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Report on CIA Detention & Interrogation

December 10, 2014

Yesterday, U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released a report on the CIA detention and interrogation program: "The release includes redacted versions of the committee's executive summary and findings and conclusions, as well as additional and minority views authored by members of the committee." (source)

For more information and related resources:
Comments? or Questions?


Trees

From Our Government Information Librarian, Karen Heil

October 10, 2014

Fall has arrived, and, hopefully, its beautiful colors will not be too far behind. Even the government pays careful attention to our trees.

The Department of Agriculture has produced some interesting, informative and delightful documents centered on trees. One of the newest, Why Would Anyone Cut a Tree Down?, is a beautifully illustrated book for children.

We are surrounded every day by items produced from the forest: our homes, our books and magazines, that syrup on your morning pancakes. To understand the cambium layer or cellulose fibers and lignin, read How a Tree Grows or A Little Acorn.

For the gardeners out there, try How to Prune Trees or Fruitful Legacy: A Historic Context of Orchards in the United States with Technical Information for Registering Orchards in the National Register of Historic Places or How to Recognize Hazardous Defects in Trees.

For the entrepreneur, helpful titles include the Nursery Manual for Native Plants: A Guide for Tribal Nurseries and Profitable Farms and Woodlands: A Practical Guide in Agroforestry for Landowners, Farmers and Ranchers.

Trees protect us from the sun, provide homes for animals, nurture the soil, help purify the air, and give us food and materials that make our lives better. Celebrate them, enjoy them by reading A Botanic Garden for the Nation.

Come and learn their story!
Comments? or Questions?


Orange County Public Hearing

October 1, 2014

"Orange County will hold a public hearing on the proposed FY-2015 Housing and Community Development Action Plan on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at 5:00 PM at the Orange County Emergency Services Center, located at 22 Wells Farm Road, Goshen, NY 10924. The hearing will be held in order that the public may make comments on the draft FY-2015-FY-2019 HCD Plan and FY-2015 Action Plan, proposed activities or the County's programs in general, or suggest other activities that may be carried out under these programs."

Notice of Public Hearing (PDF)

The proposed documents can be found at the links below:
Comments? or Questions?


Local Government Update:
State of the City 2014

February 5, 2014

On Tuesday, February 4, 2014, Mayor Joseph M. DeStefano delivered his annual State of the City address for Middletown, New York.

You can download and read the Mayor's presentation via this link (PDF document).

For even more news and updates concerning the City of Middletown, please follow this link.
Comments? or Questions?


State of the Union 2014

January 28, 2014 (updated)

On Tuesday, January 28, 2014, at 9 PM (EST), President Obama will deliver his sixth State of the Union address to the nation.

You can follow the President's speech through this special link to Whitehouse.gov, which will provide an "enhanced version" complete with "charts, graphs and data."

Further down the Whitehouse page you can preview of the First Lady's guests, who will attend the speech with her.

C-SPAN.org will also air an online edition of the President's speech.

Official Republican responses to the speech can be found at this link.

This post will be updated with links to full-text transcripts and related information once that becomes available.

UPDATE # 1: Expanded coverage of SOTU 2014... UPDATE # 2: Full Text Transcripts of the Address:
Comments? or Questions?


State of the State Address 2014

January 13, 2014

Did you miss the New York State Governor's "State of the State" Address for 2014?

(Or would you like to watch it again?)

Whatever the reason, here are some links...
Comments? or Questions?


Warren Commission Report

November 18, 2013

In observance of the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has published the "official digital version" of the Warren Commission Report.

The Warren Commission, which investigated Kennedy's assasination, produced this historic 900-page report, which also contains photos, maps, and diagrams.

For the report and related information, please see these links:
Some other links to explore:
Comments? or Questions?


Two Free eBooks

July 18, 2013

Middletown Thrall Library and other Federal Depository Libraries are participating in a government information ebook trial.

During this very trial period - until August 2, 2013 - you will be able to download either or both of the following free eBooks: You can view these titles on any computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone that can display PDF documents.

Unlike our regular OverDrive/RCLS eBooks, these titles are yours to keep!

If you have any questions, please contact our Government Information Center at (845)341-5464.
Comments? or Questions?


State of the Union 2013

February 12, 2013 (updated)

On Tuesday, February 12, 2013, at 9 PM (EST), President Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union speech to the nation.

You can view his speech at Whitehouse.gov, which provides an "enhanced version" complete with "charts, graphs and data."

A video of the speech is also available on C-SPAN along with the Republican response (delievered by Senator Marco Rubio) and the Tea Party response (delivered by Senator Rand Paul).

Full text transcripts of the President's speech are available:
Republican responses are also provided:
Additional in-depth coverage can be explored online:
You can use the links below to catch up on previous State of the Union speeches and to learn more about Presidents of the United States:
For even further exploration, you can also click here to browse the library catalog for related items under the topic of Presidents - United States - Messages.
Comments? or Questions?


Inauguration 2013

January 21, 2013

Yesterday, President Obama and Vice-President Biden each took the Oath of Office.

Today, President Obama addressed the nation and delivered the latest in a long history of Inaugural Day speeches by Presidents of the United States.

You can watch the Inauguration online at WhiteHouse.gov.

C-SPAN also carried the speech live at their website (see also this video link).

Full text transcripts of the speech are now available:
Additional information on Inauguration 2013 can be found at:
For further exploration...
Comments? or Questions?


Congress.gov (beta)

(Posted September 20, 2012)

The Library of Congress' Thomas.gov website was launched in 1995, and that website has since provided legislative information from the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, including bills, amendments, roll call votes, committee reports, and more.

In the hope of making such information more easily findable, the Library of Congress has created a new website: Congress.gov.

The new site is currently "in beta" and is a work-in-progress, but you can already start using it.

