firm through Broker Check.  
     
  • Nerdwallet– This popular personal finance site offers articles, “best of” lists and guides to assist in navigating financial decisions. On commercial sites like this that offer recommendations for specific products, it’s a good idea to check the editorial guidelines to learn more about how they arrive at their suggestions and ratings. 

Find more sources for financial information on the Business and Financial Research Guide. With questions about accessing any of these resources, please contact the Research Desk to request a reference appointment. 

Money Smart Week 2022 webinar series

money smart week, April 9 through 16, 2022

Money Smart Week 2022 will be held Saturday, April 9 – Saturday, April 16. This week-long free virtual campaign aims to help people better manage their personal finances with a focus on those hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s line-up includes:

  • Monday, April 11 @ 1:00 p.m. CT | Spend Smart. Eat Smart.
    • Presented by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
  • Tuesday, April 12 @ 1:00 p.m. CT | Credit: Build & Improve It!
    • Presented by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Wednesday, April 13 @ 1:00 p.m. CT | Buying or Refinancing a Home: Options & Tools
    • Presented by North West Housing Partnership
  • Thursday, April 14 @ 1:00 p.m. CT | Understanding Social Security Benefits
    • Presented by the Social Security Administration

View more details at www.moneysmartweek.org. Events are free and open to the public, but registration is advised. Questions for the panelists can be submitted during the registration process.

1950 Census Records Coming Soon!

After a 72 year waiting period, the personal records from the 1950 Census will be made available online to researchers by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) on April 1, 2022. The records will also be available at the major genealogy online resources including Ancestry.com, Family Search, and My Heritage. The National Archives’ 1950 Census page is now live and has a lot of information to help you prepare for the actual release of the records. NARA will be using Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the host for the digitized records. AWS is using optical character recognition (OCR) technology to digitally index the records. However, this indexing will not be 100% accurate so NARA is seeking volunteers to help submit name updates. Ancestry.com and FamilySearch will also be using similar technology to create initial automated indexes. FamilySearch is asking for volunteer indexers as well. If you are interested in helping with this project, please go to their 1950 Census website.

You will also be able to search the 1950 Census by location. To do this you will need to know the Enumeration District (ED) number. The enumeration district was an area that could be canvassed by a census taker within a certain time period. It is possible to get an enumeration district number if you know a family’s address in 1950. Once you have an address you can go to the Unified 1950 Census ED Finder website prepared by Stephen Morse. At this site, you can enter the city, state, and county of the location you are seeking and add the address. You will be able to narrow the number of ED districts that appear by adding the cross streets of the location. Armed with the ED number you will be able to go to the 1950 Census records and just search in this enumeration district. This process is more time-consuming than searching by name but the option will be helpful especially if your family’s record does not appear using the name search function.

In 1950 the Mount Prospect area was more rural than it is today with a population of just 4,009. There were two enumeration districts covering this area. The portion of Mount Prospect which was in Elk Grove Township (south of Central Road) was in ED 16-257 and 16-258. The portion of the village in Wheeling Township (north of Central Road) was in ED 16-259. If you have relatives who lived in Mount Prospect then and whose records do not come up by the name search, you can look through the listings in these enumeration districts.

There are several videos on YouTube which discuss the 1950 Census and how to search it. One of them was prepared by Stephen Morse. In this video Morse discusses the 1950 Census and the location search process in depth.

If you would like some assistance in preparing for the release of these records or help searching the 1950 census once it is released, please contact genealogy librarian Anne Shaughnessy to set up a reference appointment.

1950 Census Enumeration District map showing Mount Prospect north of Central Road