Commemorating Freedom of Information Day 2016

March 16, 2016
(Image source: www.uakron.edu)

(Image source: www.uakron.edu)

Every year on the birthday of James Madison, the United States celebrates Freedom of Information Day.

Sharing this day with James Madison is no coincidence, as he is remembered historically as the foremost advocate for openness in Government.

The spirit of the day is tightly tied to the U.S. Government Publishing Office’s (GPO) Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP).  As members of the FDLP, depository libraries play a prominent role in providing Federal Government information to the public. FDLP libraries collaborate on a local and national level to provide informed access to both historical and current Federal Government resources. At the core of the FDLP is a desire to provide public access to Government information and to ensure the public’s right to know about its Government. GPO also provides digital access to authentic, published information on the three branches of the Federal Government on govinfo.

Related Resources in the U.S. Government Bookstore-

052-071-01545-1Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence (Pocket Edition)-  What better way to celebrate the Freedom of Information day than by reading the Constitution.  Even better, this version is a pocket version, so, you can take it with you wherever you go.

Overview of the Privacy Act of 1974, 2015 Edition9780160914461[1] – Issued biennially and prepared by the Department of Justice’s Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties (OPCL), the “Overview of the Privacy Act of 1974” is an up-to-date discussion of the Act’s disclosure prohibition, access and amendment provisions, and agency recordkeeping requirements. The overview provides reference to, and legal analysis of, the latest court decisions interpreting the Act.

008-020-01606-3 (2)Who Watches the Watchmen?: The Conflict between National Security and Freedom of the Press –  This publication attempts to answer two significant, timely questions:

  • What is the extent of the threat to national security posed by the media’s disclosure of classified information?
  • What are a journalist’s motivations and justifications for publishing this information?

The author concludes that the dilemma between withholding information in the interest of national security and the constitutional guarantee of a free press cannot be “solved”, but can be better understood and more intelligently managed. Foreign Denial & Deception Series.

Related Resources Available from the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications-

We the people : fulfilling the promise of open government five years after the OPEN Government Act : hearing before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, One Hundred Thirteenth Congress, first session, March 13, 2013

Related Resources Available from Govinfo.gov-

5 U.S.C. § 552– Starting on page 27, read the U.S.C. section on Public information; agency rules, opinions, orders, records, and proceedings.

Public Law 110-175- Openness Promotes Effectiveness in Our National Government Act of 2007-  Also knowns as the OPEN Government Act of 2007, this was signed into law on December 31, 2007.  This act amended the Freedom of Information Act.

90 Stat. 1241– Read about the Government in Sunshine Act (Public Law 94-409) that was passed on September 13, 1976.  This act is also part of the Freedom of Information Acts.

Rept. 112-689A Citizen’s Guide on Using the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act of 1974 to Request Government Records is a report by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.  This document includes sections on what records can be requested under FOIA, requirements for agency responses, and reasons for denial of a FOIA request.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

You can click on the links above in the blog or through any of these methods:

 Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 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 GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Jaime Huaman, Outreach Librarian in GPO’s Library Services and Content Management (LSCM).


Best Selling Federal Government Books of 2015

January 12, 2016

The start of a new year is finally upon us! And although it’s an exciting time as we jump start our “New Year” resolutions, it’s also a great time to reflect on accomplishments made during the past year. For the U.S. Government Bookstore, this means highlighting our best-selling Federal publications of 2015.

The following publications, some of which have been featured in this blog, were chosen through purchases made by our readers over the past year. Government Book Talk is pleased to announce the U.S. Government Bookstore Best Sellers of 2015!

006-000-01580-8OPM Federal Career Service Award Certificates. Gold Retirement Federal Career Service Award Certificates, sized 8.5×11 inches to fit certificate frames. Printed on high quality, off-white heavy paper stock, each certificate is embossed with a metallic version of the Great Seal of the United States, used for official Government documents. As authorized by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

052-071-01545-1Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence (Pocket Edition). A pocket-size booklet containing the complete text of these two core documents of American democracy, the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence.