Here is some more information from the Library of Congress:

Congress.gov makes federal United States legislative information freely available to the public. Launched Sept. 19, 2012, this version of the site is an initial beta release of Congress.gov, created as a successor to THOMAS.gov, the current public site for legislative information.

The Congress.gov beta site contains legislation from the 107th Congress (2001) to the present, member of Congress profiles from the 93rd Congress (1973) to the present, and selected member profiles from the 80th through the 92nd Congresses (1947 to 1972).

Over the next two years, Congress.gov will be adding information and features, eventually incorporating all of the information currently available on THOMAS.gov. (source)

Please click here to visit Congress.gov.

For more Congressional and legislative information, please visit...
Comments? or Questions?


Register to Vote!

(Posted September 7, 2012)

Your right to vote is the very essence of democracy!

In fact, etymologically speaking, the word "democracy" means "rule by the people," and this means you - yes you - get to decide the future of your local community government and the leaders of our nation when your time comes to vote.

But, in order to vote, you have to be registered!

If you are a New York State resident but not yet a registered voter, please click here for information on registering to vote.

Once registered, you can cast your vote! Make it count!

For more information about the upcoming U.S. Presidential Election, please click here for our Election 2012 guide.

You can use it to learn more about the candidates, their positions on various issues, and to learn more about their respective running mates and political parties.

We also offer an Election Year Survival Guide (PDF) to help you get past the hype and focus more objectively on the facts. Free printed copies of this guide are also available at the library.
Comments? or Questions?


From the Government Information Librarian:

Electronic Payments Transition
(March 1, 2013: A Date to Remember)

(Posted August 29, 2012)

March 1, 2013 is an important date to remember if you are receiving any type of Federal Benefit Payments such as those from Social Security, Veteran's Benefits, Supplemental Security Income, Railroad Retirement, Department of Labor or Office of Personnel Management.

"You are required by the U.S. Treasury to switch from paper checks to electronic payments by" that date. You may choose to have the payments directly deposited into your bank or credit union or have your payments deposited on a prepaid debit card. Only certain fees may be charged to the card including card replacement, after one free card per year, receipt of a monthly paper statement or funds transfer.

To learn more about the DirectExpress Debit MasterCard, visit the website USDirectExpress.com or call 1-800-333-1795.

If you are about to retire or are already receiving payments, check out GoDirect.org to sign up, watch a video or have frequently asked questions answered. Don't get caught - make the switch now!
Comments? or Questions?


The DREAM Act

June 19, 2012

President Obama announced the following temporary measures concerning deferred deportation of young persons (dubbed "Dreamers") who, in the President's words, "were brought to this country by their parents - sometimes even as infants - and often have no idea that they're undocumented":

Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people. Over the next few months, eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization.

Now, let's be clear - this is not amnesty, this is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It's not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people. (source)

The DREAM Act can only become law and stay in effect when Congress (both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate) approves the bill and the President officially signs the law into effect.

The bill had already passed in the House of Representatives but was blocked in the Senate.

For more information on the DREAM act:
Comments? or Questions?


1940 Census

February 24, 2012

The United States Census Bureau announced the following:

On April 2, the National Archives and Records Administration will make individual records from the 1940 Census available to the public for the first time. The 1940 Census was conducted during a momentous time in our nation's history, as the Great Depression was winding down and not long before our entry into World War II (although the war was already raging in Europe). It marked the only census conducted during the lengthy presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was also notable for many other reasons... (source)


You can read more about this at 1940census.archives.gov

For related information, please see:
Comments? or Questions?


State of the Union 2012

January 25, 2012

Last night, President Barack Obama appeared before the nation to deliver the State of the Union address.

If you missed it or would like to review the President's speech and his plan ("The Blueprint for an America Built to Last"), please see these official links from The White House:
Additional websites to consider:
Comments? or Questions?


From Pyramids to Plates

September 22, 2011

History has had a definite impact on America's eating habits. Since 1894, the Department of Agriculture has studied the latest research on diet and nutrition to make sure Americans maintain proper eating habits to ensure good health.

Back then, eating a balanced diet with many types of food and adequate calories was important. During the World Wars, recipes and shopping hints were added to help families who struggled with shortages.

After the Great Depression, with many Americans undernourished, a high calorie, high protein diet was encouraged. By the 1970's the number one killer was heart disease, the guidelines changed, calling for restricting calories and limiting fat and sugar.

From 1980 on, every five years, the USDA began to publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, highlighting the five food groups with the Food Wheel.

In 1992, the Food Pyramid appeared with grains serving as the base, fruits and vegetables next with the top of the pyramid showing smaller amounts of protein and, finally, fats and sugars at the very top.

This year the pyramid is gone, replaced by MyPlate! - "a new generation icon with the intent to prompt consumers to think about building a healthy plate at meal times and to seek more information to help them do that by going to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov. The new MyPlate icon emphasizes the fruit, vegetable, grains, protein and dairy food groups."

It seems like we have cycled back to the 1894 ideas of a balance diet with lots of choices!
Comments? or Questions?


Depository Spotlight

July 14, 2011

Middletown Thrall Library has been a Federal Depository Library since 1986, disseminating U.S. Government information to the American public as one of 1,250 such libraries throughout the United States.

"Since 1813, depository libraries have safeguarded the public's right to know by collecting, organizing, maintaining, preserving, and assisting users with information from the Federal Government." (GPO Access).

Each month the Government Printing Office (GPO) chooses a particular Depository to spotlight, highlighting its unique services. We are very honored to have been chosen for the month of July.

Here is a sampling from the article:

"Providing quality depository services requires the budget, staffing, and other resources of a large research institution, right? Don't tell that to the staff of Thrall Library in the small community of Middletown, New York. They bust that myth every day. By knowing their users, promoting teamwork, being creative, and simply having a passion for government information, the coordinator leads a first-rate depository operation while dealing with the same issues that plague most public libraries. For this reason, Middletown Thrall Library is our Spotlight Library for July."

