Tuesday, January 13, 2015

IRS Limits 2014 Tax Documents to Public Libraries

It’s tax season. Tax forms usually start to arrive at the libraries in January. Minnesota Income and Property tax booklets and forms have begun to arrive.

East Central Regional Library has received notice that, due to budget cuts in the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill recently passed by Congress, the IRS will significantly reduce the number of tax products they are sending to libraries for distribution. The IRS will not be sending out any 1040, 1040 A or 1040 EZ instruction booklets, as well as several other forms and publications that libraries used to receive. Libraries will still receive Forms 1040, 1040 A, and 1040 EZ. Individuals and employers may order forms from the IRS webpage or by calling 1-800-829-3676 Monday through Friday from 7 am-7 pm, and the IRS will deliver them by mail to you. Many forms and instructions are also available to view and download online.

Library staff can assist with locating and printing online tax forms but are not able to give advice regarding the forms that you might need. Printing and copying is $.15/single-sided black & white page, $.25/double-sided black & white page, and $.50/single-sided color page.

You may wish to call your local library to see if the form(s) you need are in. The IRS has not started shipping the 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ forms.

Online Forms

Links to the current year and commonly used forms printable versions of state and federal taxes are below.

1040 form and instructions 

1040A form and instructions 
1040EZ form and instructions 

Income Tax form and instructions
Property Tax form and instructions

Tax Assistance

Lakes and Pines operates a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program for low-income individuals and families to have their income taxes prepared for free.  Additional Tax Assistance locations may be found in late January at the State of Minnesota’s Free Tax Preparation Site finder.

For Minnesota tax assistance, call the Minnesota Department of Revenue phone number at 651-296-3781, Monday-Friday from 8 am-4:30 pm.

For IRS forms and publications call 1-800-829-3676. For federal tax assistance call 1-800-829-1040.  Both are open Monday-Friday from 7 am-7 pm. IRS Minnesota office locations are here.


Federal tax forms and publications for businesses often have to be ordered directly from the IRS and cannot be printed off.  For more information see Federal Tax Forms for Business and the State of Minnesota Tax Information for Businesses.

Monday, January 5, 2015

J. K. Rowling is Writing New Stories??

          J.K. Rowling has made the news again recently, with outlets blasting headlines like “J.K. Rowling to Release 12 New ‘Harry Potter’ Stories (abc news) and “J.K. Rowling Finally Gives Harry Potter Fans What They Want.” Unfortunately, these aren’t the new novels (or even short stories) that so many of her die-hard fans long for. Instead, they are bits of background information on characters, locations, and other details in the Harry Potter universe that never quite made it to the original books. Rowling made it clear in interviews and press releases during the times of publication that she had thoroughly planned out the wizarding world in which her characters live. Now, Rowling is taking that information and using it on her website: www.pottermore.com.

               What is Pottermore? Pottermore is an interactive website that walks users through all seven of the Harry Potter books, chapter by chapter. Each chapter contains an illustration depicting a certain story event (Hagrid arriving at the hut on the rock, Sybil Trelawney’s sacking etc). Within each illustration or chapter, users can collect items for potion making, Chocolate Frog cards and even unlock new information about the characters or other elements of wizarding world. For example, have you ever wondered how Petunia Dursley got her name? Or why wizards measure in inches while the rest of Britain measures in centimeters? Or why Harry couldn’t see the thestrals until after Cedric Diggory died, yet he saw his mother die as an infant? These are all things learned in the various chapters. Users can also brew potions, be sorted into their house , earn House Points and download the eBook and eAudio versions of the books.

Elizabeth Shirek
Chisago Lakes Area Branch Librarian

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Bookish Gift Ideas for Tweens

It’s that time of the year—crunch time for those last minute gifts for the holidays. If you are anything like me, you need advice for what to get those hard to buy for teens and tweens like my tween nieces and nephews this Christmas.  Here are some great suggestions:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul By: Jeff Kinney
Series: Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series #9
Genre: Graphic/fiction.
For Ages: 8-12
           If you have never heard of the bestselling series Diary of a Wimpy Kid, then let me introduce you to this blockbuster-of-a-book series for tweens. This series uniquely combines fun, comic-like illustrations with text as it follows undersized sixth grader, Greg through his middle school experiences. “The Long Haul” is the ninth and most recent installment. In The Long Haul, Greg and his family takes a road trip. The trip which starts off well enough quickly takes several wrong turns-- from a fender bender to crazed seagulls--but even the worst road trip can turn into an adventure, and this is one the Heffleys will not soon forget!

Treasure Hunters By: James Patterson
Series: Treasure Hunters # 1
Genre: Adventure
For ages: 9-13
Treasure Hunters is a new adventure series that combines a lot of humor and adventure into its pages. The story follows the four Kiddos kids (the twins Bick and Beck and their two older siblings) after their treasure-seeking parents disappear in a sea storm. The children continue their parent’s treasure hunting mission as they seek to discover the truth about what really happened to their parents. On the Kiddo children’s way, they run into pirates who are looking for the same treasure they are.
This book is great for adventure seekers between the ages of 9-13 and will appeal to Diary of a Wimpy Kid readers, as Treasure Hunters includes many wonderful illustrations.

