Events, Friday Facts, Resources

Take Time to Honor National Heroes this Weekend

By wknapp | May 22nd, 2009 | Permalink | Comment?

Memorial Day in Indiana: barbeques, sales, and of course, the Indy 500.  However, it’s also important to remember the real reason behind the day – to honor those who have died in warfare.  Memorial Day has its origins in the aftermath of the American Civil War – it was originally called “Decoration Day” and citizens were encouraged to decorate the graves of those who had fallen during the war.  It wasn’t until after World War I that it was expanded to honor those who died in all American wars.  In 1971, Memorial Day was established as a national holiday and is celebrated on the last Monday of every May.  For more information on the history of Memorial Day, be sure to check out the Department of Veterans Affairs Memorial Day site.

Of course, a lot of people will be barbequing this weekend as well!  The USDA provides a fact sheet of safety tips for those who are grilling out.  Tips include keeping things clean, keeping food cold prior to grilling, and making sure everything is fully cooked.  Additionally, many swimming pools open this weekend.  Medline Plus provides swimming safety tips.

At 3:00 PM on Monday is designated as a National Minute of Remembrance.  You can learn more about the Vietnam Veterans, Korean War Veterans and World War II Veterans Memorials by clicking on the links.  Finally, be sure to check out different veterans’ stories at the Stories from the Veterans Project from the Library of Congress.

Get TrafficWise and Save Time on Your Daily Commute
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has a program to use Intelligent Transportation Systems, or ITS, to help relieve traffic congestion and to improve safety.  INDOT’s initiative is called TrafficWise.  You can get real time traffic information in the Indianapolis Metropolitan area and northwest Indiana near Gary. You can also check out traffic conditions in Southern Indiana and the Louisville area by clicking on the Louisville TRIMARC link.  This information allows you to check out traffic conditions on freeways before you leave your home or workplace. When you’re in your vehicle traveling the interstates, you can look to the large Dynamic Message Signs on the highway regarding traffic conditions to plan alternative routes if necessary.  Other ITS avenues of communication of traffic conditions are alerts via the Highway Advisory Radio system and notices sent via the Internet or personal pagers. Those traveling by car this Memorial Day Holiday can be safe and utilize TrafficWise to avoid the headaches of traffic jams and construction.

Discover America’s Natural Heritage this Summer
Now that it’s getting warm out, many Hoosiers start thinking about what sort of activities to do this summer.  Make the most of your summer and visit a national park!  These beautiful parks offer both recreational and educational activities.  Whether you’re interested in camping and hiking or in history and nature, there is probably a park that will fit in with your interests.  If you’re unsure of where to begin, the National Park Service has a great feature on their website for locating national parks.  Simply click on the state that you’re interested in and you’ll be shown a descriptive list of all the parks there.  You can make it a long trip out west, or even stay in Indiana.  The possibilities for enjoying nature are endless.

Raise Awareness About Risks of High Blood Pressure in May
Should you have your blood pressure checked this month? Chances are, the answer is yes! Direct your patrons to the website of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Search their diseases and conditions index and find out more about High blood pressure (or Hypertension) and how knowing your numbers can prevent disease & help keep you healthy. Check out their online Guide to Lowering High Blood Pressure for many FAQs. The Centers for Disease Control has a feature on May’s High Blood Pressure Education Month which offers statistics and quick facts about Hypertension. The Medline Plus encyclopedia entry on High Blood Pressure provides links to information in 17 languages other than English, plus the latest news and research. Remember – you can keep your blood pressure at a healthy level by monitoring your numbers, watching your nutrition, and staying active.

UNESCO Identifies Worldwide Treasures
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) provides a searchable list and map of 878 properties deemed as having “outstanding universal value” by the U.N. World Heritage Committee. The World Heritage List includes unique properties in 145 different countries that are protected under the World Heritage Convention. As its website says, “Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.” Each entry briefly describes the property and includes a gallery of photographs, maps, news, links, and additional media. Most properties, including the Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie with “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci, contain descriptive videos as well. You and your patrons can take an online tour of Venice and its Lagoon, visit the Great Wall of China from above the earth, or learn about beautiful Cocos Island National Park in Costa Rica, all from the comfort of your library terminal.

by Katharine Springer, Elisabeth O’Donnell, & Kim Brown-Harden

About us, Research and Reports

State Library Recovers Historic Letter Stolen in 1962

By wknapp | May 20th, 2009 | Permalink | Comment?