Forts of Old San Juan: San Juan National Historic Site, Puerto Rico tells the story of the evolution of the defenses of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the role they played in helping to safeguard Spanish possessions in the Caribbean from the 16th to the 19th centuries.024-005-01159-5

Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents, and Survivors, 2014. Veterans of the United States armed forces may be eligible for a broad range of benefits and services provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Some of these benefits may be utilized while on active duty. These benefits are codified in Title 38 of the United States Code. This booklet contains a summary of these benefits effective Jan. 1, 2014. For additional information, visit www.va.gov/.051-000-00247-4

055-000-00679-2The Lead-Safe Certified Guide to Renovate Right, September 2011 Revision. This pamphlet is for you if you reside in a home built before 1978, or if you own or operate a child care facility, including preschools and kindergarten classrooms built before 1978, or if you have a child under six years old who attends child care facility built before 1978.

017-001-00566-5International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis as Approved by the World Health Organization. Known popularly as the Carte Jaune or Yellow Card, this is the international certificate of vaccination (ICV) as approved by the World Health Organization. The Yellow Card is recognized internationally and may be required for entry to certain countries where there are increased health risks for travelers.

063-000-00095-7Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute: Chapter 71 of Title 5 of the U.S. Code, as Amended, and 5 U.S.C. 5596, The Back Pay Act, as Amended (2012). Known as the FLRA Pocket Statute. It is the purpose of this chapter to prescribe certain rights and obligations of the employees of the Federal Government and to establish procedures which are designed to meet the special requirements and needs of the Government. The provisions of this chapter should be interpreted in a manner consistent with the requirement of an effective and efficient Government.

027-002-00604-6Learn About the United States: Quick Civics Lessons for the Naturalization Test (Book and Audio CD) Revised edition. Contains short lessons based on each of the 100 civics questions. Ideal for both U.S. history/ civics students as well as legal residents preparing for the United States Naturalization citizenship test, this set contains information that will help you learn more about important concepts in American history and government.

050-012-00516-8U.S. Coast Guard Incident Management Handbook 2014. The Coast Guard Incident Management Handbook (IMH) is designed to assist Coast Guard personnel in the use of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS) during response operations and planned events.   The Incident Management Handbook is an easy reference job aid for responders. It is not a policy document, but rather guidance for response personnel.

017-060-00663-3Health Insurance Claims Forms (CMS-1500) Single Sheets (Revised 2012). The CMS-1500 form is the standard claim form developed by the National Uniform Claim Committee (NUCC) and used by all non-institutional medical provider or supplier to bill Medicare carriers and durable medical equipment regional carriers (DMERCs) when a provider qualifies for a waiver from the Administrative Simplification Compliance Act (ASCA) requirement for electronic submission of claims. It is also used for billing of some Medicaid State Agencies (contact your Medicaid State Agency for more details).

And there you have it, our top 10 best-sellers of 2015. Here’s looking forward to another exciting year in Federal government publications. Happy 2016!

These publications and more can be found on the U.S. Government Online Bookstore http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

How can I get these “Best-selling Books of 2015”?

Shop Online: You can purchase these publications from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov by clicking on the individual links above in this blog post. You may also click here to shop our entire “Best Sellers of 2015” collection.

  • 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.
  • Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.
  • Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for one of these publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Trudy Hawkins is Senior Marketing and Promotions Specialist in GPO’s Publication & Information Sales Division supporting the U.S. Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov).

 


Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government: Free, Educational Content from GPO for Children and Adults of all Ages

November 23, 2015

PrintIn 1999, the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) launched its educational website, Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government for Kids. This year, GPO redesigned and revitalized the site with all new content and features, and it is now available to the public as “Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government.”

The new site presents educational content on the workings of the U.S. Government and U.S. history, with a focus on civics. It features all new site content, a device-friendly infrastructure, and a modernized look and feel that has been optimized for an intuitive learning experience.

Ben’s Guide has three levels of Learning Adventures: Apprentice (ages 4-8), Journeyperson (ages 9-13), and Master (ages 14 and up). These represent the age ranges for the content but are also a historical reference to the longstanding apprentice program that is still in place at GPO today. The inspiration for the Ben character comes from Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), who was an apprentice and printer in the early days of our country. Although best known for being one of our Founding Fathers, he drafted and distributed historical documents during the early years of our Nation. He’s an important figure at GPO, too, and his legacy of publishing information truly lives on in what we do today.

A new, interactive game, Branch-O-Mania, is available, which is not only fun, but educational, and tests knowledge of the three branches of the U.S. Government. Educators, parents, and students can also access free, printable activities that include Word Searches and Crossword Puzzles for various age ranges. Check out the game and printables here. Also included is a site glossary that includes over 80 terms and definitions related to the U.S. Government, as used on the website.

