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This Week's Facts:

  1. Reflect on Columbus Day History this Holiday Weekend

  2. October Dedicated to Information Literacy

  3. Links Outline Status of Federal Websites During Shutdown

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Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator

Kim Brown-Harden
Federal Documents Coordinator

Andrea Glenn
State Documents Coordinator

Indiana Federal Depository Library Program


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Reflect on Columbus Day History this Holiday Weekend

Columbus DayColumbus Day is celebrated in October to commemorate Christopher Columbus's landing in the New World (at San Salvador Island in the Bahamas) on October 12. The October 12 page of American Memory’s Today in History website provides historical references to Columbus Day and its meaning:  During the morning of October 12, 1492, a sailor on board the Pinta saw land. The following day, 90 crewmembers of Columbus’s fleet surveyed what was an island in the Bahamas and named it San Salvador (now Watling Island, then called Guanahani by native Bahamians). This ended a voyage that began nearly ten weeks earlier in Palos, Spain. 

The first recorded celebration of Columbus Day in the United States took place on October 12, 1792.  The day was organized by the Society of St. Tammany, also known as the Columbian Order. It commemorated the 300th anniversary of the landing of Columbus and his crew. The 400th anniversary of the event inspired the first official Columbus Day holiday in the United States. President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation in 1892, “recommending to the people the observance in all their localities of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America” and describing Columbus as “the pioneer of progress and enlightenment.” In the decades that followed, the Knights of Columbus, an international Roman Catholic fraternal benefit society, lobbied state legislatures to declare October 12 a legal holiday. Colorado was the first state to do so on April 1, 1907. New York declared Columbus Day a holiday in 1909 and on October 12, 1909, New York Governor Charles Evans Hughes led a parade that included the crews of two Italian ships, several Italian-American societies, and legions of the Knights of Columbus.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt designated Columbus Day (then celebrated October 12) a national holiday in 1934. Since 1971, when Columbus Day was designated the second Monday in October, the day has been celebrated as a federal holiday. In many locations across the country Americans hold parades to commemorate the day. You can find additional resources using the answers.USA.gov webpage about Columbus Day.

October Dedicated to Information Literacy

National Forum on Information LiteracyOctober is Information Literacy Awareness Month, sponsored by the National Forum on Information Literacy. According to the American Library Association’s Presidential Committee on Information Literacy Final Report (1989), “information literacy is crucial to effective citizenship…. Citizenship in a modern democracy involves more than knowledge of how to access vital information. It also involves a capacity to recognize propaganda, distortion, and other misuses and abuses of information.”

The American Library Association provides professional resources on information literacy in its A to Z Index of Topics. Also, ALA’s Association of College and Research Libraries has an online gateway to resources on information literacy.

Both Purdue University and IUPUI have websites dedicated to the concept of Information Literacy. Purdue University Libraries recognizes this year’s celebration by holding their fifth annual Information Literacy Symposium Tuesday, October 29 in West Lafayette featuring Dr. Mary Somerville, University Librarian at the Auraria Library, University of Colorado Denver. The theme will be “Toward Informed Learning in Professional Practice” and the event will take place at 318 Stewart Center on the Purdue campus in West Lafayette.

Links Outline Status of Federal Websites During Shutdown

Federal Government ShutdownAs the Government Shutdown continues educators, students, and library patrons are beginning to realize the implications of the government shutdown.  Many internet users are looking for sources to help them in their research and studies.   The following links are available to help students, researchers, and library users navigate their way around the government shutdown:

As always, you can contact the Indiana State Library for assistance with these and other resources to help in your research.

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