Please click here for GPO's complete article on Middletown Thrall Library.

For further reading about Federal Depository libraries, please visit the Depository Library Spotlight website (FDLP Desktop) as well as GPO Access: About the Federal Depository Library Program.
Comments? or Questions?


State of the Union 2011:
Enhanced Online Edition

January 24, 2011

For the first time ever, the White House will broadcast an enhanced online edition of the President's State of the Union address on January 25, 2011.

You can view the enhanced edition at this link once it becomes available on the Internet.

For the complete text transcript of the President Obama's speech, please click here.
Comments? or Questions?


New Report: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

December 1, 2010

The U.S. Department of Defense has published its study on the matter of repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding non-heterosexuals openly serving in the military.

The DOD's findings can be found at the following links (many are in the Adobe Reader PDF format):
For more information relating to this topic, please see these links:
Additional information with the library system can be found at this link.
Comments? or Questions?


Free Government Apps

October 27, 2010

Through USA.gov, the U.S. Government provides a variety of information and services.

Among the newest items at USA.gov is a section on "apps" - as in "computer applications" or "programs" or "software."

These free apps are designed primarily for persons on the go ("mobile users").

According to the Apps FAQ, some apps are designed for iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Nokia, and other mobile phone or computer users while other apps are "mobile-friendly" websites.

What kinds of apps are available? Apps include: There are many other apps as well. You can click here to browse all of USA.gov's selections.

If you are new to the concept of apps, you might want to click here to visit USA.gov's "Learn More about Apps" page.

For even more free government apps and electronic services, please visit the Government 2.0 Gateway of our online Government Information Center.
Comments? or Questions?


Wall Street Reform

July 16, 2010

Now that "Wall Street Reform" legislation has been approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, what does this mean?

President Obama's remarks on the reform bill's passage provide a general overview of the spirit and intent of this financial legistation as well as its regulatory implications for consumers and the economy.

For further reading, please see the following sites:
Comments? or Questions?


New START Treaty Signed

April 8, 2010

U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian Federation President Dmitry Medvedev signed the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

According to the agreement, the United States and Russia will be "limited to significantly fewer strategic arms within seven years from the date the Treaty enters into force."

The full text of the the New START treaty is available online:
For more news and related information concerning START, please see these links:
Comments? or Questions?


What Is Reconciliation?

March 16, 2010

Recent legislative efforts to pass health care reform have generated much discussion and debate concerning, among other topics, Senate and House procedures of voting on and enacting laws.

As this process nears a so-called "final vote," chances are you might have heard of something called reconciliation in the news. Apart from what various media commentators have to say on the topic, what, objectively speaking, is reconcilation?

The United States Senate Glossary defines reconciliation process as follows:
A process established in the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 by which Congress changes existing laws to conform tax and spending levels to the levels set in a budget resolution.
(view full definition)
That defines the process, but what about a reconciliation bill?

The Senate Glossary defines reconciliation bill as follows:
A bill containing changes in law recommended pursuant to reconciliation instructions in a budget resolution. If the instructions pertain to only one committee in a chamber, that committee reports the reconciliation bill.
(view full definition)
To understand this, we need to know what reconciliation instructions and budget resolution mean.

The Glossary defines reconciliation instruction as:
A provision in a budget resolution directing one or more committees to report (or submit to the Budget Committee) legislation changing existing law in order to bring spending, revenues, or the debt-limit into conformity with the budget resolution.
(view full definition)
Next, the Glossary defines budget resolution as:
Legislation in the form of a concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget.
(view full definition)
To understand that, we also need to know how the Senate Glossary defines concurrent resolution:
A legislative measure, designated "S. Con. Res." and numbered consecutively upon introduction, generally employed to address the sentiments of both chambers, to deal with issues or matters affecting both houses, such as a concurrent budget resolution, or to create a temporary joint committee.
(view full definition)
What is a joint committee? There's a definition for that as well:
Committees including membership from both houses of Congress.
(view full definition)
If you find this all more than a little confusing, you are definitely not alone!

Congressional rules and procedures are almost always defined in strictly formal terms and in ways perhaps only legal scholars and representatives might thoroughly understand.

To be fair, while some words and phrases used to describe these things could, in theory, be simplified a bit, the procedures themselves would not necessarily be easier to comprehend because they usually involve regulations based on other rules, which further subject to other protocols and procedures, all of which have their own legislative histories and intricacies.

Thankfully, the U.S. House of Representatives Committe on Rules offers some additional clarity on reconciliation at their "How Congress Works" website, specifically in the "The Budget Process" section:
This can be a helpful document, especially in showing how reconciliation addresses the issue of filibusters in the Senate.

If you are interested in learning more about reconciliation and how all of this relates with current and past legislative efforts, there are these other links to consider:

From the House and Senate:
From the Republican Leadership (GOP):
From the Speaker of the House's Blog:
Reconciliation elsewhere in the news:
For more on health care reform news, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a website dedicated to the topic:
Comments? or Questions?


The State of the Union

January 28, 2010

Last night, President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union Address.

A full text transcript of the President's speech is now available at The White House website along with a video and an audio (MP3) file:
There is also this related post from The White House Blog, which highlights key points of the speech:
For the Republican response to the Address, please see these links:
In the Speeches section of our Ready Reference Center you will find Presidential Speech archives, which contain full text transcripts of past State of the Union Addresses. The C-SPAN site in that list also offers videos of Addresses dating back to Harry S. Truman.

In our library catalog you can check on related items at Middletown Thrall Library and elsewhere in the library system under the following subject heading:
If you would like to delve further into the history of the U.S. Presidency, we invite you to browse the American Presidents, Vice-Presidents, and First Ladies section of our American History guide.
Comments? or Questions?


2010 Census

January 27, 2010

Forms for the "Decennial Census" - "Census 2010" (or, if you prefer, "2010 Census") - will soon arrive.