In 2013, GPO signed an official partnership with the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). Under the terms of the partnership, AASL volunteer school librarians agreed to review the educational content on Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government for age-appropriateness. In addition, they utilized their expertise in curriculum development and educational initiatives to develop lesson plans to complement Ben’s Guide content.

Through ongoing communication and coordination with GPO, volunteers provided feedback on the educational content, called Learning Adventures, for the Apprentice, Journeyperson, and Master levels. They applied their knowledge of the presentation of information and instructional design to the specific age levels to improve and enhance comprehension of the material.

Select volunteers went the extra ‘knowledge’ mile and created lesson plans related to the content of Ben’s Guide. Educators can not only use the new Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government in an educational setting, but can also consult ready-made lesson plans to integrate into their course curriculum. These lesson plans follow a structured rubric that sets forth the elements, standards, scenario, overview, assessment, and instructional plan. Lesson plans submitted by volunteers were reviewed and vetted by AASL before being officially accepted and published.

The lesson plans are archived and available on Ben’s Guide and at the Standards for the 21st-Century Learner Lesson Plan Database site. The AASL lesson plans are arranged into three groups: grades K-5, grades 6-8, and grades 9-12. All of the lesson plans are freely-available to the public and can be accessed and incorporated into the classroom setting.

Be sure to check out the new Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government on your computer, tablet, or device of choice. Let us know what you think. We will continue to enhance the site by adding new content and design enhancements based on user feedback.

You can find other resources related to items featured in Ben’s Guide by clicking here or through any of these methods:

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

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 GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the authorKelly Seifert is the Strategic Communications Coordinator for GPO’s Library Services & Content Management division.

 

 

 

 


Federal Government Best Selling Publications for 2014

January 30, 2015

The U.S. Government Bookstore is pleased to announce our best-selling publications for 2014. The following Federal publications, some of which have been featured in Government Book Talk, were chosen by our readers through purchases over the past year. Without further ado, here are the best-selling Federal titles for 2014:

Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence (Pocket Edition) constitution-of-the-US-and-the-Declaration-of-Independanceis a pocket-size booklet containing the complete text of these two core documents of American democracy, the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence.

civics-flash-cards-for-the-naturalization-testCivics Flash Cards for the Naturalization Test (English Version). Updated for 2012, the Civics Flash Cards will help immigrants learn about U.S. history and government while preparing for the United States naturalization test. These easy-to-use flash cards contain each of the 100 civics (history and government) questions and answers on the naturalization test in 4.25 x 7 flash cards. Featuring historical photos and relevant captions to provide additional civic learning, the Civics Flash Cards can also be used in the classroom as an instructional tool for citizenship preparation.

Learn About the United States Quick Civics Lessons for the Naturalization TestLearn About the United States: Quick Civics Lessons for the Naturalization Test (Book and Audio CD) contains short lessons based on each of the 100 civics questions. Ideal for both U.S. history/civics students as well as legal residents preparing for the United States Naturalization citizenship test, this set contains information that will help you learn more about important concepts in American history and government

(Read our posts: “Quiz and History for Bill of Rights Day December 15”, “Quiz: Are you smarter than an 8th grade Civics student?”, and “Notable Documents 2009: Civics Flash Cards” for more information on the above Citizenship and Civics products.)

The Lead-Safe Certified Guide to Renovate RightThe Lead-Safe Certified Guide to Renovate Right, September 2011 Revision. This pamphlet is for you if you reside in a home built before 1978, or if you own or operate a child care facility, including preschools and kindergarten classrooms built before 1978, or if you have a child under six years old who attends child care facility built before 1978.

Health Insurance Claims Forms (CMS-1500) Single SheetsHealth Insurance Claims Forms (CMS-1500) Single Sheets (Revised 2012) consists of 100 original, blank single sheets of the February 2012 Revision of the official CMS-1500 Medicare and Medicaid health insurance claim form required by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

What is the CMS-1500 Form?

The CMS-1500 form is the standard claim form developed by the National Uniform Claim Committee (NUCC) and used by all non-institutional medical provider or supplier to bill Medicare carriers and durable medical equipment regional carriers (DMERCs) when a provider qualifies for a waiver from the Administrative Simplification Compliance Act (ASCA) requirement for electronic submission of claims. It is also used for billing of some Medicaid State Agencies (contact your Medicaid State Agency for more details).

