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Learn, Study, Discover

Sunburn and bed bugs and gas prices, oh my!

by Emily Rogers on July 5, 2014 in Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference
Check out these tips for living healthier and more economically this summer, courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
Air Quality
People with heart and lung disease, older adults and children are at greater risk from the presence of pollutants in the air and should closely monitor the air quality in their area. AirNow’s Air Quality Index (AQI) translates data into color categories so people can better understand what actions to take to protect their health. For more information and a real-time map: http://www.airnow.gov/. You can download the AQI via mobile application for your smartphone: http://m.epa.gov/apps/airnow.html
Beach Safety
When you spend time at the beach this summer, stay safe with these best practices. Swim safely, protect yourself from the sun with broad-spectrum sunscreen, stay hydrated by drinking water, watch for trash and other signs of pollution, and report dangers you see to lifeguards or other beach workers. For more information: http://water.epa.gov/type/oceb/beaches/dosdonts.cfm
Bed Bugs
Traveling is fun; bed bugs are not. Take steps when away from home to avoid bringing home unwelcome visitors. Inspect the mattress and headboard where you will be staying for the presence of bed bugs. Leave your luggage on a luggage rack, not on the bed or floor, and try to keep luggage away from the bed. You can find additional tips on avoiding bed bugs here: http://www2.epa.gov/bedbugs/tips-travel
Community Environment
Your community encompasses the people in your neighborhood and the space you share. Your community’s air, water, and land are subject to environmental concerns. To learn about environmental conditions in your community and ways to prevent pollution visit:  http://www.epa.gov/epahome/community.htm
ENERGY STAR
The average family spends 20 percent of its home utility bill on cooling. Cooling bills can be lowered by giving your air conditioner a break while you are asleep or when no one is home. Properly using a programmable thermostat can save you $180 a year on your energy bill. If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, dehumidifier, or ceiling fan look for one that has earned the ENERGY STAR label at http://www.energystar.gov/cooling 
Fuel Economy
To save money and gas, follow these tips: roll the windows down when driving at lower speeds; use the AC at highway speeds, park in the shade or use a sunshade, and read about the AC system in your car’s owner’s manual. Additionally, complete needed maintenance and ensure tires are properly inflated. Learn more here: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/hotweather.shtml and http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/maintain.jsp
Insects
While some insect bites are benign, biting insects can carry dangerous diseases. Using the right insect repellent and taking preventive actions can repel ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects. Guidelines for areas to avoid bites. and clothing to wear, can be found here: http://epa.gov/pesticides/insect/preventive_actions.htm  Additional resources are available at http://epa.gov/pesticides/insect/safe.htm
Lawn Care
With your grass shooting up, it is time to mow. For a healthy lawn, cutting height is recommended between 2.5 and 3.5 inches. Mow often enough to cut less than a third of total grass height. Leave clippings in the grass to recycle the nitrogen and prevent filling landfills. To learn more about lawn care, visit: http://www2.epa.gov/safepestcontrol/lawn-and-garden
Pest Control
Pest control in the garden often refers to the use of chemical pesticides. To ensure public safety, EPA offers a “Citizen’s Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety” as well as tailored guides on protecting your garden, children, and household. These guides offer advice on pesticide selection for health and pollinator protection and best-alternative environmentally friendly practices. Additional resources are available at http://www2.epa.gov/safepestcontrol/lawn-and-garden#safely and http://www2.epa.gov/pollinator-protection
SunWise
Check the Ultraviolet (UV) Index anytime by downloading EPA’s app (epa.gov/enviro/mobile) to plan outdoor activities while preventing overexposure to the sun. Apply a palm-full of sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher that provides broad-spectrum protection 15 minutes before heading outdoors.  Reapply every two hours. Wear protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses. Seek shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Go here to learn more: http://www2.epa.gov/sunwise/action-steps-sun-safety
Watering
When it is time to water your lawn or plants, avoid watering in the middle of the day when the hot sun will evaporate the water. Instead, water during the early morning and evening, for a total of one inch of water per week, including rainfall. A WaterSense labeled automatic sprinkler can take the guesswork out of watering and save money. Find more watering guidelines here: http://www.epa.gov/watersense/outdoor/watering_tips.html

Observing Independence

by Emily Rogers on June 24, 2014 in Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference

For Independence Day, Odum Library will close at 5 pm, Thursday, July 3rd and reopen at 9 am on Saturday, July 5th.