While the Census might appear to be nothing more than paperwork - a questionnaire to be completed - the information derived from these forms help sustain one of democracy's most important principles: representation.

The Census is required by the United States Contitution so that members of the House of Representatives can be properly apportioned across our nation based upon population statistics.

Since population numbers change every day, the Census is held on a "decennial" basis - every ten years - to help keep the numbers current and regions appropriately represented.

The benefit of information gained from the Census process does not stop there: there are, as Census.gov reports, community benefits as well as national impacts on funding vital services, such as hospitals, schools, and job training centers.

There is a new 2010 Census website that covers all these topics and much more, from the very basic ideas behind it to advanced concepts, including:
The U.S. Census Bureau has also established a new 2010 Census Blog as well as some social networking websites including:
If you are interested in working as as a census taker, click here for the 2010 Census Jobs page.

For even more information on the Census, please see these links:
Comments? or Questions?


OpenInternet.gov & Net Neutrality

October 26, 2009

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offers a website on the topic of preserving an open Internet:

OpenInternet.gov

The FCC describes the website as follows:
"OpenInternet.gov is a place to join the discussion about the important issues facing the future of the Internet. Through this site you can stay connected to all Federal Communication Commission activities on the issue, and share your thoughts and ideas on open Internet."
An "open Internet" goes to the heart of the "network neutrality" debate.

If you haven't heard, Internet Services Providers (ISPs), telecommunications and information technology companies, and other organizations and individuals, have been weighing in over the past several years with a variety of perspectives and concerns on attempts to preserve an accessible-to-all Internet (versus a system that might, according to some, limit users' connectivity, increase costs, or generate other issues).

In 2006, as part of its Special Coverage series of guides, Thrall created a Network Neutrality information guide to help you learn more about these issues and related topics.

Today we updated our guide with links to OpenInternet.gov and Broadband.gov: The National Broadband Plan.

Topics in our Network Neutrality guide include: As more people than ever use and rely on the Internet daily, the outcome of this debate stands to impact countless users in coming years.

At OpenInternet.gov there is a "Join the Discussion" button, which you can click to participate in the debate, voice your concerns, and share your ideas.
Comments? or Questions?


What the President Said

October 21, 2009

However you receive news, be it through newspapers, radio programs, television, e-mail, or websites, you are often provided a series of terse soundbites or quick "facts" interspersed with observations, contradictory statements, or opinions.

Under such circumstances you might never know what was originally said or, more generally, what is to be believed, especially if quotes are provided incompletely or taken out of context.

To limit such confusion and to afford yourself greater objectivity, you can go straight to official sources, read (or view) speeches in their entirety, and make up your own mind accordingly.

For example, President Obama's speeches can be viewed verbatim at the White House website. Here are some links to some major speeches and statements from the President throughout 2009: You can find more complete speeches and news items by going to WhiteHouse.gov and visiting such sections as: For more on making sense of news in this age of "tweets" and "real time" information, please check out our "Real Time News and Analysis" blog post.
Comments? or Questions?


Government Information Center 2.0

September 25, 2009

Middletown Thrall Library's Government Information Center has a new home page!

As a designated Federal Depository Library serving the 22nd Congressional District, Middletown Thrall Library enables you to learn about and participate in government by making available essential documents and other important materials.

And so, as part of our ongoing mission to promote, simplify, and expedite public access to government information, we redesigned this area of our website to improve your ability to search or browse key local, state, and federal government information sources.

Included in the new page are instant headline links to all major branches of the U.S. Government (the White House, House of Representatives, Speaker of the House, Senate) as well as key government agencies and websites (e.g. FTC, NASA, the Library of Congress).

Under the title of the page you will find convenient "quick links" and "government topics" you can follow to visit key websites or browse topics of interest.

Our new Government 2.0 Gateway provides links to the latest wave of social networking and media from the U.S. Government, including blogs, podcasts, RSS feeds, Twitter feeds, videos, and webcams.

A search box enables you to explore any of the following from one convenient location: We encourage you to visit our new home page and explore the many informative, interesting, and occasionally surprising or entertaining items made available to you from the Government!
Comments? or Questions?


Constitution Day

September 17, 2009

Two hundred and twenty two years ago on September 17, 1787, the Constitution was signed by members of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

While approval (ratification) of the Constitution would take a bit longer among the states, the date of the initial signing marks the birth of what would ultimately become the U.S. Federal Government.

In the interests of promoting awareness and appreciation of this historic day, a number of agencies and entities within the U.S. Government offer a variety of resources on the Internet.

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) offers information, activities, and educational materials for teachers and students at this link.

Searchable copies of the Constitution along with additional information and learning materials can be found at the following links:

For more information, such as books and videos, please click here to browse related items available in the library system.
Comments? or Questions?


Your Government 2.0: Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and More

June 4, 2009

Various agencies within the United States Government are trying to make more of their information accessible through social networking websites such as Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook.

A recent blog post at the GovGab, the U.S. Government Blog announced progress on these efforts: read their complete blog post.

Three Government "Twitters" mentioned in their post are:
Did you know there is also a U.S. Government Channel on You Tube?

But wait, there's more!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer a "Social Media Tools for Consumers and Partners" page.

The Library of Congress is on Youtube (see their blog post here).

The LOC is also on Twitter: "We Tweet, Therefore We Are" (click here for their direct Twitter link).

Did you know even NASA's Mars Rovers are Twittering from Mars?

Some searches at USA.gov provided even more U.S. Government social networking feeds and pages:
Add Thrall's own Government Blog RSS feed to the mix, and there you have it:

easy and instantaneous 24/7/365 access to your Government!

Enjoy!
Comments? or Questions?


NYS Project Sunlight Website

April 24, 2009

The New York State Attorney General's office has announced a new website that "enhances the public's ability to access and review state and local government information":

www.SunlightNY.com

You can read the full press release by clicking here.