National Interoperability Field Operations Guide, Version 1.5  

The National Interoperability Field Operations Guide (NIFOG) is published as a reference guide for public safety radio technicians and communications planners. The waterproof, pocket-sized guide (also available in PDF format) contains radio regulations, tables of radio channels, and technical reference information. This guide is ideal for those establishing or repairing emergency communications in a disaster area.

Emergency Response Guidebook 2012Emergency Response Guidebook 2012. The official Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) is a guide for use by transporters, firefighters, police, and other emergency services personnel who may be the first to arrive at the scene of a transportation incident involving a hazardous material, such as an oil or chemical spill. (Read our post: “Go-to Guide on Hazardous Materials for First Responders” for more information.)

U.S. Coast Guard Incident Management HandbookU.S. Coast Guard Incident Management Handbook is designed to assist Coast Guard personnel in the use of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS) during response operations and planned events.   The Incident Management Handbook is an easy reference job aid for responders. It is not a policy document, but rather guidance for response personnel.

This new 2014 version of the Incident Management Handbook includes revisions informed by references (b) through (m), after action reports and lessons learned published after 2005, an internal field level review, and an external review by federal, state, local, and private sector maritime partners.

Government Auditing Standards 2011 Revision (Yellow Book)Government Auditing Standards: 2011 Revision (Yellow Book) contains the auditing standards promulgated by the Comptroller General of the United States. Known as the Yellow Book, it includes the professional standards and guidance, commonly referred to as generally accepted government auditing standards (GAGAS), which provide a framework for conducting high quality government audits and attestation engagements with competence, integrity, objectivity, and independence. These standards are for use by auditors of government entities and entities that receive government awards and audit organizations performing GAGAS audits and attestation engagements. (Read our post: “Going “GAGAS” for the GAO Yellow Book” for more information.)

What You Should Know About Home Equity Lines of CreditWhat You Should Know About Home Equity Lines of Credit.“What You Should Know about Home Equity Lines of Credit” (also known as HELOCs) is an invaluable booklet from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau describes the terminology, costs, implications and process for acquiring and repaying a home equity line of credit. It is a must-have for all homeowners considering getting a line of credit vs. a second mortgage on their home and includes checklists, glossary of terms and useful contacts.  Also useful for real estate professionals, banking and financial services professionals, and others who need to explain loans.

How can I get these “Best-selling Books of 2014”?

Shop Online: You can purchase these publications from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov by clicking on the individual links above in this blog post. You may also click here to shop our entire “Best Sellers of 2014” collection.

  • 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.
  • Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.
  • Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for one of these publications in a nearby Federal depository library.

About the author: Trudy Hawkins is Senior Marketing and Promotions Specialist in GPO’s Publication & Information Sales Division supporting the U.S. Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov).

 


Happy Birthday, Medicare!

July 24, 2014

July 30th marks the 49th anniversary of the establishment of the Social Security Act Amendments. In 1965, on this date, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law what is better known as the Medicare law. This established both Medicare, the health insurance program for Americans over 65, and Medicaid, the health insurance program for low income Americans. You can read this Public Law in the United States Statutes at Large on GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys).

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Medicare Bill. President Harry S. Truman is seated next to him. Others looking on include Lady Bird Johnson, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, and Bess Truman. July 30, 1965. Photo courtesy of Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, U.S. National Archives

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Medicare Bill. President Harry S. Truman is seated next to him. Others looking on include Lady Bird Johnson, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, and Bess Truman. July 30, 1965. Photo courtesy of Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, U.S. National Archives

Former President Harry S. Truman participated in the signing ceremony with President Johnson at the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri. President Truman’s participation served to recognize his effort during his administration to establish a national health insurance program. President Truman and former first lady, Bess Truman, received Medicare registration cards numbers one and two.

on the occasion of the signing of the Social Security Amendments of 1965 in Independence, Missouri. Photo courtesy of Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, U.S. National Archives

This is the Medicare card believed to have been given to Harry Truman by President Lyndon on the occasion of the signing of the Social Security Amendments of 1965 in Independence, Missouri. Photo courtesy of Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, U.S. National Archives

The 1950 Census showed that the aged population in the U.S. had grown from 3 million in 1900 to 12 million in 1950. The jump was even greater between 1950 and 1963, growing from 12 million to 17.5 million, a large number of whom had no health insurance. It’s no surprise that in the program’s first three years, nearly 20 million beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare.

Fast forward to today, and Medicare provides health insurance to about 50 million Americans. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), administers the program.

Finding Medicare information and services has never been easier than with www.medicare.gov.

