Federal Resources for Food and Nutrition Planning

June 11, 2014

News concerning the debate over changes to the School Lunch Program has brought the topic of child nutrition and health to the forefront, in recent weeks. As government and school officials debate this important topic, Government Book Talk takes a look at the Food and Nutrition Information Center Resources CD-ROM currently available from the GPO Online Bookstore.

Resource Lists CD-ROMThe Food and Nutrition Information Center Resources CD-ROM from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC) contains a plethora of useful information related to various food and nutrition programs, such as the National School Lunch Program. It particularly offers guidance to help nutrition professionals and consumers locate information and materials on specific food and nutrition topics, such as Child Nutrition and Health, Food and Nutrition Education, School Food Service, and much more. Compiled by Nutrition Information Specialists, these Resource Lists provide resources in a variety of formats including articles, pamphlets, books, audio-visuals, and Web links.

This resource list excerpt from 2008 for educators provides resource information on cultural and ethnic food nutrition.

This resource list excerpt from 2008 for educators provides resource information on cultural and ethnic food nutrition.

The vast information contained on this CD-ROM from the National Agriculture Library collection will prove to be a great resource for parents, educators, school food service professionals and child care providers. Child Nutrition Programs including before/after school and children’s summer municipal camp programs will also benefit from these resource lists for nutritional guidance and food planning for their summer and new school year child nutrition initiatives.

The FNIC website contains over 2500 links to current and reliable nutrition information.

The FNIC website contains over 2500 links to current and reliable nutrition information.

About the FNIC

According to its website, the FNIC is a leader in food and human nutrition information. Located at the National Agricultural Library (NAL) of USDA, the FNIC provides credible, accurate, and practical resources for nutrition and health professionals, educators, government personnel and consumers. To learn more about the FNIC and its various resource lists topics visit the FNIC website.

In addition to the Food and Nutrition Information Center Resources CD-ROM, the USDA has published the following print publication focusing on nutrition and diet, which is also available from the U.S. Government Bookstore.Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 offers advice regarding nutrition to promote health and to reduce risk for major chronic diseases through diet and physical activity. The publication is oriented toward policymakers, nutrition educators, nutritionists, and healthcare providers. It summarizes and synthesizes knowledge regarding individual nutrients and food components into recommendations for a pattern of eating that can be adopted by the public. Key Recommendations listed by chapter include: Balancing Calories to Manage Weight; Foods and Food Components to Reduce; Foods and Nutrients to Increase; Building Healthy Eating Patterns; and Helping Americans Make Healthy Choices. It also explains the new food plate which replaced the food pyramid.

How can I get these federal resources on Food and Nutrition Planning?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy these and other publications (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov:

Shop our retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm, except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications or CGP.

About the author: Trudy Hawkins is a writer and marketing specialist in GPO’s Publication & Information Sales Division supporting the U.S. Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov).


Understand How the U.S. Government is Organized

January 13, 2014

The United States Government Manual 2013

United States US Government Manual 2013 ISBN: 9780160919510 Available from http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/069-000-00216-1?ctid=38The Government Manual is an essential guide to the United States Federal Government, where one can find the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and information on every U.S. Government agency. This official handbook on the Federal Government is published annually by the National Archives and Record Administration’s Office of the Federal Register.

Two years ago, Government Book Talk featured the Government Manual with the post “Browsing the Government Manual”. Here, we will take another look at this ultimate resource on the U.S. Government.

The 2013 Government Manual begins with the country’s founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and then goes on to profile each agency, quasi-official agency, international organization in which the United States participates, board, commission, and committee found in the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive branches of the U.S. Government. The profiles include:

  • Organizational charts
  • List of principal officials
  • Summary statement of the agency’s purpose and role in the Federal Government
  • Brief history of the agency, including its legislative or executive authority
  • Description of its programs and activities
  • Information on consumer activities, contracts and grants, employment, publications, and contact information.

This organizational structure is beneficial for large executive branch agencies that have several departments each with their own mission and function.  For example, 20 pages of the manual are devoted to the nearly 40 different divisions, offices, and bureaus that make up the Department of Justice, which seems complex but pales in comparison to the Department of Defense and its behemoth structure.

