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Friday Facts: Government Information You Can Use

This Week's Facts:

  1. Help Celebrate National Braille Literacy Month in January

  2. Online Portal Connects Citizens to Latest Flu-Related Information

  3. Kickoff National Soup Month with these Mmm Mmm Good Recipes

  4. Consumer Reports Offers Tips on Deciphering Green Marketing Claims

Indiana General Assembly Begins 2013 Session

The Indiana General Assembly is back in session as of this week. The 2013 session will be full of new and interesting legislation and topics. The Indiana General Assembly webpage will help keep you informed of the legislation happening in the Indiana House and the Indiana Senate. From your home, office, or the library, you can watch the legislative process happen in real time. If you’re unsure of your district or legislator, you can use the District Lookup Service to find out who represents your district and how to contact them. If you’re interested in specific legislation, you can view the introduced bills for 2013.  Although elections are over, you can still play a role in the democratic process by learning about the issues being discussed in the legislature. 

Friday Facts Editorial Team:

Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator

Kim Brown-Harden
Federal Documents Coordinator

Indiana Federal Depository Library Program

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Help Celebrate National Braille Literacy Month in January

Indiana Talking Book & Braille LibraryNational Braille Literacy Month is celebrated in January to honor the birthday of Louis Braille. The American Federation for the Blind celebrated this year by issuing the webpage, Braille Roundup: Celebrating the Life and Work of Louis Braille. Louis Braille was responsible for creating a major tool for the blind and visually impaired population (called Braille) – a logical system of dots raised on a page that enables reading and writing. The Library of Congress administers a National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) through a national network of cooperating libraries. It is free program that provides braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail.

The Indiana State Library has been home to Indiana’s Talking Book and Braille Library (TBBL) since 1934, though it first started loaning embossed materials (not necessarily Braille) in 1905. The TBBL currently has over 18,000 Braille titles available for circulation. In addition to Braille, TBBL has over 10,000 digital talking books, 15,000 large print books, and 25,000 downloadable talking books. Talking book service is available to residents of Indiana with visual or physical handicaps that keep them from using standard printed materials.  More information on joining talking books is available on the TBBL website (above).

Online Portal Connects Citizens to Latest Flu-Related Information

Flu.govIf you’ve followed current news, you know the flu season started early in 2012 and has caused strain among healthcare providers across the United States. The seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. The virus can spread between people and can cause mild to severe illness. In some cases, the flu can cause death. In the United States, the flu season peaks in January or February, but it can occur early. Complications from the flu can cause bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, and ear, sinus, and other infections. has many tools and resources to keep your patrons safe during this flu season. They’ll find vaccine locations by address or zip code. You can look up influenza activity by state and use other helpful information to help avoid the flu and treat its symptoms.  The Indiana State Department of Health Influenza webpage has quick facts about the flu, weekly reports, and other valuable tools to keep Indiana residents informed about the flu outbreak. Information and prevention are vital to keeping healthy this season.

Kickoff National Soup Month with these Mmm Mmm Good Recipes

ChooseMyPlate.govSoup’s on!  Cold weather is the perfect time for a bowl of hot soup.  The dish has been used for centuries to nourish and provide comfort to people all over the world.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides new healthy soup recipes for January, which is National Soup Month. You can use the USDA recipe finder to find soups to accommodate a variety of tastes.  Search for everything from chicken soup to chilled cantaloupe soup – or try this simple recipe for Chicken and Dumpling Soup from You can even access recipes from the Eisenhower Presidential Library for old-fashioned beef stew, Mexican chili, and vegetable soup, courtesy of the National Archives blog!

Consumer Reports Offers Tips on Deciphering Green Marketing Claims

Eco Labels from Consumer ReportsYou have probably seen products with labels claiming that they are “eco-friendly”, “all-natural”, or “made from recycled materials”. The challenge with these statements is that there is no clear definition of these terms. Here are some tips to help you sort through green marketing:

  • Look for specific (ex. “contains 75% post-consumer recycled materials”) rather than vague statements about environmental impact.
  • Determine whether the green marketing claims apply to the packaging, the product, or both.
  • Beware of fake third-party certification. Visit Consumer Reports’ website to find reliable environmental labels.

Get more tips to help you go green.

This information is brought to you as a courtesy of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) via the blog.

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