There are three main sections: Browse, Search, and Maps: Also included are video tutorials, frequently asked questions, and "State Gov 101" (where you can "learn the basics of State Government").

A Spanish edition of the website is available (click the "Español" link at the top of their site).

Please click here to visit the www.SunlightNY.com website.
Comments? or Questions?


FinancialStability.gov

April 1, 2009

The White House website blog has announced the creation of another new website:

"The Treasury Department has just launched FinancialStability.gov, a website dedicated to bringing transparency and clarity to the immensely complex problems in the financial system and the President's plans to address them."

You can read more about this new website in the press release from the White House.

If you would like to go to the new site, please click here for FinancialStability.gov.
Comments? or Questions?


MakingHomeAffordable.gov: A New Website

March 20, 2009

The White House has announced a new website for homeowners:

A quote from the White House Blog: "At midnight last night the Treasury Department took a great step to ensure that everybody who can take advantage of the President housing plan can do so, helping to put the brakes on the foreclosure crisis, launching MakingHomeAffordable.gov - a site where you can find out everything you need to know about the President's plan and whether you qualify."

Please click here to access the MakingHomeAffordable.gov website.
Comments? or Questions?


New York State Recovery Guide

March 11, 2009

The New York State Government has a new website concerning funds and activities relating to the recent American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:

New York State Guide to the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Sections include: News, Resources and Links (including the "New York American Recovery and Reinvestment Handbook" - PDF format: view with Adobe Reader), Certifications, New York's Share, and Submit Proposals.

The website also invites you to sign up to receive updates from the NYS Governor concerning steps the state is taking to "implement the provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act."

You can also find this website in the New York State Government section of our Economy information guide on the web.
Comments? or Questions?


Recovery.gov

February 19, 2009

A new website has been created by the U.S. Government to help people learn more about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The new website is Recovery.gov, and it has been described as follows:

"Recovery.gov is a website that lets you, the taxpayer, figure out where the money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is going. There are going to be a few different ways to search for information. The money is being distributed by Federal agencies, and soon you'll be able to see where it's going -- to which states, to which congressional districts, even to which Federal contractors."

The website includes a video from President Obama as well as announcements, contact information, and answers to frequently asked questions concerning economic recovery plans and activities.
Comments? or Questions?


Where Is It Now?

February 9, 2009

From the Government Information Librarian, Karen A. Heil:

A new President, a new Administration and a new look for the White House website (www.whitehouse.gov). It's fresh, timely (including lots of video and audio) and interactive (highlighting a Blog).

Now that digital information is quickly taking the place of paper, what happens to documents from past administrations? If you missed the "100 Things Americans May Not Know About the Bush Administration Record," featured on the old White House website on January 19th, but not the 20th (on the new website), all is not lost!

The U.S. National Archives is responsible for keeping historical information from disappearing. Through their link to the Presidential Libraries, one can access historical materials from Herbert Hoover to George W. Bush.

The most current entry includes a "snap shot" of the recent past (and the old White House website): georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov

Living in the moment is all the style, but forgetting our past would be a terrible loss!
Comments? or Questions?


American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

January 31, 2009

Our Special Coverage Economy web guide has been updated to include information concerning the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 of 2009."

Information concerning this, along with the "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008" (EESA) and TARP (the Troubled Assets Relief Program), can be found in the EESA section of our guide under various government branches, departments, agencies, and committees.

For the full text of H.R.1 ("American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009"), you can click here to jump to the U.S. House of Representatives section.

News concerning H.R.1. and related economic policy announcements from President Obama and Vice-President Biden can be found in the 2009 area of The White House category.

Our Economy guide continues to be updated as new information becomes available.
Comments? or Questions?


AStrongMiddleClass.gov

January 30, 2009

President Obama and Vice-President Biden announced the creation of a new task force (and website) focusing on the economy and the middle class:

The formal name of the new task force is "The White House Task Force on Middle Class Working Families," and it is described as follows at WhiteHouse.gov:

"The Task Force is a major initiative targeted at raising the living standards of middle-class, working families in America."

The corresponding website is www.AStrongMiddleClass.gov.

For more on the task force and related information, checke out these other areas at WhiteHouse.gov:

You can learn more about these efforts, as well as the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan of 2009," in the Government Information: U.S. President section of our Special Coverage: Economy web guide.
Comments? or Questions?


President Obama's Inaugural Address

January 21, 2009

In case you missed it, or if you would like to experience it again, President Barack Obama's Inaugural Address can now be read online at The White House (whitehouse.gov) and at America.gov.

The White House website includes a video of President Obama's Inaugural Address (Adobe Flash Plugin required).

The Library of Congress has a blog post with information on and high-resolution images of the Bible used at the Presidential Inaugural ceremony:

"The Lincoln Inaugural Bible"

If you would like to delve some more into the history of inaugurations, the Library of Congress has a web page called "I Do Solemnly Swear" where you can find inaugural speeches of past U.S. Presidents, all the way back to George Washington.

Poet Elizabeth Alexander was asked to compose a poem for the Inauguration. The New York Times offers a transcript of the poem, as does About.com as well.

To read other works by this author, please click here to browse titles available in the catalog.

For more information on the current Inauguration, please check out our earlier blog post.
Comments? or Questions?


Inauguration 2009

January 15, 2009

If you are one of the many who will attend the 2009 U.S. Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C., congratulations!

If not, you can still witness history as it unfolds either at home or in the library by virtually attending the ceremony either through televised coverage or through streaming audio/video clips, blog posts, and relate news articles provided at some of the U.S. Government websites mentioned below:

Our Election 2008 Special Coverage guide contains a section called "The Presidential Transition."

There you find links to U.S. Government websites, including Change.gov (the official President-Elect and Vice-President-Elect website), PresidentialTransition.gov, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, and "Presidential 09 Inauguration."