The Government Manual concludes with the History of Agency Organization Structures. This section of the manual is arguably the highlight of this publication, as it provides a history of the lifetime and timeline of each agency as the U.S. Government grows with the country. For example, the Bureau of Immigration was created in 1891 as a branch of the Department of Treasury and cycled through to the Department of Commerce and Labor, the Department of Labor, the Department of Justice, and finally, after losing its name but keeping its functions, landed in the newly established Department of Homeland Security in 2002.

The Government Manual is not only a great resource on the United States Federal government and its functions, but also a goldmine of new information and interesting facts that are not commonly known about the U.S. Government and the country’s history.  So, if you would like  to understand how the U.S. Government is organized, then this is the book for you!

How can I get a copy of “The United States Government Manual 2013”?

About the Author: Our guest blogger is Emma Wojtowicz, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Office of Public Affairs. Additional content provided by Stephanie Jaeger, Sales & Marketing Coordinator for GPO’s Sales & Marketing Division and is responsible for marketing GPO’s publishing services to the Federal sector.


Parent Power: The Power to Make a Difference

July 25, 2013

In honor of National Parents’ Day, celebrated the fourth Sunday of July, Government Book Talk reviews this exemplary parenting guide from the Department of Education, Parent Power: Build the Bridge to Success.

parentpower The opening of the Department of Education’s Parent Power: Build the Bridge to Success is a quote from President Obama made in July 2009:

“To parents, we can’t tell our kids to do well in school and then fail to support them when they get home. You can’t just contract out parenting. For our kids to excel, we have to accept our responsibility to help them learn.”

PoderdelosPadresThe book’s introduction sets the reader up to learn the most important tip given in Parent Power and its Spanish version, Poder De Los Padres Para Trazar el Camino Hacia el Exito, This tip is simple to state, but hard work to follow: be responsible. Your responsibility for your child’s education begins with modeling at home. If your kids see you reading, they will want to read. If you drag your kid to every Civil War battle site because you are a Civil War buff, your child may ace his or her American history exams. When you volunteer at your child’s school, your kids are going to see how important their education is to you.

Other tips covered in the book include: be committed, be positive, be patient, be attentive, be precise, be diligent, be results-oriented, be innovative. These tips are good calls to action for parents. Parents are already tired from their jobs, long commuting hours, keeping their living spaces clean and finding a way to feed the family. Just managing the basic tasks of daily survival can take up all their time. When your child throws a temper tantrum because you’ve sent her to her room to do her homework rather than watch her favorite TV show, it’s tough to practice that “be patient” tip. Good parenting demands more effort than managing basic survival.

Likewise, it takes a great deal of work to follow the other tips, such as remembering to be innovative and to provide positive feedback. It’s more constructive for parents to be precise when praising their children. Instead of telling your child she is smart for completing a drawing, you should tell the child how much you appreciate her making the effort to color the Canadian flag with the right colors in the right places. Parents will evaluate many of their children’s performances, and it will take quite a bit of creativity to say “good job!” in a different way every time. The last tip given in all bold case letters, BE THERE, is a restatement of the popular saying, the best present parents can give their kids is their presence.

The book does give specific suggestions, listed by school age group: birth through preschool, elementary, middle and high school.

Parent Power_Page12Image:Parent Power, Page 12, recommends activities for Pre-Schoolers and Kindergarteners.

The authors recommend a large number of parent-child and pro-school activities. Some examples are reading aloud to your child each day starting at birth, taking your child to the library, playing games with your child, contacting his or her teachers, visiting his or her school. Many parental advice volumes contain advice that may not be revolutionary, but may break parents out of a rut that they had not previously considered. There is also a list of electronic resources to help parents research further. Hints and tips are a parent’s best friend when guiding a child through the various developmental stages.

If you’re doing the fun but difficult work of raising a child, help yourself to Parent Power: Build the Bridge to Success and/or Poder de los Padres: Para Trazar el Camino Hacia el Éxito. Get the hints and tips you need to encourage you. Children do not simply inherit their characters from their parents like magic. Parents are the driving force in their children’s lives, both by example and character—and that’s the power of parents. 

How can I find parenting publications from the Federal Government?

Federal Depository Librarians: How can I access these publications?

About the author(s): Our guest blogger is Jennifer K. Davis from GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division that supports the Federal Depository Libraries Program (FDLP). Editor: Government Book Talk Editor-in-Chief and , GPO Promotions & Ecommerce Manager, Michele Bartram.