The Indiana State Library recently recovered an extremely rare and valuable letter written by President Ulysses S. Grant to his former Vice President Schuyler Colfax in 1873. The document was up for sale at a Pennsylvania auction house where it was discovered by the Northern Indiana Historical Society (South Bend) who contacted the State Library to determine the provenance of the letter.

Indiana State Library staff discovered, after examining content records for the Library’s collection of Schuyler Colfax manuscripts, that the letter was previously in its Manuscripts Collection and reported missing. They then contacted the owner of the auction house who connected them with the holder of the Grant-Colfax letter. Upon receiving documents verifying the State Library’s ownership of the document, the collector graciously donated the letter to the Library.

The letter was stolen along with other items from the Indiana State Library by Robert Bradford Murphy, who visited the Library sometime in 1962. Murphy was later apprehended in Detroit with $500,000 worth of documents he had taken from the State Library, the National Archives and other institutions. In 1963, Mrs. Hazel M. Hopper from the State Library testified at Murphy’s trial and was able to identify some of the items that were taken from the library. Many of the stolen items were returned, but the Grant-Colfax letter did not. Presumably, the letter was sold prior to Murphy’s apprehension by law enforcement officials.

The letter was written on Grant’s inauguration of his second term, and it is believed to be the first correspondence between Grant and Colfax after Colfax was no longer in office after losing the Vice Presidential nomination in 1872. Colfax was elected Vice President in 1868 and served along side Grant his first term as President. In the letter, Grant invited Colfax to join him for dinner. Later correspondence indicates Colfax declined his offer.

This letter may be viewed online at the State Library’s Website.

About Schuyler Colfax:
Schuyler Colfax was born in New York City on March 23, 1823 and moved with his parents to New Carlisle, Indiana in 1836. Colfax became interested in politics at an early age and was an avid newspaper reader. He was a supporter of the Whig Party, abolitionism, and the temperance movement. In 1845, Colfax scrapped together enough money to buy a local newspaper, The South Bend Free Press.

After losing his first election in 1851, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1854. The next election, he ran as a Republican. Colfax served in the House of Representatives until he resigned to become vice president in 1869, and he was elected Speaker of the House in 1863. Colfax as Vice President, along side General Ulysses S. Grant who was the presidential candidate, easily won the 1868 election. However, Colfax lost the Vice Presidential election in 1872 to Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts. Wilson went on to serve as Vice President during Grant’s second term in office.

Vice President Colfax did not escape the scandals that plagued the Grant administration. In 1872, he became caught up in the Credit Mobilier Scandal, which involved railroad companies overcharging millions of dollars for government contracts and the company’s directors bribing various government officials with company shares. Although Colfax was never convicted of any wrongdoing, he was not cleared either, and his political career effectively ended. After stepping down as vice president in 1873, Colfax retired and returned to Indiana. Leaving public life, he had a successful career as a public speaker. He died on January 13, 1885.

Eckhart P.L. LEEDs the Way for Eco-friendly Building
The Eckhart Public Library (EPL) was recently featured in Library Journal (Library’s Green Annex Brings Acclaim, Growth) for its groundbreaking “green” building efforts that earned EPL the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification. The project was the first of its kind in Auburn and one of the first eco-friendly, self-sustaining green building library projects in the state of Indiana.

LEED is an internationally recognized certification system that measures how well a building or community performs across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. LEED is flexible enough to apply to all building types – commercial as well as residential – and it works throughout the building lifecycle.

