This Week's Facts:

  1. Feds Offer Free Black History Month Resources
  2. Valentine's Day is a BIG Deal...Statistically Speaking
  3. Some Valentine's Gifts Cost Nothing, but Mean Everything

New Penny Features
Indiana's Lincoln

The next time you pay cash for something, pay attention to the pennies you receive as change.  Following in the footsteps of the twenty dollar bill and the nickel, the penny is undergoing a redesign.

This time, however, it is in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s bicentennial birthday, which was celebrated on February 12, 2009. There will be four new designs being released this year, the first of which was released on February 12. Each design will depict a scene from Lincoln’s life: 1) “Birth and early childhood in Kentucky;” 2) “Formative years in Indiana;” 3) “Professional life in Illinois;” and 4) “Presidency in D.C.” The coins will be released in intervals of three months. To see the new coins, visit the U.S. Mint website on coin designs. The new coins were authorized by Public Law 109-145.

In other coin news, while the Statehood Quarter Program ended in 2008, with the final five states (Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii) being issued, we will see some new coins this year as well.  The U.S. Mint is releasing coins representing Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Territories: Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands.  Like the Statehood Quarters, these will be released incrementally throughout the year.  For more information on the quarter, visit the U.S. Mint’s site History of the Quarter.

Friday Facts is a production of the Indiana State Library

Friday Facts is written and edited by:

Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator
Elisabeth O’Donnell
Federal Documents Librarian

Feds Offer Free Black History Month Education Resources

February is African-American History Month.  This year’s theme is the Quest for Black Citizenship in the Americas and is meant to commemorate those who struggled to bring racial equality to the nation. 

Federal Resources for Education Excellence (FREE) provides teaching and learning resources for those interested in more in-depth information.  Don’t forget to check out the Census Bureau’s Facts on File for interesting bits of trivia about African-Americans in the United States.  For example, did you know that there are currently 2.4 million African-American veterans in the United States?  You can also visit the Department of Labor, which provides a bibliography of electronic resources.

For a list of links about African-American history from the Indiana Department of Education.  The National Park Service has an interesting site about important places in African-American history.  One recent addition to the National Historic Register is the Sherwood Equal Rights Historic District in Scipio NY.  Several homes in this district were owned by freed slaves, abolitionists and women’s rights advocates.  The site also provides lesson plans on other places of note, such as Port Hudson and the Pope House of Raleigh.  

IUPUI has a complete list Black History Month events in Indiana commemorating the month for those interested in participating.

Valentines Day is a BIG Deal...Statistically Speaking

The U.S. Census Bureau has compiled some fun and interesting facts about St. Valentine’s Day and related subjects using various government information sources. Included in these lovely statistics is the number of dating service establishments as of 2002. Close to 900 dating businesses in the U.S. employed almost 4,300 people and made $489 million in revenue according to the 2002 Economic Census. According to the U.S. Census Bureau report, Families and Living Arrangements, in 2007, 72% of people ages 30 to 34 had been married at some point in their lives, whether currently or formerly. No matter your marital status, according to Current Industrial Reports, the per capita consumption of candy by Americans in 2007 was 24.5 pounds!

Don’t forget to check out the Valentine’s Day feature on America’s Story, courtesy of the Library of Congress. The United States Post Office also provides custom postage products for the celebrated day.

Some Valentine's Gifts Cost Nothing, But Mean Everything

Not only is February 14 Valentine’s Day, it is also National Donor Day.  Over 100,000 people are currently waiting for organ transplants and the list is growing.  It is easy to register to become an organ donor.  In fact, many people do it when they renew their driver’s license.  However, you can also visit the Indiana State Donor Registry and sign up there.  For questions regarding organ donation, visit

Donor Day can also be celebrated by giving blood.  Most adults over the age of 17 and who weigh more than 110 pounds are eligible and can donate one pint every sixty days.  There are many organizations that collect blood for hospitals.  Two of the most reputable organizations in Indiana are the American Red Cross and the Indiana Blood Center.  You can either participate in a community blood drive or visit a local donation center.  For advice on what to expect when you donate blood, visit the Federal Citizen Information Center’s Life Advice about being a Blood Donor.

Many people also donate bone marrow and umbilical cord blood.  More information about this is available from The Health Resources and Services Administration of the US Department of Health and Human Services.