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Learn, Study, Discover

April is for Poetry and Taxes

by Emily Rogers on April 1, 2016 in Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference

Most of us think more about taxes than about poetry when it comes to our government, but both the federal and the state governments support poets and poetry. April is National Poetry Month, and many states, including Georgia, have a state poet laureate—currently, Judson Mitcham for Georgia.

Much information about poets and poetry from Georgia appears in the New Georgia Encyclopedia.  There you can find biographies of poets with Georgia connections such as Coleman Barks, Sidney Lanier, Conrad Aiken, David Bottoms, Alice Walker, and Natasha Trethewey (poet laureate of the U.S. 2012-2014).

The Library of Congress’s Poetry and Literature Center keeps an archive of recorded poetry and literature.  The Poetry of America Initiative includes two special programs, the Poetry of American History and the Poetry of American Identity. Current poet laureate of the U.S. is Juan Felipe Herrera.  Additional poetry resources are also available from the Library of Congress.

On a more prosaic topic, the 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ U.S. tax forms and instructions are available in the kiosk by the Reference Desk, on the second floor of Odum Library. Complete tax forms are available at irs.gov. The library doesn’t have printed state tax forms, but popular state of Georgia tax forms are available online.  Tax forms from other states are available through the Federation of Tax Administrators. Remember that tax returns are due April 15, but you can enjoy National Poetry Month all month long.

Women’s History Month 2016

by Emily Rogers on March 3, 2016 in Archives & Special Collections, Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference

March is Women’s History Month. Test your knowledge of women’s history with these quizzes from the National Women’s History Project, which presents the 2016 theme: “Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government.” 

In recognition of Women’s History Month, the government, libraries, archives, and other nonprofit organizations can help us learn about women’s contributions to science, civil rights, culture and the arts, exploration, education, and government. Read President Obama’s 2016 Presidential Proclamation of Women’s History Month, and view the official government site for Women’s History Month to see a variety of online exhibits and sites about women in history. The

Learn the history of the 19th Amendment, enacting the right of women to vote in the U.S., courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration. The Law Library of Congress also offers a timeline of the legislative history of Women’s History Month in the U.S.

Valdosta State University, which began as a college for women, offers local documentation of more than a century of the history of women in south Georgia. Many images and documents of the history of women at Valdosta State University are available at the Valdosta State University Archives and Special Collections.

Finally, be sure to visit the Odum Library government documents exhibit on this year’s theme, Honoring Women in Public Service and Government, on display in the Reference area, second floor, south side of Odum Library.

Election and Voting Season

by Emily Rogers on February 22, 2016 in Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference

Tuesday, March 1, is the date of the Presidential Preference Primary elections, when voters cast ballots for their preferred party candidates. Visit the Georgia Secretary of State’s My Voter Page to check your voter registration, early voting locations, sample ballots, and more.

While the Georgia registration deadline (February 1) has passed for the primary election, there’s still plenty of time to register to vote before the General Election: register by October 11 for the November 8 election. You can even register to vote online through the State of Georgia’s Online Voter Registration site. VSU students can register at the VSU Office of Student Life in the VSU Student Union building. For information on registering to vote in other states, try the U.S. Election Assistance Commission site.

More information about party candidates is available at the sites for the Georgia Republican Party and the Democratic Party of Georgia.  Find general voting and election information through the USA.gov voting site. All of these resources can help you exercise your important right to vote during this election season.

Desert Storm 25th Anniversary

by Emily Rogers on January 28, 2016 in Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference

This January and February mark the 25th anniversary of the United States’ participation in Operation Desert Storm, a military campaign designed to end Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait, which began in August 1990.  Consider official accounts of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm with this article from the U.S. Air Force Public Affairs Office and a fact sheet from the U.S. Air Force Historical Support Division. More information about the 25th anniversary of Desert Storm is available through a special commemorative Air Force web site that includes links to videos featuring Major General Paul T. Johnson, Colonel David Web, and Lt. General David “Orville” Wright. The U.S. Navy also presents an overview of the Navy’s role in Desert Storm.

View a collection of photographs of Desert Storm activity courtesy of the Defense Media Network.  The U.S. Army has prepared a timeline of Desert Storm, which includes comments by veterans who served in the operation. See what other veterans of the operation have to say in this recollection published by the Air Force’s 403rd Wing Public Affairs Office.   Those who returned from Gulf War service have often suffered major health consequences, as documented in this site from the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

Learn more about Operation Desert Shield and Storm and efforts to commemorate service in the Gulf region by visiting the government information exhibit on the 25th Anniversary of Desert Shield and Desert Storm on the second floor of Odum Library, near the Reference Desk.

 

 

MLK Day Opportunities and Library Hours

by Emily Rogers on January 5, 2016 in Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question,” asked Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “is what are you doing for others?” View Odum Library’s exhibit of government materials about Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, available in the Reference area on the library’s second floor.

The library will close at 12:00 midnight on Sunday, January 17, and will reopen at 8:00 am on Tuesday, January 19, in observation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

In recent years, many people have used the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday as a day of volunteer service to the community. This year’s MLK Day of Service is Monday, January 18. MLKDay.gov offers more information about available service opportunities.