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More Library News:
Chesterton Tribune: Westchester Library rates high on national scale
Dayton Daily News: Miami Nation to hold Pow Wow at Peace Park
Fort Wayne Daily News: Helmke Library receives digitization grant
Fort Wayne Daily News: Reading service celebrates 30 years
Fort Wayne News Sentinel: IPFW library receives grant
Huntington Herald Press: Andrews Library joins state-wide resource sharing program
Indy Star: Summer Reading Program returns to Hamilton East Public Library
Indy Star: IMCPL Vital to community’s growth, education
Kendallville News Sun: Frehse artifacts and library farewells
Kokomo Tribune: Government reform report start of discussion
Lafayette Journal & Courier: Librarian retiring after 36 years
Logansport Pharos-Tribune: Director expects library usage to continue climb
Muncie Star Press: Stock up on books at Friends Book Sale
New Albany Tribune: Check out NA-FC library’s wish list
Newton County Enterprise: Kentland-Jefferson Township Public Library is growing!
South Bend Tribune: Post office mural earns time in spotlight
Terre Haute Tribune Star: Library hosts book sale this weekend

Events, Friday Facts, Resources

May Honors Jewish American Heritage

By wknapp | May 15th, 2009 | Permalink | Comment?

May is Jewish American Heritage Month; and seven different federal agencies are a part of the celebration. The federal government’s Jewish American Heritage Month web portal introduces stories of Jewish Americans, electronic exhibits and collections, and images of famous Jewish Americans like Leonard Bernstein, Betty Friedan, and Edward Koch. Agencies responsible for the website include the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. One story that is especially interesting from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, is that of Jewish Parachutists from Palestine. This was a group of men and women who signed up to help the British Army parachute into German-occupied Europe as aid to Allied personnel. The National Register of Historic Places also features structures and parks related to Jewish Heritage on their Jewish American Heritage Month 2009 website. The new National Museum of American Jewish History will open next year in Philadelphia, P.A and features “one of the nation’s largest collection of Jewish Americana.” Take a look at the new structure and visit their website!

Federal Grants Support Your Local Farmers Market
Indiana’s Farmers Markets offer a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables from strawberries and blueberries to melons, asparagus, and especially corn. Farmers Markets are one of the best ways to support your local economy as well as enjoy various fresh produce.  Farmers Markets are widely available and popular, in part, due to the Farmers Market Cost Share Program. The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) is once again utilizing funds from USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant to offer a cost-share reimbursement program to provide grants to Indiana farmers’ markets. If you are interested in participating in this program, you can get detailed information from the Program Guidance and Application form. There is also a New Vendor Form available.

For guidelines on the Cost Share program, be sure to check out the ISDA’s website. To find a Farmers Market near you, check out the Directory. Finally, for general  information and facts about the markets, you can go to the USDA informational website.

Lyme Disease Awareness Highlighted This May
Summer is coming and that means that people are spending a lot more time outside. Unfortunately, being outside means an increased exposure to ticks and Lyme Disease. That is why May has been declared Lyme Disease Awareness Month.  Lyme Disease is spread through tick bites – specifically, through the bites of Blacklegged Ticks, also known as Deer Ticks. Lone star Ticks and Dog Ticks (also known as Wood Ticks) are not known to carry the disease. Be sure to visit the CDC page on Lyme Disease Transmission to compare images of the different species. Medline Plus, Lyme Disease is characterized by a fever, headache, muscle ache, joint swelling, and a rash that usually resembles a bullseye. Lyme Disease can be cured by antibiotics, particularly if it is caught early on. Although you cannot catch Lyme Disease from your pets, it is important to check them for ticks when they come in from outside.  You don’t want them getting the painful disease either!

Statistics provided by the CDC show that Indiana has a very low rate of infection.  In 2007, there were only 55 reported cases (as compared to 1814 reported cases in Wisconsin). However, if you are camping or traveling to another state, particularly on the East Coast, make sure to take precautions. These include insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved clothing.  See the CDC for complete instructions.

USPS Adds Their Two Cents to Postage Stamps
Starting Monday, May 11, the US Postal Service increased its postage rates.  First class stamps increased from $0.42 to $0.44. Forever stamps may also be used under the new rates, regardless of what price they were purchased at. For a complete list of the change in price, see the USPS website. Not all rates have changed – as per the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PL 109-453), mailing rates increase every May, while parcel rates increase in January.