Using the site, users can access a wide array of services. Some examples include:

  • Signing up for Medicare;
  • Modifying Medicare plans;
  • Finding health and drug plans;
  • Learning about different levels of coverage and how to sign up for each, various costs, and supplements and other insurance;
  • Determining if specific tests or services are covered;
  • Filing a complaint, claim, or appeal;
  • Checking the status of any application, claim, or pending action;
  • Finding doctors, providers, hospitals, and suppliers;
  • Accessing forms, resources, and personal assistance;
  • Changing one’s address; and
  • Reporting lost or stolen Medicare cards.

In addition to that, the site offers access to podcasts, videos, and blogs that are not only interesting, but very informative. You can also connect with Medicare via Twitter and YouTube.

The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) also provides access to a wide variety of Medicare resources. The U.S. Government Bookstore sells the CMS-1500, the standard health insurance claim form developed by the National Uniform Claim Committee and used by all non-institutional medical providers or suppliers to bill Medicare carriers. It is also used to bill some Medicaid State Agencies.

GPO also provides access to an array of Medicare resources through its Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP), including a collection of free eBooks. Through the CGP, users can access the descriptive catalog record for each publication, as well as a direct link to any publication that available online. Some of the free eBooks available on Medicare topics are:

The CGP and FDsys provide access to a wide variety of other Government documents related to Medicare. Here is just a small sampling:

You can also access countless Federal Government documents related to Medicare at Federal depository libraries nationwide. Find the Federal depository nearest you by visiting the Federal Depository Library Directory.

Happy Birthday, Medicare, and here’s to many more years of helping the American public!

How can I find these Medicare publications?

In addition to clicking on the links in the article above to find the publications, you may find these publications from the following:

And to find popular current Federal publications, you may:

  • Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks as well as print publications (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov
  • Order by Phone: You may also Order print editions by calling GPO’s  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.
  • Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Kelly Seifert, Lead Planning Specialist for GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division that supports the Federal Depository Library Program.

 


Civil War Defenses of Washington & the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Fort Stevens

July 10, 2014

Gettysburg, Manassas, and Antietam are famous Civil War battles remembered for President Lincoln’s address, the turning point of the war, and the bloodiest battle of the war. They are also battles that took place in states surrounding Washington, DC – within 100 miles of the nation’s capital. This week marks the 150th anniversary of the only and relatively unknown battle that took place in Washington, DC, the Battle of Fort Stevens.

024-005-01232-0[1]A Historic Resources Study: The Civil War Defenses of Washington by the Department of Interior’s National Park Service follows the history of efforts to defend Washington, DC from the city’s conception in the 1790s to the Civil War and the Battle of Fort Stevens. This publication is very descriptive painting a clear picture of what Washington, DC was like during the Civil War. The Union constructed a fortification system to protect Washington, DC that by the end of the war consisted of 68 enclosed forts and batteries, emplacements for 1,120 guns, and 20 miles of rifle-trenches. Because the city was the capital and the location of war departments and bureaus it had the largest collection of supplies, equipment, and materials. In the Foggy Bottom area where the Kennedy Center, George Washington University, and the Department of State currently sit, there was a depot of 30,000 horses and mules and the Washington Monument grounds housed an Army cattle-slaughtering yard.

Battle-of-Fort-Stevens[1]

Company F, 3d Regiment Massachusetts Heavy Artillery assembled at Fort Stevens. Photo by William Morris Smith, courtesy Library of Congress.

The Battle of Fort Stevens is the grand finale of the publication. After establishing the condition and role of the Washington, DC during the war, the book goes into step-by-step detail of the battle. Here is my perceived synopsis of the Battle of Fort Stevens: General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate army gave orders to Lieutenant General Jubal Early to threaten Washington, DC, which had remained largely untouched during the war. Early led his troops through Virginia and Maryland, taking part in different skirmishes along the way. On July 9 at the Battle of Monocacy near present-day Frederick, Maryland, Early defeated the Union army, thereby opening up the route to Washington, DC. The Battle of Monocacy temporarily stalled Early, giving General Ulysses Grant more time to send reinforcement troops to defend the capital – ultimately derailing Early’s efforts. The Battle of Fort Stevens started on July 11 and ended with Early withdrawing his troops by July 13. The Confederate troops moved towards the Capitol along Georgetown Pike and Rockville Pike culminating in the Battle of Fort Stevens, which took place with the Capitol dome in sight – six miles away – on what was mostly open farm area around present-day Georgia Avenue near Rock Creek Park. The reinforcements sent by Grant and reports suggesting more Union troops were coming caused Early to retreat and end his pursuit of the city.

