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Friday Facts: Government Information You Can Use

This Week's Facts:

Fast Facts: Back to School

Is it truly the end of summer programming? Take a look at some of the fun facts about our patrons and families returning to school:

In August 2012, $8.5 billion was spent at family clothing stores in the United States. Sales at bookstores totaled $2.0 billion.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau,
Monthly Retail Trade and Food Services

In October of 2011, 79 million students (Early Education to College) were enrolled in school throughout the country. They comprised 26.9 percent of the entire population age 3 and older.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau,
2011 School Enrollment-Social and Economic Characteristics of Students Table 1

145,740 high school students worked full time, year-round. 3,068,911 high school students worked part-time, year-round.
2011 School Enrollment and Work Status Table 1A

Friday Facts Editorial Team:

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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Online Resources Can Help Students Get to School Safely

Kids.govMany schools around Indiana are back in session already or will be very soon. Drivers are reminded to slow down for school zones and be vigilant for children in neighborhoods waiting at bus stops or walking to and from school. The Driver’s Manual from the Indiana BMV states, “If you are driving near a school, you must slow down to the lower posted speed limit for the school zone. Common hours for school zone speed limits are 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. However, local authorities may establish lower speed limits for school zones when children are present.” The Indiana Department of Transportation administers the Indiana Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program, based on a federal program designed to make walking and bicycling to school safe and routine.  

As of January 2013, this map shows 20 towns, cities, and school corporations which were awarded funding for infrastructure and non-infrastructure proposals totaling over $3.4 million during the 2012 cycle. These projects include improvements to sidewalks, curbs, and curb ramps. Other funding provides for speed trailers to monitor motorists’ compliance with school zone speed limits. Making sure that school buses are safely operating and road ready falls under the authority of the Indiana State Police and their Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division. School bus inspection reports are sorted by county on this statewide map. View statistics such as Total Buses, Total Buses Inspected, Total Approved, Total Ordered Repaired, and Total Out of Service by clicking on each school district’s name. Click “View Inspections” for detailed inspection reports.  For more information about school bus safety, check out School Bus Facts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Help Health Department Raise Immunization Awareness in August

MyVAX IndianaAugust is National Immunization Month, a good time to remind our patrons and ourselves about the importance of updated immunizations. Indiana’s Department of Health maintains an Immunization website which includes the immunization schedules and catch-up schedule for children and adults in Indiana. Health care professionals will find information here about immunization training and updates about current vaccines. Travelers can also find information about immunizations required for international travel. Visit MyVax for access to your immunization records online.

The National Public Health Information Coalition and the CDC provide toolkits and other resources for creating awareness all month long. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued an educational Immunization Month PDF for seniors who are curious about how their benefits cover immunizations. Also, the U.S. Department of Defense participates in a National Immunization Awareness Month campaign which provides an entire online collection of promotional materials.

End of Summer Tips for Safe Swimmers

Water Safety Tips from the Red CrossSwimming, whether at a pool or at the beach is a great way to get some exercise and spend time with your family and friends. But swimming can be risky for children and inexperienced adults. These resources can help you and your children stay safe in the water:

Keeping Kids and Adults Safe

  • Through the American Red Cross water safety page you can enroll your child in a swimming class and learn where to find U.S. coast guard approved life jackets
  • CPR  is an important life-saving skill to know during a water related emergency
  • Teach your children about the importance of pool safety through this interactive video game: “The Adventures of Splish and Splash
  • Make sure to keep a cell phone and first aid kit close by in case of an emergency
  • And of course, remember to apply plenty of sunscreen to reduce the chance of skin damage

Staying Safe at the Pool
If you decide to swim at a pool this summer, remember to make sure that all equipment is up to date and that all pool drains are covered. If you are visiting a community pool, take the time to read and follow the pool rules posted and only swim at pools where there is a lifeguard on duty. At a residential pool, a fence should be installed around the perimeter of the pool and an experienced adult swimmer should always be present. Learn more from’s tips on staying safe at community and residential pools and spas.

Staying Safe at the Beach
It’s important to remember that swimming at a beach is drastically different than swimming at a pool so you’ll need to be extra careful in natural bodies of water. The biggest danger of swimming in the ocean is getting caught in rip currents, powerful currents on the surface of the water that can quickly carry you out to sea. Watch this video to learn how to avoid and escape them.

Remember never to swim at a beach when there isn’t a lifeguard present and to familiarize yourself with the beach warning flags before you and your family decide to go swimming.

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