STATS Indiana Update
Can’t locate the Indiana data you need? Check out Stats Indiana, and you’ll see a brand new interface. Explore Profiles, Data by Topic, and Data by Location. Are you looking for graphics to complete that report? Try the Dashboard Indicators, a collection of charts covering popular economic indicators such as Jobs, Income, Unemployment, and Population counts. Under Additional Resources, there are Tools including an Inflation Calculator, a Nationwide City-to-County Finder, and a more detailed A to Z guide by topic. On the right-hand side of the page, find links to today’s data trends and a variety publications like the Indiana Business Research Center’s InContext.

by Katharine Springer, Elisabeth O’Donnell, & Kim Brown-Harden


Indiana Center for the Book Receives National Award

By wknapp | May 13th, 2009 | Permalink | Comment?

Yesterday, the Indiana Center for the Book received the 2009 Boorstin Center for the Book Award for innovative reading-promotion efforts. National Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole presented the Boorstin Award to Roberta L. Brooker, Indiana State Librarian, and Drew Griffis, Director of the Indiana Center for the Book, at a lunchtime reception during the annual Center for the Book meeting and ideas exchange at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.  Cole praised the Indiana Center for the Book for its resurrection of the state program that has grown markedly over the past two years.

“The success of the Indiana Center for the Book shows the importance of top-level support for the program,” said Cole. “We are expecting big things from the Indiana Center for the Book in the future.”

The revitalization of the Indiana Center for the Book has been a top priority for Brooker since her appointment as State Librarian in July of 2007. Since then, the Center for the Book has grown its two primary programs, Letters About Literature and The Best Books of Indiana Competition, and added two more statewide programs. The Center has also partnered with local and statewide organizations on many other projects. The Center for the Book is currently developing several major initiatives, such as the Indiana Literary Map, and partnering with national organizations like River of Words to enhance statewide programming.

“Receiving the Boorstin Award is an enormous honor for the Indiana Center for the Book and it’s also a great surprise,” said Griffis. “We are still a year or two away from being one of the top Center’s in the nation, which is why it’s very special to be recognized for building this solid foundation for the future.”

The Boorstin Award includes a $1,000 cash stipend to be used for Indiana Center for the Book projects and initiatives. Funds to support the awards were donated to the Center for the Book by Ruth F. Boorstin, wife of former Librarian of Congress Daniel J. Boorstin (1975-1987). Boorstin, who passed away in 2004, established the Center for the Book in 1977.

“The Boorstin Award is the highest award any state Center for the Book can receive,” said Brooker. “We look forward to exceeding the high expectations set by ourselves and others by continuing to offer literary programs that touch Hoosiers of all ages.”

Check out the Indiana Center for the Book’s website for more information about participating, promoting, and partnering in Center programs and initiatives.

Teachers, Librarians invited to Picturing America Workshop
Social studies and art teachers (K-12), media specialists, and children’s librarians are invited to a free one-day workshop at the Indianapolis Museum of Art that will help them use Picturing America resources in their classrooms and programs. Picturing America, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities, brings masterpieces of American art into classrooms and libraries nationwide. Over 1200 Indiana schools and libraries received sets of the quality reproductions. Through this innovative program, students and citizens can gain a deeper appreciation of our country’s history and character through the study and understanding of its art.

Participants will receive a stipend of $75 to offset expenses, and lunch will be provided. Teachers can earn 2 CRUs. More information about the workshop, including downloadable registration forms, is available on the Indiana Humanities Council’s website.