Glad Dad: Best Books and Sites for Fathers

June 11, 2013

Fathers-day-in-multiple-languagesMany of our personal characteristics, such as where we are born, the color of our eyes, our native language—are due to luck. If we get good parents, this is due to luck, too. When we become parents ourselves, though, we need to rely on our own hard work. Being a parent is the happiest and hardest job I’ve ever had, and I know many people say the same. Any help you can get with that job, whether it is from your own parents, friends, your child’s teachers, parents of your child’s friends, is welcome. As the African proverb goes, it takes a village to raise a child.

Image: How do you say Father? Source: Craftionary

The Federal government wants to be part of that village, and provide parents with any assistance it can give. And with Father’s Day this Sunday, the Government Printing Office wants to highlight these terrific Federal publications and websites to help Dads be all they can be. Whether he’s called Papi, Papa, Pop, Baba, Daddy, Da, Abbu or just plain Dad, celebrate the fathers– and father figures– you know by sharing these resources with them.

National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse

Fatherhood.gov Despicable Me National Responsible Fatherhood ClearinghouseThe Government supports fathers in many ways; one of them is through the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse at Fatherhood.gov. Dads can check out this site to find fatherhood programs and resources, connect with mentors, read the latest blog posting on DadTalk, and take the Fatherhood Pledge.

Eleven Federal partners are involved in the Responsible Fatherhood Working Group: the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, Veterans Affairs, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The level of Federal investment shows how seriously the President and the Federal Government takes this initiative. Another way to reap the benefits of Federal support of fathers is to read Federal government publications prepared in support of responsible fatherhood.

Promoting Responsible Fatherhood

Hero poster for FatherhoodFirst.org Promoting Responsible Fatherhood: Every Father Taking Responsibility for His Child’s Intellectual, Emotional, and Financial Well-Being discusses the various programs and initiatives that President Obama has been promoting as part of his Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative, including the Head Start-sponsored Fatherhood First program (see poster on the left).

President Obama believes in the importance of fatherhood, as he said in 2009:

“I came to understand the importance of fatherhood through its absence—both in my life and in the lives of others. I came to understand that the hole a man leaves when he abandons his responsibility to his children is one that no government can fill” (p. 2).

To keep that void from opening, the Federal Government has started the aforementioned initiative, and the president has asked for Federal budget support for the Child Support Enforcement Program and to sustain funding for the Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood grants.

President Obama playing with daughters and new dog BoThis book discusses these and similar Federal Government programs started and/or supported by the Obama Administration, and what the programs have done to help fathers and their families.

Image: President Obama playing with his daughters Sasha and Malia along with then-new (and rambunctious) dog, Bo, on the White House lawn. Source: The White House

This volume is mostly a high-level program summary of interest to policy wonks, public policy workers, social workers, local government officials and students of those disciplines. However, the general public can also glean information about what resources they can get from the Federal Government to assist their families.

At the document’s end, there’s a list of things fathers, individuals, NGOs and places of worship can do to support fatherhood in their own communities as well. The document’s authors try to show how the Federal government stretches out a hand, but it ends on a note of helping oneself, much like the next volume.

Download an electronic copy of Promoting Responsible Fatherhood: Every Father Taking Responsibility for His Child’s Intellectual, Emotional, and Financial Well-Being for FREE from GPO. 

Dad’s Play Book: Coaching Kids to Read

Dad’s Play Book: Coaching Kids to ReadDad’s Play Book: Coaching Kids to Read is geared to get dads to help their kids to read, using case studies and helpful tips. The writers use two of the most important behavior modification tools at their disposal: we all want to be like our peers (hence the case studies) and men love sports (hence the extended coaching metaphor). Twenty dads are profiled on how they are helping their kids learn to read, giving their names, photos, occupations and ages, so they’re more relatable to readers.

The middle pages cover five skills that children need to have mastered to be readers by third grade; everyone who has responsibility for a pre-K through 3rd grade child should be taking some time to study this cheat sheet. Each tip has a paragraph subtitled, How Can a Dad Help? that gives specific suggestions for a dad to improve reading—for example, with fluency. This title is short but sweet; there’s a lot more to know about helping a child learn to read, but this friendly, picture-filled piece is definitely worth the time it takes not only to read it, but to study it and employ in your life as well.

