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Friday Facts: Government Information You Can Use

This Week's Facts:

  1. Check Out Fun 4th of July Facts from the Library of Congress

  2. New Website Dedicated to the Teaching Profession

  3. Fun Online Portal Prepares Kids for Emergency Situations

  4. Exhibit Details Government's Effect on American Diets

  5. Process Streamlined to Acquire Federal Property

Document of the Month: Proceedings of the Indiana State Medical Society

This document offers transcribed, detailed accounts of the State’s Medical Society. While it does not provide information about medical standards of the day, it does offer an account of early members and officers, as well as a type of “ethical road map” that doctors should follow. This document provides insight into the various medical procedures and issues of the time. One can find impassioned pleas by doctors around the state about various diseases and social ills. For example, in 1851 a doctor delivered an address warning his colleagues of ultraism in medicine;  this appears to be a result of the many changes going on in society. Also of note, the proceedings offer accounts of medical procedures and treatments, as well as names of the patients – this was obviously before privacy laws were established. A separately published index is included, which also provides an alphabetical list of contributors (1849-1907); this index gives us a glimpse of the type of medical issues discussed throughout the years. The Proceedings, later called Transactions, can be found in the Indiana collection at Ind. 610.6 I385m, 1851-1907.  


Friday Facts Editorial Team:

Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator

Elisabeth O’Donnell
Federal Documents Librarian

Kim Brown-Harden
State Documents Coordinator

Indiana Federal Depository Library Program

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Check Out Fun 4th of July Facts from the Library of Congress

Happy 4th of JulyHappy Independence Day! As we enter into this holiday weekend, here are a few points to ponder:

  • In July of 1776, an estimated 2.5 million people lived in what would become the United States. This July, that number has reached 311.7 million.

  • There are 30 places around the country with the word “liberty” in their name. There are nine places with “freedom” and there’s even a town in Indiana called Patriot!

  • There’s a one in four chance that the hot dog or pork sausage you consume this weekend came from Iowa.

For more facts, be sure to check out Facts for Features from the Census Bureau. From the Friday Facts team, have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

New Website Dedicated the Teaching Profession is a new website devoted to the growing community of new teachers in the United States. It presents the following challenges: Make an Impact, Be a Leader, Build a Career, Help Underserved Communities, and Share Your Knowledge. The website provides a view on the outlook of the teaching profession, shows ways to become a teacher (including job posts), and compiles current news for teachers and prospective teachers. Are your patrons looking to be informed and maybe even inspired? Check it out!

Fun Online Portal Prepares Kids for Emergency Situation

FEMA Ready KidsNobody likes to dwell on the idea, but the fact remains that emergencies do happen. When such things occur, it is important to have a plan in place. While you can’t always guarantee that you’ll be able to carry out that plan, having an idea of what to do is certainly a big help. This goes double for kids. As such, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a site for kids called FEMA Ready Kids. Kids can go to the website and follow Rex the Mountain Lion and his family as they demonstrate how to be prepared for an emergency situation. This is a great resource. It’s full of information about making a plan, creating an emergency kit, and knowing the facts about specific types of natural disasters. There are interactive activities and also projects that kids can print out and complete. The fun animation and characters turn this site into a kid-friendly version of FEMA’s The advice on both of these sites is very similar. However, kids and adults may find that learning it from a mountain lion makes it a lot more fun!

Exhibit Details Government's Effect on American Diets

What's Cooking Uncle Sam?Earlier this month, a new exhibit opened at the National Archives: What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? The Government’s Effect on the American Diet. In addition to the Washington D.C. display, a website invites the public to participate in the foodie fun. The online exhibit shows how the United States government has been involved in food safety, in the economics of the U.S. food supply, and even in attempts to influence Americans’ eating habits. The U.S. Bureau of Chemistry investigated what it termed “food adulteration” and home economists promoted certain dishes as “having merit” because they were “economical, quickly made, nutritious, attractive, and delicious.”  View photos and videos from Farm, Factory, Kitchen, and Table topics. See government documents, like a Revolutionary War era broadside which promised rations as an incentive to enlist in the military. For more information, see the March 1 press release.

Process Streamlined to Acquire Federal Property

According to the White House, the federal government is the largest property owner in the United States. Approximately 14,000 of these properties are considered “excess” – this means they are either not being used at all or are underutilized. The government does sell off these properties; however, the process can often be arduous. In the meantime, billions of taxpayer dollars are being spent on properties that aren’t being used. In order to rectify this, President Obama has proposed a Civilian Property Realignment Board, which would allow citizens to purchase property from the government without going through all the red-tape that is currently part of the process. It is estimated that the Board will save the country $15 billion over the first three years that it’s fully operational.

In the meantime, you can view excess properties online. This interactive map allows you to search by state and by area to see what buildings are there. In Indiana alone, there are over 80 available. These can be anything from sheds to office buildings and even to warehouses. You can find out information about each property (even if it’s set for demolition) and the website provides contact information if you are interested in more detail. Not all of the excess properties owned by the government are on here – only about half, in fact. However, it’s a great tool for those who are interested in acquiring property from the government.

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