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More Library News:
Anderson Herald Bulletin: Waterbed gardening program set at library
Decatur Daily Democrat: Grant will help buy library cards
Greene County Daily World: Bloomfield library to ‘pretty up’ south entrance
Lafayette Journal & Courier: WL library may automate checkouts
Library Technology Guide: Greenwood Public Library (Ind.) Goes Evergreen
LISWire: Georgia PINES Survey: Evergreen Delivers
Muncie Star Press: Letter: Library should remain local, not consolidated
New Albany Tribune: Pizza and Preservation tonight at New Albany-Floyd County Library
Southside Times (Beech Grove): Genealogy researcher to offer tips for tracing Civil War ancestry
Terre Haute Tribune Star: BOOK BATTLE: Dixie Bee edges Meadows in annual reading contest

Friday Facts, Research and Reports, Resources

Today is Final Day to Celebrate Air Quality Awareness Week

By wknapp | May 1st, 2009 | Permalink | Comment?

Although this is the last day, it is not too late to celebrate Air Quality Awareness Week. Running from April 27 to May 1, the Week is designed to promote behavior that encourages clean air. The Environmental Protection Agency has a great site that focuses on a new topic each day of the week. Previous days are also available for viewing. Topics include causes of air pollution, the dangers of air pollution and what you can do to help alleviate it.

Indiana is doing its part as well. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has launched SmogWatch, a site that provides visitors with daily ground-level ozone forecasts and health information. They also have a site dedicated to Continuous Air Quality Monitoring. Their news release provides tips on how to personally reduce ozone levels, including carpooling, turning off appliances when not using them and turning off the air conditioning.

For an interactive map that shows air quality levels throughout the country, be sure to check out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website.

Online Resources Clear the Air About Swine Flu
There have been a lot of questions about the Swine Flu lately: How is it spread? Where does it come from? Swine Flu is caused by influenza viruses that normally infect pigs. The virus causing the current influenza outbreak is not a swine flu virus, but a combination of human, swine and bird viruses. The flu virus causing the current outbreak, now called Influenza A (H1N1)/North America/Human, has adapted itself to be transmitted from person-to-person. Swine in the United States have not been and are not infected with this virus. Symptoms are similar to normal influenza symptoms: cough, fever, sore throat, and muscle aches. Others have reported runny noses, diarrhea, and vomiting. If you have these symptoms, the CDC recommends that you contact your health care provider. The CDC provides a good set of guidelines for preventing the spread of flu – or any other illness. Health care experts suggest that you stay home if you are sick, wash your hands frequently, and cover your nose and mouth when you cough and/or sneeze.

Health officials have warned that this is not an epidemic. Swine flu is not transmitting all that rapidly. It is not even new – the CDC reports that it has been receiving reports every year from 1976 to 2005 about Swine Flu occurrences in the United States. It is important for the public to have access to this information from reliable resources; however, health officials warn that we should not panic.

There are a number of state and federal resources that provide information on Swine Flu. They include the Indiana State Department of Health, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. For information related specifically to Indiana, see the State Department of Health Press Release.

More Job Opportunities Sought for People with Disabilities
According to a March press release, the National Council on Disability (NCD) is recommending the creation of more federal job opportunities for people with disabilities. While the NCD acknowledges that strides have been made with laws, regulations and policies, there are still many barriers preventing the hiring of those with disabilities. The ten recommendations are aimed at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Congress and even individuals. The NCD claims that existing laws need to be better; however, people with disabilities need to take advantage of current opportunities from the Federal Government. The paper, Federal Employment of People with Disabilities, is available for viewing. People with disabilities interested in federal employment can check out the OPM website on the topic. It has information on laws related to employment as well as tips and advice on how to obtain a position.

IRS Warns Taxpayers to be Wary of Return Scams
Please be aware of persons via email or phone claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service. This could be a tax scam. As the IRS says, “Remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Some recent scams claim that your U.S. refund was not enough and that the IRS owes you more money. For examples of other tax scams, visit the IRS Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts webpage, and see especially Identity and Financial Theft Tax Scams.

For more tips on avoiding these, visit the IRS webpage, Tax Scams – How to Recognize and Avoid Them. You can also report suspected tax fraud activity by sending IRS form 3949-A, Information Referral, to the Internal Revenue Service. Report Identity and Financial Theft Tax Fraud to the Treasury General for Tax Administration or 1-800-366-4484.

by Katharine Springer, Elisabeth O’Donnell, & Kim Brown-Harden

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