You can either


How can I find these publications: Promoting Responsible Fatherhood: Every Father Taking Responsibility for His Child’s Intellectual, Emotional, and Financial Well-Being and Dad’s Play Book: Coaching Kids to Read?

About the author(s): Our guest blogger is Jennifer K. Davis from GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division that supports the Federal Depository Libraries Program (FDLP). (Article was adapted by Government Book Talk Editor, Michele Bartram, GPO Promotions & Ecommerce Manager, from an original  post on the FDLP Community site blog by Ms. Davis.)


¡Celebre! We have Spanish-language books for National Latino Books Month

May 10, 2013

We celebrated a holiday this week that has become an increasingly important celebration in the United States in recent years. It’s El Día de la Batalla de Puebla, or Cinco de Mayo (the fifth of May) to commemorate the Mexican victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 when Zaragoza and the Mexican Army beat Maximilian’s French soldiers back to retreat. Not a Mexican national holiday, it is not widely celebrated in Mexico; in fact, it is a government holiday only in the states of Puebla and Veracruz.

Cinco-de-mayo-Papel-PicadoSince the 1860s, Mexican American communities in the United States have been celebrating Cinco de Mayo.  In recent years, the holiday has become a great day to celebrate our rich Mexican heritage in this country. Today, Cinco de Mayo has become a BIG holiday. Huge. !Una fiesta grande! It’s a great reason to hang papel picado, play conjunto norteño and eat Mexican-style food, and practice speaking Spanish.

Image: Papel picado is a tradition from the Mexican state of Puebla to make hanging decorations with intricate designs cut out of colorful tissue paper. It is now used all over Mexico and in Mexican American celebrations of all kind. Image Credit: Amols.com

In fact, on June 7, 2005, Congress asked the President to issue a proclamation “…recognizing that struggle and calling upon the people of the United States to observe Cinco de Mayo with appropriate ceremonies and activities.” At the same time, May is also National Latino Books Month, celebrating books by and for Latinos.

Spanish Language books for National Latino Books Month at the GPO US Government BookstoreSo to commemorate this fun holiday and the great contributions of Latino and particularly Mexican culture, GPO would like to highlight a few of the many great Spanish language publications from the Federal Government.

Free Electronic Spanish Language Publications

GPO distributes a large number of publications and cataloging records to Federal Depository libraries– there were 288 Spanish language titles sent to libraries in 2012. A number of the items cataloged in Spanish in the April 2013 record load were related to public health– if you need documents on the flu shot, or cancer facts for people over age 50, forgetfulness or getting a good night’s sleep, the Federal Depository library’s got them. If you are interested in more technical documents, such as Malformaciones arteriovenosas y otras lesiones vasculares del sistema nervioso central – your Federal Depository library’s got those, too. Maybe you’re studying information about relations between the United States and Mexico; you’ll find source material such as Boundary Waters Minutes of the International Boundary and Water Commission, and the Environmental Cooperation: Border Area signed by the United States and Mexico in September and November 2012.

El Estado de los Bosques en Puerto Rico - The State of the Forests in Puero RicoA really beautiful book for you to seek out is El Estado de los bosques de Puerto Rico, 2003. The cover art and the photos are wonderfully colored and detailed– look at the picture of the coqui on the page in between the cover and title pages. Another helpful detail is the appendix at the end of the book that provides the species name, the name in English and the communal name in Puerto Rico. The Forest Service wrote this document for researchers, but it’s quite possible for grade school students or laypeople to read parts of this volume and glean useful information about Puerto Rico’s forests and natural resources.

Download the electronic version of this publication at one of your local Federal Depository libraries.

Print Editions of Spanish Language Publications at the US Government Bookstore

At the GPO U.S. Government Online Bookstore, you can find a number of Spanish language publications that will help individuals and families with parenting advice, citizenship tests, and learning more about Latinos in Congress and the Federal Government.

Libro Poder de los Padres - Parent Power book by the Department of EducationPoder de los padres para trazar el camino hacia el éxito is the Spanish-language version of the best-selling Department of Education book, Parent Power: Build the Bridge to Success, which advises parents on helping their children succeed at all stages of their high school careers, from pre-school through high school. The book contains a number of tips for parents to use, and give specific examples of how to put the tips into practice, for example: “Be positive. Praise goes a long way with children, especially those who struggle in school. Provide positive feedback.”

