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Observing Hispanic Heritage Month

by Emily Rogers on September 19, 2016 in Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference

National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed in the United States September 15 through October 15, 2016. Read President Obama’s official presidential proclamation of Hispanic Heritage Month, in which he urges us to “reflect on the countless ways in which Hispanics have contributed to our Nation’s success, and let us reaffirm our commitment to expanding opportunity and building an ever brighter future for all.”

View facts, photos, and more about Hispanic Heritage Month at the U.S. government’s official site, including special exhibits and collections from sources such as the Library of Congress, the National Park Service, and the National Gallery of Art.

The U.S. Department of Defense honors the many Hispanics who serve in the military through a special report with profiles on leading service members in uniform.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Hispanic population in the U.S. numbered 56.6 million on July 1, 2015. By the year 2060, the projected population will be 119 million.  See more statistics about the Hispanic population in the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features list for Hispanic Heritage Month.

Sign the Constitution at Odum Library!

by Emily Rogers on September 3, 2016 in Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference

On Friday, September 16, to mark Constitution Day, Odum Library hosts a special opportunity: you can sign a copy of the U.S. Constitution! Just visit the Reference Desk between 9:00am and 4:00pm for your chance to sign the Constitution and get a free pocket Constitution, candy, and a special Founding Father surprise!

You can also view the exhibit of books and documents relating to the Constitution in the library Reference area on the second floor, on display through September. If you can’t make our event, be sure to view this online Constitution available from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

The Law Library of Congress provides history and legislative materials for Constitution and Citizenship Day, and the National Archives and Records Administration offers Constitution Day resources especially for teachers, as does the U.S. Department of Education.  NARA even provides instructions for a game to help teach students about the Constitution.

Find out more about the Constitution and its signing on September 17th, 1787, with these fun facts about the Constitution and Constitutional Convention.

Happy 100th Birthday, National Park Service!

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

This August marks 100 years since the founding of the National Park Service on August 25, 1916.  Find the national park nearest you to participate in birthday celebration activities, including free admission to all 412 parks and sites August 25 through August 28, 2016.

In Georgia, National Park Service areas include the Andersonville National Historic Site; the Appalachian Trail, a national scenic trail; the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area; nearby Cumberland Island National Seashore; the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site; and Macon’s Ocmulgee National Monument, which holds its 2016 Ocmulgee Indian Celebration September 17 and 18, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Among the special centennial celebration activities are celebrations at Major League and AAA ball parks, a time capsule at Great Basin National Park, and a family fun day at Constitution Gardens in Washington, DC. See a calendar of upcoming events at all National Park Service parks and sites to plan to join special centennial celebration activities.  You can virtually explore all national parks through the National Park Service site and view high-resolution images at the NPS Centennial Media-Quality Photo Gallery.

To see some of the beautiful government publications about our National Park Service, visit Odum Library’s 2nd floor Government Documents exhibit area near the Reference Desk during the month of August. Questions about these publications, the NPS Centennial, or government information more generally? Just stop by  the Reference Desk and ask for the Government Information Librarian or call 229-245-3478.


Recent Decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court

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

The Supreme Court of the United States has closed its recent session with decisions that reflect a diverse range of the nation’s issues. On the home page for the Supreme Court, you can view a list of links to recent decisions from the Supreme Court, including

6/23/16 – Fisher v. University of Tex. at Austin –about the use of race in school admissions decisions

6/23/16 – Birchfield v. North Dakota –about warrants for blood tests for drunk driving arrests

6/27/16 – Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt –about undue burdens on health clinics that offer abortion services

6/27/16 – Voisine v. United States –about recklessness as a motive in misdemeanor domestic violence cases

Dissenting and concurring opinions are also available as part of the published decisions. If you’re interested in reading or hearing arguments before the Court, the home page also provides links to transcripts and audio of recent arguments. Earlier arguments are also available through the lists of transcripts back to 2000 and audio back to 2010.

Find out more about the justices of the Supreme Court by reading the current justices’ biographies and viewing a timeline of justices’ time on the Court, both past and present.  Learn about the process of nominating and confirming justices through the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

The Supreme Court and other federal government web sites and publications exist to help people stay informed and provide an open window onto government activities. Remember that a government information librarian is available to assist with these and other government resources at Odum Library, a Federal Depository Library. Call the Reference Desk at 229-333-7149 for more information.