The "Presidential Inauguration 09" website offers a Calendar of Events as well as a "Getting There" section for travelers, a "Discover DC" section for tourists, and a "Fun Facts" section for everyone.

CNN, MSNBC, and other major news providers online are said to be planning to offer live coverage on the web of Inauguration events. You can access these websites through the "International News" section of our Current Interests Center.

Once the Inauguration concludes, you can follow President Barack Obama and Joe Biden's administration through Change.gov and www.WhiteHouse.gov.
Comments? or Questions?


New York State Budget

December 18, 2008

Information concerning New York State's 2009-2010 proposed budget has been published at the New York State government website:

State of New York, Division of the Budget Home Page

A press release from NYS offers this overview of the Governor's budget proposal:

"Governor Paterson's Executive Budget Eliminates Largest Deficit In State History, Reins In Spending"
Comments? or Questions?


Change.gov and the Presidential Transition

November 14, 2008

Our Election 2008 web guide has a new category covering post-election developments and the transition to the next U.S. Government Administration:

Election 2008: The Presidential Transition

Here you will find links to sites such as Change.gov ("the Official Website of the Office of the United States President-Elect"), PresidentialTransition.gov, as well as websites prepared by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Government Reform, and National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

In addition to news about President-Elect Barack Obama and Vice President-Elect Joe Biden, you will find biographical entries about them and their spouses, job announcements, appointments, blogs, details about the upcoming Inauguration, information and laws concerning presidential transitions, as well as major issues to be addressed by the new Administration.
Comments? or Questions?


EconomicRecovery.gov

October 24, 2008

The U.S. Department of Commerce has created "an interagency website" called EconomicRecovery.gov.

The Department of Commerce states, "The web site will be a resource for the latest information about important economic issues, and what the U.S. Government is doing to strengthen the economy and restore prosperity."

The website currently has three sections: Help for Americans, Help for Workers, and Help for Small Businesses and Financial Institutions.

EconomicRecovery.gov's topics currently include: Guide to Avoiding Foreclosure, Securing Your Retirement, Consumer Protection Guide, Is My Account Fully Insured?, Eating Right when Money is Tight, Nutrition Assistance Program, Jobs and Opportunities in Your State, Work for the Federal Government, Information about Unemployment Insurance in Your State, One-Stop Career Center, Help for People with Disabilities, Helping Main Street: Loan Programs, Training and Mentoring to Meet Business Challenges, Contracting Opportunities for Minority Businesses, Grow Your Business Overseas, Strengthening America's Banking System, Protecting Investors, Helping Manufacturers Grow their Businesses and Stay Competitive, and Farm Loan Programs.

You can read more about the new website in the Commerce Department's press release.

For even more information on what the U.S. Government is doing in response to the current economic situation, you can also check out the Government Information section of our Global Economic Crisis special coverage guide.

Our web guide includes extensive information on the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (formerly known as "the Bailout Bill") as well as TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program). Information in this section are arranged chronologically by each U.S. Government agency.
Comments? or Questions?


USASpending.gov

October 2, 2008

Citizens wondering how the U.S. Government spends money will be interested in this website:

"USASpending.gov: Where Americans Can See Where Their Money Goes"

Find out where grant awards and federal contracting dollars go or, as the website says, "what the government is really doing with your money."

Data sources include the Federal Procurement Data System and the Federal Assistance Award Data System. More information about data sources is located at this web page.

More information about the website (and the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 "Transparency Act" requiring the website to exist) can be viewed at this web page.
Comments? or Questions?


Ready to Start a Business?

August 11, 2008

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has an online assessment tool designed to help people determine whether or not they are ready to start their own businesses:

Click here to access the SBA's "Are You Ready to Start a Business?" website.

You can also click here to browse related information (under the heading of "New Business Enterprises") available in the library system.
Comments? or Questions?


Homelessness Resource Center

July 25, 2008

The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has established a new website:

Homelessness Resource Center

SAMHSA describes this website as "an interactive community of providers, consumers, policymakers, researchers, and public agencies at federal, state, and local levels."

The website has been added to our Homelessness Special Coverage Guide in the Government section.
Comments? or Questions?


Jewish American Heritage Month

May 15, 2008

In April 2008, the President of the United States proclaimed May as Jewish American Heritage Month, describing it as "an opportunity to celebrate the history, culture, and faith of Jewish Americans and their contributions to our Nation."

You can read more about the President's proclamation in this official press release from the White House.

To help celebrate this month and to provide information on its theme, a new website has been created by the U.S. Government: www.jewishheritage.gov.

On the About page the website is said to be "a collaborative project of the Library of Congress and the National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum."
Comments? or Questions?


DTV Transition and Coupon Program

April 3, 2008

Are you ready for the digital television (DTV) transition?

If your answer is "no" or "I'm not sure," the U.S. government has created a website to answer your questions and to inform you of a coupon that will become available to help you (and your television) move into the digital age in the event you need to purchase a new converter.

Here's a quote from their website explaining what will happen in 2009: "At midnight on February 17, 2009, all full-power television stations in the United States will stop broadcasting in analog and switch to 100% digital broadcasting. Digital broadcasting promises to provide a clearer picture and more programming options and will free up airwaves for use by emergency responders."

Click here to visit the DTV2009.gov website.

The website is also available in Spanish.

You can also check out these two earlier blog posts of ours for more on digital television and HDTV:
Comments? or Questions?


FBI Advisory: House Stealing Scams

March 26, 2008

Amidst the current challenges faced by home owners and the housing market, there are also scams out there that could make an already difficult situation even more dangerous.

To educate you on some of these scams, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has just issued the following advisory:

"House Stealing: The Latest Scam on the Block"

Click on the "House Stealing" link to educate yourself on the potential problems, or click here to read about other known scams or here for information about "E-scams" (electronic scams, usually on the Internet or in e-mail).
Comments? or Questions?