There are also checklists of developmental goals for the various age groups, for example: Middle school– “Is there a transition program for students leaving elementary school and entering middle or junior high school?” Tips and checklists like these can keep parents on target with a child’s developmental stages. Even if the parent is familiar with all of these talking points, it helps to have them clearly laid out for reference.

Another helpful Spanish language resource available from the GPO Bookstore is the Tarjetas de educación cívica para el examen de naturalización. As any cramming student (or former cramming student) knows, handheld flashcards are a key tool in memorizing information for a test, with a question on one side and the answer on the reverse. Previously only available in English, this new Spanish version of the perennial best-selling Civics Flash Cards for the Naturalization Test is highly useful not only for legal U.S. residents studying for their citizenship exam, but also for teachers and parents who teach standard civics lessons.

Tarjetas de Educacion Civica para ele Examen de Naturalizacion USASince the people who write the flash cards also set the test questions, the questions and answers are accurate (barring the warning about current appointments of specific officials). Instead of researching the answer to “¿Cuáles son dispuestos a nivel de gabinete?”, get the flash cards and be sure of the correct answer (hint: you’d be right if you said Secretario de Estado and Secretario del Tesoro, although there’s more than two right answers). If you teach citizenship or civics classes, or if you are studying for the test yourself or helping a friend or family member to study for the test, you are going to want to buy a copy of these cards. For a quick test of your knowledge of civics topics, take our Quiz: Are you smarter than an 8th grade Civics student?

All of this varied and valuable information, and more, is available en español at the GPO U.S. Government Bookstore and Federal Depository libraries nationwide.

How can I obtain a copy of these Spanish-language publications?

About the author: Our guest blogger is Jennifer K. Davis from GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division that supports the Federal Depository Libraries Program (FDLP). (Article is adapted from an original  post in the FDLP Community site blog by Government Book Talk Editor, Michele Bartram, GPO Promotions & Ecommerce Manager.)


Over 1 Billion Served: GPO’s Pueblo Distribution Center Hits Historic Milestone Today

May 7, 2013

GPO_Pueblo_1_Billion-Shipped1 Billion.  One thousand million. Any way you count it, that’s a bundle! And at the US Government Printing Office Document Distribution Center in Pueblo, Colorado, we have reached that magic number. As of today, our Pueblo facility has shipped over 1 billion consumer publications, making it a bundle of bundles sent out to the American people!

GPO’s Western Expansion

Growing up, I always heard or read public service announcements from the Federal Government offering helpful advice on everything from how mortgages work to getting vaccinations. Each time, the commercial or ad would end with the same tag line: “To order this helpful free publication, contact us in Pueblo, Colorado” and an address and phone number (and today, a website address) would be given with ordering information.  I thought it amazing that all this great consumer information was available from one Colorado town.

Although unbeknownst to me at the time, it turns out this famous Pueblo location is actually one of two distribution facilities operated by the Government Printing Office’s Agency Distribution Services that stores and ships out Government publications on behalf of our Federal agency clients to the public –the other being in Laurel, Maryland.

In an effort led by House Appropriations Committee member Congressman Frank Evans, the GPO distribution facility was proposed and then approved on October 8, 1970, by the Joint Committee on Printing and the 15th Public Printer of the United States, Adolphus Nichol (Nick) Spence. The Pueblo Public Documents Distribution Center (PuDDC) was dedicated on October 8, 1971, and opened on October 11, 1971, to provide support for the expanding dissemination needs of Federal agencies, from books to posters to other products.

GPO_Pueblo_Congressman-Frank-Evans-Distribution-CenterLast year, President Barack Obama signed an act of the 111th Congress to rename the center the “Congressman Frank Evans US Government Printing Office Pueblo Document Distribution Center” after the former Congressman who passed away in June of 2010. It was re-dedicated on October 11, 2011, for the fortieth anniversary of the Pueblo facility.

Image: Renaming ceremony of the GPO Pueblo facility on October 11, 2011.