Summer is for Fitness and Health

by Emily Rogers on May 26, 2016 in Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference

Summer is a great time to adopt healthier eating and exercise habits. Consider these sources from the U.S., Georgia, and Florida State Governments for leading a healthy lifestyle.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans show ways that we can improve our balance of healthy foods and drinks in our everyday lives. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion offers these tools and resources for learning about these guidelines.

On May 20, 2016. the Food and Drug Administration finalized the new Nutrition Facts Labels for packaged foods. Updates to many labels include new serving sizes, specified types of fats, and clearer links between package size and serving size.  Serving sizes are supposed to be based on amounts people actually eat, rather than amounts they should eat, and some serving sizes have increased:  ice cream is now 2/3 cup per serving (formerly 1/2 cup), and sweetened soda drinks are now sized at 12 ounces, not 8 ounces.

ChooseMyPlate.gov  is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s visual reminder for ways to balance protein, dairy, vegetables, grains, and fruit in a healthy diet.  In addition to dietary hints, this site offers tips for including physical activity in your daily life.  The USDA also offers tips for eating well on a budget, including preparing meals from scratch, cooking once for the major meals of the week, and buying fruits and vegetables in season. For more information, be sure to visit the exhibit of government resources on nutrition and fitness, located on the second floor of Odum Library, near the Reference Desk.

Another great way to be active this summer is to visit the many fine state parks, historic sites, and refuges available nearby in Georgia and Florida. Enjoy the summer!

Higher Education at a Glance

by Emily Rogers on May 2, 2016 in Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference

As you finish the semester this week here at VSU (please remember that Odum Library is open 24 hours May 3-May 6), consider these interesting facts and sources about higher education in the United States, the University System of Georgia, and on our own campus:

The National Center for Education Statistics collects information about national trends in higher education, including this data:

  • Enrollment Trends by Age  In 2013, 47 percent of U.S. 18- to 19-year-olds and 39 percent of 20- to 24-year-olds were enrolled in postsecondary education.
  • Price of Attending Undergraduate Institutions  At 4-year U.S. public institutions, the average total cost of attendance for first-time, full-time students living on campus and paying in-state tuition was $22,190 at public institutions.
  • Institution Retention and Graduate Rates for Undergraduate Students  In terms of student retention among first-time, full-time students who enrolled at 4-year degree-granting institutions in 2012, about 80 percent returned the following fall (in 2013), the most recent years for which numbers are available.

For information about the University System of Georgia graduation rates, degree and major information, retention rates, and degrees conferred, consult the USG by the Numbers site. Archived reports back to the early 1990s are also available.

Fall 2015 and previous semesters’ enrollment figures at VSU are available from VSU’s Office of Institutional Research, along with much additional data about the VSU community. For instance, in Fall 2015, the five most popular majors at VSU were nursing, biology, psychology, criminal justice, and communication disorders.

Good luck to students, staff, and faculty during finals week and, especially, to VSU’s graduating students.  Information about graduate issues such as times of ceremonies, parking, the commencement speaker, and the lists of candidates to graduate are available at the VSU Spring 2016 Commencement Information page.

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.

International Tabletop Day

by Brett Williams on March 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

What's your game plan? International Tabletop Day April 2, 2016 Third Floor Odum Library Noon until 8:00 pm tabletopday.com


Join the library staff as we celebrate International Tabletop Day on Saturday, April 2, 2016, from noon until 8:00 PM.

International Tabletop Day is a celebration of all tabletop games. Several games from the Odum Library collection will be featured throughout the event. We have classics like the game of Life as well as some more time-consuming strategy games like Arkham Horror that you can check out any day of the week. If you are a fan of board games, or you just want to come out and see what the hubbub is about, stop by the 3rd floor of Odum Library Saturday, April 2, from noon until 8:00 pm. Along with the games, the library will be providing pizza, but you will need to bring your own drinks.

If you have any questions about the event you may contact Jonathan Klotz at jrklotz@valdosta.edu. We look forward to seeing everyone April 2nd.

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.