Series: The School for Good and Evil, Book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Ages: 11-13
The School for Good and Evil is a new trilogy that has created a lot of buzz. What makes this book so grand it that is similar to Harry Potter with its strong good vs evil theme and the impressively detailed world described within the pages.
The story begins with best friends Sophie and Agatha as they are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Sophie, with her devotion to good deeds, knows she'll earn top marks at the School for Good and join the ranks of past students like Cinderella. Meanwhile, Agatha, with a wicked black cat, seems a natural fit for the villains in the School for Evil. The two girls soon find their fortunes reversed--Sophie's dumped in the School for Evil while Agatha is at the School for Good. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are ... ?

Theodore Boone: The Activist By: John Grisham
Series: Theodore Bone: Kid Lawyer #4
Genre: Mystery
Age: 9 - 13 years
In this mystery series follow Theodore Boone, thirteen-year-old teen who has always dreamed of being a great trial lawyer someday. In this fourth and latest book, Theo’s town is divided in two by political and environmental issues. Theo takes the stand to protect his political and environmental freedoms. This book series is not only fun and exciting, it is also unique because it teaches its readers about the legal system.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
By: Chris Grabenstein
Series: N/A
Genre: Mystery
Age: 9-13
I know what you are thinking, that because I work in a library, of course, I’m going to love a book about a library. But I assure you that this book has so much more to it than a fun adventure in a library! This story is a quirky and fun read. The main character is an 11 year old class clown named Kyle. Kyle and 11 other kids are chosen to spend the night in the town’s new library. Luckily for them this library just happens to have been built by world famous game creator—Luigi Lemoncello. After a bit of fun the kids realize that they won’t be freed until they solve a series of puzzles based on famous books.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy By: Karen Foxlee
Series: n/a
Genre: Fantasy
Ages: 8-12
This book is a great choice for any fairy tale fans out there. It is full of imagination. Ophelia, a timid eleven-year-old girl who is grieving her mother, suspends her disbelief in things non-scientific when she meets a boy locked in the museum where her father is working. The boy asks her to help him complete an age-old mission. The story moves in two parallel worlds and timelines. One line is set in an unnamed place and tells the ancient story of the Snow Queen and the quest of the Boy With No Name to defeat her. That story involves wizards, a mystical sword, and magic. In the second line follows Ophelia who finds the Boy imprisoned in a museum.


Minecraft: Redstone Handbook Or
Minecraft: The Essential Handbook By: Scholastic
Series: n/a
Genre: nonfiction, how-to
Ge 8-13
Ages: 8-13
If you know a tween, you probably know someone who is obsessed with Minecraft. Minecraft is an interesting video game because it appeals equally to boys and girls.  Kids are just willing to watch it being played as well as play it themselves. Minecraft is also a fairly strategic game that takes a lot of practice and skill to master. That’s why I recommend Minecraft books as possible gifts. For a tween just getting into Minecraft, I recommend “Minecraft: the Essential Handbook”. This book completely lays out the basics of Minecraft with step by step easy to follow guide.
If, on the other hand, you have a tween who is on their way to mastering the game, I recommend “Minecraft: Redstone Handbook”. This book can give tips to even the most practiced Minecraft player. Both of these books are written for tween players/readers and will easily guide them through different levels of the game.

Scavengers By: Michael Perry
Series: n/a
Genre: Post-apocalyptic adventure
Ages: 8-12
          This middle grade novel is written by bestselling Wisconsin author Michael Perry. This story is a mixture of action-packed adventure and heartfelt family story. It is set in the near future.  A major climate change has hit our world, sending things into chaos and people into panic. The government has teamed up with corporations to build Bubble Cities. You can live InBubble or OutBubble, but once you make your choice, there are no take backs. The main character, Ford Falcon lives OutBubble with her family.  They have been able to survive by working together. But when Ford comes home one day to find her family missing, she must rescue her loved ones.

Liar & Spy By: Rebecca Stead
Series: n/a
Genre: Mystery
Ages: 10-14
Some authors can write a career’s worth of books and never quite nail the intangible element of mood. Not so with Newbery-winning author Rebecca Stead! Liar and Spy is a wonderful novel that is perfect for 5-8th graders and deals with important topics such as friendship, bullying and loss. The story begins when the main character, seventh grader Georges moves into a Brooklyn apartment building.  He meets Safer, a twelve-year-old coffee-drinking loner and self-appointed spy. Georges becomes Safer's first spy recruit. His assignment? Tracking the mysterious Mr. X, who lives in the apartment upstairs. But as Safer becomes more demanding, Georges starts to wonder: how far is too far to go for your only friend?

          Do these books sound like books your tweens would read? What books did I miss? Are you looking for a different list of book recommendations? Let us know in the comments below!

Kirsten Vaughan
Isanti Outreach Librarian