Today, GPO’s Pueblo Document Distribution Center provides distribution services to 10 federal agencies and other entities including: The Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Health and Human Service (HHS – Women’s Health), Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), Federal Drug Administration (FDA), Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and three programs within the Department of Homeland Security  that produce items such as Transportation Security Administration (TSA) posters, bookmarks and baggage inserts.

Ruehlen-at-Pueblo-PuDDCImage: Jimmy Ruehlen has worked for Pueblo’s Government Printing Office Distribution Center since it began operations 40 years ago. Photo credit: The Pueblo Chieftain / Mike Sweeney (Photographer)

The Pueblo Distribution Center has processed over 105 million customer orders from the day it opened its doors through the end of April 2013, and as of today, May 2, 2013, the Center has distributed over 1 billion publications on behalf of its various Federal clients.

GPO Gets a “CIC” out of Distributing Consumer Publications

The Pueblo facility really got a kick-start when it signed an inter-agency agreement with the General Services Administration (GSA) in January of 1973 to take over the warehousing and distribution of the millions of printed consumer publications being provided through GSA’s then-new Consumer Information Center (or CIC), which itself has provided service to the GSA’s Federal Citizen Information Center (or FCIC), the U.S. Postal Service and the Department of Education.

Consumer-Info-Catalog-Winter-Spring-2013_coverThe gem in the FCIC’s crown is the Consumer Information Catalog, printed by GPO, which lists the latest and most popular of the many thousands of consumer publications available by topic and is updated several times a year.

Most of the print publications–the majority printed by GPO– in the Consumer Information Catalog are FREE for U.S. delivery if ordered online; the rest require only a nominal fee. Plus, a number of the publications are offered for FREE in electronic format for immediate download on the Publications.USA.gov website.

Some of the many categories of helpful consumer pamphlets and publications include: Education; Employment; Family including Pets; Federal Programs and Benefits, Food; Health including Drugs and Exercise & Diet (even information on braces, tattoos, and tanning!); Housing including Financing and Home Maintenance; the ever-popular Money category including Fraud, Credit Cards, Living Trusts, and Retirement Planning; even Small Business and Travel, and more.

Consumer-Info-Catalog-Winter-Spring-2013_Page_11

Image: Page from the Consumer Information Catalog Winter/ Spring 2013 Edition.

How can I get a copy of the Consumer Information Catalog and order publications?

Find the latest Consumer Information Catalog in PDF format online, or you can also order FREE print copies to be mailed to you at the same Publications.USA.gov website.

Consumer-Action-Handbook-2013The most popular document distributed by Pueblo remains the annual Consumer Action Handbook, a free trouble-shooting guide to help Americans solve all sorts of consumer problems. I’ve ordered five to share with family and friends!

In addition to ordering from GSA’s Publications.USA.gov website, you can find a number of these consumer publications on GPO’s US Government Online Bookstore.

Below are some of the more popular publications in the Consumer Information Catalog that are also available on GPO’s online bookstore:

You can also browse our Consumer, Home & Family category on our online bookstore.

With so many useful consumer publications available from the Federal Government, I’m sure it won’t be long until we distribute another billion items to help American consumers!

About the Author:

Government Book Talk Editor Michele Bartram is Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, and is responsible for online and offline marketing of the US Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public.


Quiz: Are you smarter than an 8th grade Civics student?

September 20, 2012

Flash cards. They may bring back memories of studying for a big exam like the SAT or GRE, or they may remind you of elementary school when they were used as a great way to learn your numbers and letters.

But did you know that the US Government Printing Office produces flash cards for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Office of Citizenship under the Department of Homeland Security?

This week marked an important milestone for all U.S. citizens as the 225th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States of America.

September 17 is now commemorated annually as Constitution & Citizenship Day, a time to reflect on the rights, honors and privileges of being a U.S. citizen, so I thought it was a perfect time to introduce our readers to the Civics Flash Cards.

Civics Flash Cards are one of the most popular products sold in the US Government Bookstore as a tried and true way for immigrants and to learn about U.S. history and government while preparing for the United States naturalization test.  These easy-to-use flash cards (available in English and now also in Spanish) contain each of the 100 civics questions and answers contained on the United States naturalization test, and are updated when there is a change of leadership in the White House or Congress.