Along with the customary holiday festivities, you might enjoy these activities and facts for July 4th:

Once you’re done observing your holiday, remember that Odum Library, as a member of the Federal Depository Library Program, is a rich resource for government information and publications available for all members of the community, not just VSU staff and students. Come see the government documents collection on Odum Library’s second floor,  explore our online resources, and seek help from our dedicated librarians!

Getting $$ for College

by Emily Rogers on April 24, 2014 in Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference

Whether you’re headed to VSU as a new student or returning here this fall, it’s time to investigate available student financial aid resources.  VSU’s Financial Aid Office is the local clearinghouse for information about applying for and receiving student aid.

In particular, any student seeking financial aid must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Financial Aid) as early as possible, but at VSU no later than June 1st for Fall 2014 financial assistance. Find out more about the types of student aid and more at Studentaid.gov.

If you’re still investigating college opportunities, the U.S. Department of Education offers a free College Navigator to help you research colleges and universities in the United States. Of course, we hope you’ll use the navigator to search for Valdosta State University and find detailed information about admissions, programs of study, how many students receive financial aid, and more!

 

Spring is Tax-Time

by Emily Rogers on March 26, 2014 in Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference

True, one of spring’s most dreaded chores is filing taxes.  Here at Odum Library, we can’t help you prepare your taxes, but we can at least help you obtain the information you need.

Federal forms are available at these links from irs.gov:

Odum Library also has copies of the most popular forms, instructions, and schedules, located in the Government Documents section of the Reference Area, on the library’s south side 2nd floor.

Georgia forms are a different matter this year.  Unfortunately, libraries were not provided with copies from the state, so we do not have Georgia tax forms available.  Here are ways to get copies:

  • If you prefer, you can request State of Georgia tax forms by calling the forms order line at 1-877-423-6711, option #2, then option #6.

In addition, tax forms from all 50 states are available courtesy of the Federation of Tax Administrators.

If you are seeking free assistance preparing your taxes, you can consult these Valdosta community resources:

1. Senior Citizens Center
1360 E. Park Avenue
Every Tuesday from 9-4, starting Feb. 4th
Age 50 and over, only
Call for appointment: 259-5469

2. Trinity Presbyterian Church
3501 Bemiss Rd./North Oak St. Ext.
Thursdays, 9-4, starting  Feb. 6th

3. IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA)
For individuals who make $50,000 and less
Call 1-888-227-7669 for locations and times.

Spring forward Sunday, March 9th

by Emily Rogers on March 6, 2014 in Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference

Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday, March 9th, so be sure to set your clocks forward an hour to be on time!

What is the history of Daylight Savings Time?  Does every area observe daylight savings time?  Who decides on time zones? Learn the answers to these questions and more from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The NIST’s Physical Measurement Laboratory develops standards for and distributes time and other measures such as temperature, length, mass, and frequency. Find out the official time at Time.gov!

Here’s to Your Heart!

by Emily Rogers on February 11, 2014 in Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference

February is American Heart Month, designated to encourage awareness of the importance of heart health. Read President Obama’s 2014 proclamation of this observance.

Healthfinder.gov offers a helpful toolkit that gives strategies for improving heart health.

Another useful government resource is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which features information about recognizing a heart attack and making choices that can improve the condition of your heart, cholesterol count, arteries, and other vital functions.  See especially the CDC’s 28 Days to a Healthier Heart tips.