Women's History Month Facts

February 25, 2008

The United States Census Bureau has published a "Facts for Features" guide highlighting various statistics relating to this month. Categories include Businesses, Motherhood, Earnings, Jobs, Voting, and Education.

Click here to access the Census Bureau's "Women's History Month: March 2008" guide.
Comments? or Questions?


Goverment Information Center Update

February 14, 2008

Middletown Thrall Library's Government Information index (also known as "GovSites") has been updated and expanded. In addition to a new menu and newly incorporated and annotated resources, the overall appearance has evolved to make for easier reading and to accommodate widescreen monitors.

Click here to check out our new Government Information on the Web section.
Comments? or Questions?


Aviation Safety Report from NASA

January 2, 2008

NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, has published some information concerning its study of airline and air travel safety on the National Aviation Operational Monitoring Service (NAOMS) website.

NASA's description for this publication states, "This Web site contains responses collected from the air carrier and general aviation pilot surveys as part of the NASA National Aviation Operational Monitoring Service (NAOMS) project from April 2001 through December 2004."

NASA also states, "Efforts will be made in 2008 to release additional NAOMS information that was redacted for this release."

Most of the documents at the NAOMS website have been published in the PDF format. To view them you will need the free Adobe Reader software.
Comments? or Questions?


Happy Holidays

December 3, 2007

USA.gov has published a "Happy Holidays" information guide offering related advice, resources, and services from various government agencies that include the following topics: You'll also find related websites on meat and poultry safety, holiday recipes, government stores (including holiday ornaments and gifts), and volunteering.
Comments? or Questions?


National American Indian Heritage Resources

November 29, 2007

In honor of National American Indian Heritage Month, USA.gov has published a collection of links to websites realting to American Indians.

Sections include: Cultural Resources, Legal Resources Tribal law, Education, Jobs, Economic Development, Housing, Family and Health, and Tribal Land and the Environment.

Some of the many U.S. Government and educational websites USA.gov highlights include:
Comments? or Questions?


Hot Docs

October 11, 2007

"Hot Doc" is a nickname those of us involved in Government information use to describe new or popular Government documents, especially those that may relate to current events or conditions throughout the world.

At Thrall.org, in our GovSites web guide, we have established links to a number of such "hot docs" over the years that were published on the web.

Some recent additions to this section include:
Most of these documents have been published in the PDF format, which means you will need the free Adobe Reader software to be able to view them on your computer. If you're at the library, all our computers have the Adobe Reader already installed.

You can click here to see even more current and past "hot docs."
Comments? or Questions?


Government Blogs

October 10, 2007

USA.gov is featuring a list of currently active Government blogs. These include the "Big Read Blog" (National Endowment for the Arts), "Flow of the River" (EPA), "Health and Human Services Department Blog," "Peace Corps Volunteer Journals," among many others.

There's also the Gov Gab blog right at USA.gov.

Each of these blogs explore a variety of topics and offer new and personal insight (and even some humor) concerning goverment happenings and projects as well as some of the people involved in those endeavors.
Comments? or Questions?


Thrall Librarian Awarded

October 2, 2007

We are delighted and honored to announce Karen Heil, our Government Information Librarian, has been recognized by the New York Library Association (NYLA) for her ongoing efforts to make government information, in all its forms, available and accessible to the public. Here is the official press release we have received from NYLA:

Jesse Daly, President of the New York Library Association Government Information Roundtable (NYLA/GIRT), has announced that Karen Heil, Government Documents Librarian for the Middletown Thrall Library since 1993, is the 2007 recipient of the NYLA/GIRT Mildred Lowe Award for outstanding contributions to government information librarianship.

Ms. Heil has developed an extensive, attractive, user friendly collection of government information links and materials available at the library's website at www.thrall.org which averages several thousand accesses each month. She is also being recognized for her proaction in making the wide variety of government documents available, easy to use, and better known to borrowers and researchers.

She actively shares information with government documents colleagues and beyond. In addition, she conducts workshops on the use of federal and state documents in the classroom for teachers from area school districts.

The Mildred Lowe Award honors librarians who have made significant contributions to government documents librarianship, access to government information, and/or the encouragement of the use of documents in New York State libraries. It is given in memory of Mildred Lowe, Dean of the Library School at St. John's University and a tireless advocate for public access to government information.


We are most thankful to NYLA/GIRT for this significant recognition. Middletown Thrall Library, a designated Federal Depository Library, houses tens of thousands of past and current local/state and federal government documents in print, microform, and electronic format. We encourage you to explore these collections and take advantage of the wealth of information available at our library.
Comments? or Questions?


And the Winners Are...

October 1, 2007

Each year the Government Documents Round Table section of the American Library Association chooses the year's Notable Government Documents. The choices this year, some of which are on display near the Government Documents collection, are as varied and vital as the critical issues that face us everyday. A Failure of Initiative: Final Report of the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina, a must for those who hope to be better prepared for future disasters; The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General, "In 2005, it was estimated that exposure to secondhand smoke kills more than 3,000 adult nonsmokers from lung cancer, approximately 46,000 from coronary heart disease, and an estimated 430 newborns from sudden infant death syndrome." National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan, a look at responses needed from an international to a local level; Al-Qaeda: The Many Faces of an Islamist Extremist Threat: Report of the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a brief but very readable summary of the ongoing threat. On the lighter side, Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines, a great book for anyone involved in Web site design; Library of Congress Law Library: An Illustrated Guide offering a fascinating history of the law and the United States Senate Catalogue of Graphic Art, a beautiful compilation and history of art work in the Senate. Come and see our display!
Comments? or Questions?


More Hidden Treasures

June 27, 2007

The hidden treasures of our history live in the pages of documents found tucked away on our library shelves. They seem like plain little books, lined up in boxes, labeled with long complicated numbers showing to which Congress they belong. Here are some samples:



Interested in more? Come to the library's Government Document collection and dig for your treasures!
Comments? or Questions?