battle-of-fort-stevens-925[1]

Battle of Fort Stevens Map courtesy Civil War Preservation Trust

GPO’s early history is intertwined with the Civil War. One of GPO’s most significant print jobs was the preliminary version of the Emancipation Proclamation produced in September 1862. Aside from production work done by the agency as part of the war effort, some GPO employees were part of the Interior Department Regiment organized to protect the city. With the threat of General Early closing in on Washington, employees were called on to defend the city but not needed when the reinforcement troops sent by General Grant arrived.

During the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, think beyond the famous battles of the war and remember the skirmishes and other important battles like the Battle of Fort Stevens that may be unknown but are just as important.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS PUBLICATION?

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 Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

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 these in a nearby Federal depository library.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Emma Wojtowicz, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Office of Public Affairs.


Childhood Immunization: Protecting Our Children from Disease

April 29, 2014

National-Infant-Immunization-Week-2014The week of April 26-May 3 is National Infant Immunization Week and it is also the 20th anniversary of this observance. Vaccinations are becoming a more controversial topic among parents, doctors and schools. The New England Journal of Medicine suggests that the recent anti-vaccination movement is leading to an outbreak of whooping cough and the measles in some states.

A couple looks at Infant Care pamphlet at GPO Bookstore: GPO Archives.

A couple looks at Infant Care pamphlet at GPO Bookstore: GPO Archives.

Before you could Google information on vaccinations and family healthcare topics and have every answer at your fingertips, government publications were the go-to source for consumer information. This former trend is evident in the fact that a pamphlet entitled Infant Care is still to this day considered GPO’s all-time best seller. Infant Care was first published in 1914 by the Children’s Bureau and provided mothers with information in a low-cost form on how to care for their babies. (Read more about the history of the Children’s Bureau in The Children’s Bureau Legacy: Ensuring the Right to Childhood (ePub eBook) available on the U.S. Government Bookstore.) Over the course of seven decades it remained a bestseller with multiple editions published and translations in eight languages as well as Braille.

Excerpt on Vaccination from Infant Care pamphlet

100 years ago, this was the advice on vaccination of infants. Excerpt from 1914 Infant Care pamphlet.

The original Infant Care pamphlets can be seen on this archive. However, Vaccines for Children (VCF), a federally funded program handled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides no-cost vaccine services to help ensure that all children, from infancy to adolescent, have a better chance of getting their recommended vaccinations.

Image source courtesy of CDC http://www.cdc.gov/features/vfcprogram

Image source courtesy of CDC http://www.cdc.gov/features/vfcprogram

Like Infant Care, the government still has helpful publications to help parents and the public make health-related decisions. Parent’s Guide to Childhood Immunizations and Immunization Tool Kit are just two of the many government publications available on the immunization and vaccination topic.

017-022-01617-6Parent’s Guide to Childhood Immunizations is kind of like a “vaccinations for dummies.” It is a great resource that explains each disease, the vaccinations schedule, what to do before, during and after the immunization doctor visit, how vaccines work, other FAQs and additional print and electronic resources. The most helpful part of this booklet is the breakdown of each disease with information on what causes the disease, how it is spread, the signs and symptoms and complications. To brighten up what can be a scary subject, the booklet includes colorful child artwork.

immunization-tool-kitImmunization Tool Kit focuses on adult, military and childhood immunizations. This resource is made up of laminated 4X6 color coded cards held together by a ring for fast flipping making it durable and likely intended for military or health care providers, people who need a quick reference on the job. The cards are organized by immunizations for adults and the military and children with detailed information about each vaccine including a dosage, indications or who should get the vaccine, contraindications or reasons why someone should not be vaccinated and special considerations. Some of the cards have amusing caricatures of what the diseases look like. For medical personnel, there is a section on the storage and handling instructions of each vaccine. While the amount of information may seem overwhelming, the toolkit will be able to answer all or any question about vaccines.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE PUBLICATIONS ON VACCINATION?

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

Order by Phone: You may also Order print editions by calling 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.

Shop our Retail Store:Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

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: Our guest blogger is Emma Wojtowicz, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Office of Public Affairs. 

Additional content, images and editing provided by Trudy Hawkins, a writer and marketing specialist in GPO’s Publication & Information Sales Division supporting the U.S. Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov).


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