Photo: Woman's hands forming heart shapeImage courtesy CDC

Looking for a unique Valentine’s Day present this year?  Why not participate in the Million Hearts Initiative, which suggests making the gift of a pledge for healthier living.

Be sure to check out Odum Library’s American Heart Month exhibit featuring more heart healthy displays, books, and other resources, located on the north side of the library first floor.

Library Hours for Martin Luther King, Jr., Day

by Emily Rogers on January 14, 2014 in Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference

The library will close at 12:00 midnight on Sunday, January 19, and will reopen at 8:00 am on Tuesday, January 21, in observation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Various ways to spend the MLK Day holiday include observing a day of service, attending celebrations, and visiting sites associated with the life of Dr. King.

MLKDay.gov offers information about service opportunities available for the MLK Day of Service on January 20, 2014, and toolkits for setting up your own service opportunities.

Valdosta-area events for Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, include:

  • 3:00 pm, January 19, a commemoration program will be held at St. Paul A.M.E. Church, 419 S. Ashley St., with keynote speaker Elder Elizabeth Brown Yates, presiding elder of the Alachua Central District.
  • 11:00 am. January 20, a youth program will be held at Mathis City Auditorium, 2300 N. Ashley St., with keynote speakers Nasier A. Vazquez and Valious Smith. A luncheon to follow.  (Source:  Valdosta Daily Times)

If you’re in the Atlanta area, you might wish to visit the National Park Service’s Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, featuring his birth and burial sites.

However you observe the MLK Day Holiday, we’ll be ready for you when the library reopens on Tuesday morning at 8:00 am.

Brrrr!

by Emily Rogers on January 6, 2014 in Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference

As south Georgia prepares for a sharp drop in temperatures this week, take a look at these government resources with information about cold weather issues:

Cover Image for Extreme Cold Guide

Be sure you stay warm and follow these safety and energy-saving tips for weathering this cold spell.

December Hours and Holidays

by Emily Rogers on December 10, 2013 in Odum Library, Services

Odum Library’s collections include books about the seasons and holidays!  Whether you want books on Kwanzaa, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, or other holidays or seasons, you can find samples of our collection of books, recordings, and DVDs featuring holiday themes on exhibit in the library’s first floor display cases.

Luckily for library visitors, Odum Library is currently open regular hours:

Sunday 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Monday – Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Friday 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

That means you can come to the library day and night until  3:00 p.m., Friday, December 20, 2013. The library will be closed Saturday, December 21, 2013, through Wednesday, January 1, 2014.  We reopen at 8:00 a.m. Thursday, January 2, 2014, when regular library hours resume.

Come see us and enjoy our first floor holiday exhibit (all items on display are available for checkout–just ask at the second floor Circulation Desk), plus take a look at our popular books, movies, games, and other materials you can take home for the holidays!

Human Rights Week, December 10-17, 2013

by Emily Rogers on December 3, 2013 in Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference

December 10th is the date the United Nations observes Human Rights Day, commemorating the 1948 UN adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). In this document the international organization recognizes “the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family [as] the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

More information on the history of Human Rights Day and Week, December 10th-17th, is available through the Law Library of Congress.  Online documents relating to Human Rights Day include:

Humanrights.gov  is the official site for the U.S. government’s information about human rights. Here you can read recent news and reports about issues such as disability, freedom of expression and of religious observance, LGBT, labor, and other political, civic, and cultural rights. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor provides further access to information on the U.S. mission to spread democracy and respect for human rights worldwide.

HumanRights.Gov

Odum Library’s Government Documents collection can provide you with treaties, reports, hearings, and more material, both online and in print, about human rights issues in the United States and the world.  Just contact the Government Documents Librarian at 229-245-3748 or ecrogers@valdosta.edu, or stop by the Reference Desk for more assistance. Odum Library is a selective Federal Depository Library to which public access is guaranteed by public law.