Family Jewels and Other Declassifed Documents

June 27, 2007

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has announced the publication of two historic collections of declassified documents.

Hostedt at the CIA's FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Electronic Reading Room, the two new collections are:

For more links to declassified historic documents from the CIA and other U.S. government agencies, check out our GovSites web guide, including the Hot Documents, Historic Documents, and UFOs categories.

Also come in to the library and browse our extensive Government Documents collection, which contain many "hidden" truths and treasures. Many of these documents can be checked out.
Comments? or Questions?


Independence Day

June 22, 2007

July 4th, "Independence Day," is fast approaching. To help you understand and safely celebrate this historic holiday, USA.gov has assembled a variety of links to "Fourth of July" web pages. You can access their web guide here.

If you're interested in learning more about the signing of the Declaration of Independence and Independence Day in general, try these links:
To learn more about the history of the United States, check out our American History web guide. For current information about the U.S. Government (local/state/federal), visit our Government Information home page and our GovSites web guide.
Comments? or Questions?


Flag Day

June 5, 2007

Flag Day is June 14. Here are some websites to help you learn more about the U.S. Flag:

There are some items in the library catalog that might also interest you:
Comments? or Questions?


Popular Baby Names

May 22, 2007

The Social Security Administration has published a list of the most popular baby names for last year as well as a database of popular names for previous years back to 1879.

There are items in the library catalog for more information about baby (and adult) first and last names, including what they mean and their respective histories.

Our Ready Reference Guide also has a section of websites about names and baby names.
Comments? or Questions?


Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

May 18, 2007

Library of Congress has published a resource guide to help commemorate Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.

Included at their website are highlights from the Library of Congress collection, including texts, photographs, audio and video, illustrations, country studies, and related Internet resources.

To learn more about this region, its culture, history, and more, consider using our databases, including CountryWatch and Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations.
Comments? or Questions?


Memorial Day

May 17, 2007

USA.gov has published a page of links to information about Memorial Day, including facts as well as tips for activities you might be planning to attend that day.

Some of the many categories of information at their websites include: Origins of Memorial Day, Facts about U.S. Military Who Served in WWII, Korean War Veterans Memorial, National Moment of Remembrance, Patriotic Melodies, Recipes from and for Americans, Soldier's Memorial Day, Barbecue/Boating/Swimming Safety, Veterans Stories, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and World War II Memorial.

For more informationabout Memorial Day, you can try these links:
Comments? or Questions?

Jewish American Heritage Month

May 16, 2007

Jewish American Heritage Month.gov (www.jewishheritagemonth.gov) is a new government website created to "recognize the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture."

The website is said to be collaboration between the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), National Gallery of Art (NGA), National Park Service (NPS), Smithsonian Institution and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Comments? or Questions?

Postal Rate Updates

May 2, 2007

The U.S. Postal Service has posted the upcoming postal rate changes in May 2007 at their website.
Comments? or Questions?

Library of Congress Blog

April 25, 2007

The Library of Congress has launched its very own blog! In the words of LOC blogger Matt Raymond, the spirit of the blog will be to "make resources available and useful to the Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations," words which come from the LOC's mission statement.

Please click here to access the Library of Congress blog.
Comments? or Questions?

IDTheft.gov

April 25, 2007

The U.S. government has launched a new centralized website to promote the awareness and prevention of identity theft:

View the press release from FDIC.gov here or follow this link to go to www.IDTheft.gov.

Some other links for your consideration:
Comments? or Questions?

IRS Issues Warning about Fake E-mail Messages

April 3, 2007

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a new advisory:

"IRS Warns of Phony e-Mails Claiming to Come from the IRS"

Included in their advisory is an e-mail address where you can direct suspicious e-mail to their attention.
Comments? or Questions?

New York State Budget

April 2, 2007

Details concerning the 2007-2008 budget for New York State have been published at the New York State government website.
Comments? or Questions?

United States Postal Service Announces STAR WARS stamps

March 30, 2007

To mark the 30th anniversary of the original Star Wars trilogy, the United States Postal Service (USPS.gov) is making available Star Wars stamps and express mailers and has set up an animated website in support of their latest offering.

At their site you can vote for your favorite stamp. The most popularly selected stamp will be produced on its own sheet in the future.

If this has you curious about stamp collecting and want to learn more, there are some books in the library catalog that might interest you as well.
Comments? or Questions?

Recreation.gov

March 30, 2007

This just in from USDA.gov: "Federal Leaders Launch New One-Stop, Interagency Website For Recreation Reservations."

The new website is Recreation.gov.

As the USDA explains in the above press release: "This interagency web site allows the public to view photos and information on thousands of recreation sites and activities from sightseeing at the Washington monument to canoeing in a Minnesota forest. The public can also use the recreation.gov site to make reservations and payments online."
Comments? or Questions?

MyMoney.gov

March 30, 2007

MyMoney.gov is described as "the U.S. government's website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about financial education."

The website goes on to say, "Whether you are planning to buy a home, balancing your checkbook, or investing in your 401k, the resources on MyMoney.gov can help you do it better. Throughout the site, you will find important information from 20 federal agencies government wide."

Subjects covered include: Budgeting and Taxes, Credit, Financial Planning, Home Ownership, Kids, Paying for Education, Privacy, Fraud and Scams, Responding to Life Events, Retirement Planning, Saving and Investing, and Starting a Small Business.

There is also a Spanish version of MyMoney.gov.
Comments? or Questions?

Copyright Resource Guide

March 15, 2007

"Copyright Resources on the Web: Sites to Keep you Current" offers an annotated list of informative websites that can help you catch up with copyright law, including such topics as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and Fair Use.

This guide was compiled by David Hodgins of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).
Comments? or Questions?




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