The Department of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services offers educational materials about the life of Dr. King and history of the Day of Service along with information about becoming a United States citizen.

Read the “I have a dream” speech, available through the National Archives at archives.gov.

For those traveling away from Valdosta this holiday, MLK Day is a good time to visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, DC, and the King Center in Atlanta.  Once you return from holiday activities, remember that Odum Library will be open again on January 19 at 8:00 am.

Wisdom returns to National Wildlife Refuge

by Emily Rogers on November 30, 2015 in Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference

The oldest living banded wild bird, Wisdom, has returned to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in Hawaii. Wisdom, a 64-year-old Laysan albatross, spent a year at sea before returning to the refuge to reunite with her mate.  Sighted on November 19, 2015, Wisdom flew back to sea but should return soon to lay her egg.

The Laysan albatross lays just one egg per year and spends around 130 days incubating and raising her chick. Once done with this process, Wisdom should fly away again; refuge workers estimate that she has covered approximately six million ocean miles in her lifetime.

National wildlife refuges help protect and provide habitat for birds, amphibians, mammals, fish, and reptiles, many otherwise threatened. View the current list of threatened/endangered species, including those located in Lowndes County, Georgia:  the striped newt, the wood stork, the purple bankclimber mussel, the eastern indigo snake, and the gopher tortoise.

The National Wildlife Refuge system, run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, covers more than 150 million acres of land and water, with at least one refuge located in each state. Nearby wildlife refuges include the Banks Lake NWF and the Okeefenokee NWF in south Georgia and the St. Marks NWF and the Lower Suwanee NWF in north Florida. Daily and annual passes are available–a small price to spend time with wildlife friends such as sandhill and whooping cranes, monarch butterflies, American alligators, and black bears.

Autumn Ways and Holidays

by Emily Rogers on November 18, 2015 in Government Documents, Hours, Odum Library, Reference

November has brought a few hints of cooler weather, Daylight Savings Time, Veterans Day, and Native American Heritage Month. As the days grow shorter, keep in mind upcoming schedule changes during the Thanksgiving break:

  • Odum Library will close at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 24, and reopen Saturday, November 28, at 9:00 a.m.

Other significant November events:

Once VSU students return to classes on November 30, the days of the semester grow shorter as well. Classes end on Monday, December 7, and final exams end Friday, December 11, with graduation on Saturday, December 12.  After that, it’ll be January 11, 2016, before students start classes again. Take care and enjoy your holidays!

 

Jane Smiley Talk and Exhibit

by Emily Rogers on November 6, 2015 in Neat Stuff, Odum Library, Reference

Jane SmileyOn November 12th at 7:30pm in the Student Union Theater, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jane Smiley will be holding a public reading from her newest work, the Last Hundred Years Trilogy. In order to celebrate Jane Smiley’s visit to Valdosta State University as 2015’s Writer-In-Residence, Odum Library has prepared an exhibit showcasing her works of fiction and non-fiction.

From a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear (A Thousand Acres) to a sweeping historical novel reminiscent of the sagas of Iceland (The Greenlanders), Jane Smiley has created works that span a variety of genres exploring different time periods, places, and interpersonal dynamics.

If you are interested in exploring the works of Jane Smiley for yourself, please visit the second floor Reserve Desk in Odum Library.

Whether you are a long-time Smiley fan or you have just discovered her novels, mark your calendars for November 12th at 7:30pm to see Jane Smiley at the Student Union Theater.

Veterans Day

by Emily Rogers on November 5, 2015 in Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference

On Veterans Day we recognize veterans and all of those who have offered military service. While the post office and some businesses are closed for the day, Odum Library will observe its regular hours.

Find out more about Veterans Day through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, where you can read this History of Veterans Day, and the Veterans Day National  Committee. View the 2015 official Veterans Day poster along with posters from previous years.  Take a look at these FAQs about Veterans Day, including the correct spelling and punctuation for the holiday.

As a Federal Depository Library, Odum Library’s Government Documents collection includes many publications about veterans, including these hearings about issues affecting veterans:

Veterans’ history and needs to extend beyond Veterans Day, of course. The Library of Congress invites public participation in the Veterans History Project. Veteran Brian McGough describes ways to help veterans after Veterans Day.  Mark these and other ways to honor and thank the veterans who have served our country.

 

 

Resources on Breast Cancer Awareness

by Emily Rogers on October 5, 2015 in Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference

Among the best sources for current information about breast cancer and other health issues are government web sites such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes for Health (NIH), and the National Cancer Institute (cancer.gov).

The CDC provides background on breast cancer and collects statistics about its occurrence.  Breast cancer is “the most common cancer in women, no matter your race or ethnicity;” in 2012 (the most recent year available) “224,147 women and 2,125 men in the United States were diagnosed with breast cancer,” according to the CDC. Young women as well as those above age 50 should be aware that approximately 11% of each year’s new cases of breast cancer affect women under age 45.

Fact sheets about breast cancer and an overview of risk factors and current research are available from the NIH, and more information, including sources on coping, are available through the National Cancer Institute. As you note breast cancer awareness month, be sure that the information you rely on is current and authoritative.