The Civics Flash Cards also feature interesting historical photos and relevant captions, thus providing additional civic learning opportunities, making them ideal not only for use as an instructional tool for U.S. citizenship preparation, but also in standard American social studies classes or home schooling. For example, one card contains a picture of Jeannette Rankin, the first woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, while another shows Hiram Revels of Mississippi, the first African American U.S. Senator, elected in 1870.

A description of the Spanish version of the Civics Flash Cards:

Recién actualizadas para 2012, las Tarjetas Flash de Educación Cívica en Español ayudarán a a los inmigrantes a aprender sobre la historia de los EE.UU. y del gobierno mientras se preparan para el exámen de naturalización. Estas tarjetas de memoria fáciciles de utilizar contienen cada una de las 100 preguntas y respuestas cívicas (sobre la historia y el gobierno) del exámen de naturalización estadounidense, y conllevan fotos históricas y leyendas pertinentes a que proporcionen el aprendizaje cívico adicional.

Failing grade in civics for American kids… and maybe their parents?

In 2010, The Department of Education administered the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP test, known as the nation’s report card, to 27,000 4th-, 8th- and 12th-grade students throughout the United States.

The New York Times reported that the civics examination results were dismal, as “fewer than half of American eighth graders knew the purpose of the Bill of Rights… and only one in 10 demonstrated acceptable knowledge of the checks and balances among the legislative, executive and judicial branches.

Of the high school students who took the NAEP, 75% “were unable to demonstrate skills like identifying the effect of United States foreign policy on other nations or naming a power granted to Congress by the Constitution.”

Reading through the flash cards, it makes me wonder how many native U.S. citizens— parents and children— could correctly pass the test given to immigrants aspiring to become citizens?

See how you compare to these 8th and 12th graders on these questions constructed from information on the Civics Flash Cards

(Hint: I provide the correct answers at the end of this post ;-) since they are trickier than one would think!)


Another question


And finally, some geography:

HOW CAN YOU OBTAIN a copy of the Civics Flash Cards for the Naturalization Test, either the English Version or the Spanish Version?

You may also be interested in our other Constitution and Citizenship products, such as the pocket edition of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Click here to shop our entire Citizenship Collection.

Correct Answers to the Flash Card Poll Questions:

1)      Which of these does NOT represent one of the powers of the Federal Government under our Constitution? To provide protection & safety such as police and fire services is a function of state and local governments.

2)      Which of these are responsibilities that are only for United States Citizens?  Only citizens may vote in a Federal election, serve on a jury, or run for Federal office such as U.S. Senate or House of Representatives and for most state and local offices. Unfortunately, everyone has to pay Federal taxes, citizen or not!

3)      Which of these states does NOT border Canada? Of all of these, only Wisconsin does not share a border with Canada. All the international border states with our northern neighbor are (east to west): Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania (border on Lake Erie), Ohio (also border on Lake Erie), Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Alaska.

About the Author:  Michele Bartram is Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division and is responsible for online and offline marketing of the US Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public.


School safety by the numbers

March 9, 2012

Guest blogger GPO Public Relations Specialist Emma Wojtowicz discusses a publication about safety in schools.

School safety is a concern. The recent school shooting at the public high school in Chardon, Ohio, reminds us that any school is susceptible to violence and tragedy. Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2010, a publication by the Department of Education and Department of Justice, thoroughly examines the various indicators that threaten the safety of our nation’s schools.

The information and data in this report was collected through surveys conducted from 2007-2009. While this report is regularly published to help policymakers and schools develop ways to keeps schools safe and prevent crime and violence, it makes for an interesting read given recent events.

The report identifies 21 indicators that threaten the safety of schools. The indicators encompass a variety of problems like victimization, bullying, injury, fights, use of drugs and alcohol and weapons possession. Charts and graphs illustrate the data collected about each of the problems with breakdowns by age, ethnicity, gender, public versus private school, and urban versus rural school location.

Is your child afraid at school? For example, this chart shows the number of students from 12-18 who feel threatened at school or away from school. Here, Black students feel the most afraid at school, with Hispanics second, but Hispanic students feel more threatened outside of school than any other group. (CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.)

There are also comparisons for some indicators between being at school and outside of school.

Who’s carrying? For example, the above graph from the book shows the percentage of high school students who carried a weapon on and off school property at least once in the last 30 days. The highest weapon-carrying groups were American Indians, Pacific Islanders and White students, with Asian and Black students as the lowest groups. (CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.)

The content is organized well with a brief explanation about each indicators followed by the data depicted through charts and graphs making for easy navigation if there is a specific topic you are interested in.

Some interesting findings during the 2007-2008 school year:

  • Victims of bullying are about same for males and females: 30% of male students and 33% of female students reported being bullied
  • 5% of students reported being afraid of attack or harm at school
  • 1% of public schools have daily metal detector checks and 5% of public school have random metal detector checks
  • 6% of students reported carrying a weapon to school and 17% of students reported carrying a weapon anywhere in a 30-day period
  • 21 school-associated homicides occurred
  • 43% of public schools reported they have an electronic notification system for a school-wide emergency in place

It is difficult to analyze these statistics and determine whether or not schools are safe. From scanning the various line graphs, it is easy to notice there has been a decline over the years from the mid-1990s to 2009 regarding most of the indicators. Hopefully, this data is used to improve and strengthen the safety of schools. As our country was reminded on February 27 in Chardon, Ohio, any school is at risk and we must be steadfast in the effort to reduce the risks that leads to tragedy.

What measures are in place to keep your child safe at school? This chart from the book shows what school security measures have been put in place overall since 1999, the year of the Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. While all measures increased since 1999, many have dropped from a former high rate in 2003-5, such as use of security guards, metal detectors, locker checks or visible student ID badges. The only measures that have consistently grown over the years are: use of security cameras, instituting a code of student conduct, locked entrance and exit doors during the day, and a requirement that visitors to the school sign in. (CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.)

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS “Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2010” BOOK?

  • Buy it online 24/7 at GPO’s Online Bookstore.
  • Buy it at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm, except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.
  • Find it in a library.

Steps Toward a Higher Education

February 4, 2011

Based on personal experience, guest blogger Ingrid Reyes-Arias has some good advice for college-bound students.

It’s unbelievable the amount of influence money has on an individual’s pursuit of success.  Before college I had many stressful days of thinking how I would pay for my education, and there were very tough moments when the problem was not the admissions step but the finance step.  I remember when I began applying to colleges, I had a wonderful counselor that gave me all the resources I needed and, most important, helped me organize my finances.  For those that do not have the privilege of a counselor available every moment of every day. this great checklist can help.

The College Preparation Checklist (revised 2009) is a free publication provided by ED Pubs (U.S. Department of Education Publications) that prepares students for the journey of pursuing higher education.  This checklist has been created to reach students of all ages who are contemplating further education, as well as parents of children in elementary and secondary school.  This “to do” list begins by addressing elementary age students regarding how to prepare academically for higher education and how to support this opportunity financially.  The checklist has been divided into portions for students and parents, each tailored to meet their respective needs.  In addition, it suggests different resources for more information.  The checklist is broken down into “to do lists” for elementary and junior high, as well as the different high school grades.

As you may know, the Federal government contributes to higher education through Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  This program within the U.S. Department of Education assists eligible students in getting funds to pay off the cost of attending school.  Every year a student should fill out the FAFSA application to seek financial aid, such as work-study, student loans, scholarships, or grants.  The aid goes towards expenses such as tuition, room and board, books, and supplies. The application can be found at www.fafsa.ed.gov

Most important decisions require time to think about, which may lead to you starting the process later than others.  Even if you get a late start, the checklist includes a “must do” list.  The first thing listed is completing the FAFSA application, followed by contacting the school you plan to attend to find out about other payment plans or scholarships.  It is always good to keep in mind that this is a process, so at times you must rely on subject matter experts, like teachers and guidance counselors, for help.

If you are at the beginning stages of planning, this publication includes a FAFSA4caster, which estimates your expected family contribution.  It will then estimate the award amount and give you an idea of the loans or grants for which you may qualify.  This estimator can be found at www.fafsa4caster.edu.gov.  Additionally, the checklist encourages you to research and apply for scholarships.  It provides many resources on scholarships, including a Department of Education database: www.FederalStudentAid.ed.gov./scholarship.

Keep in mind that knowing which steps to take will make the process go smoothly and eliminate unnecessary stress.  The college application is already stressful enough, so don’t add more! The College Preparation Checklist offers a lot more help, so take a good long look.  You can find it at the Ed Pubs website http://www.edpubs.gov/ and order a copy or two at no cost.


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