February is Black History Month, a celebration of African American culture, history and accomplishments. There are a number of related events taking place at library branches this month including documentary screenings and a photograph exhibit. Be sure to take a look at our newsletter The Source for details. Here is a selection of useful online resources:
African American History: Resources from the Library of Congress.
Black History: A site from the History channel including some informative videos.
Black History Month Diversity: A variety of resources from the diversity website of the government.
Celebrate Black History: Biographies, photographs, timeline and more.
Black History from Footnote.com: A remarkable resource containing copies of original historic documents. Visiting this site from inside the library gives you access to premium features.
We have some great resources available in print and through our online databases. Take a look at our African American History Collection.
Ever wondered what’s in C.I.A. reports about UFOs?
Want to know what intelligence the agency had during the Cold War?
Now you can find out!
Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room
The C.I.A. archives make tremendously interesting reading! Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), previously secret documents over 25 years old are automatically declassified and are available for public review.
These records date back to when the C.I.A. was first established. Many of the original documents have been scanned and can be viewed online. You can also request a declassified document that’s currently not available online.
Not all C.I.A. documents have been declassified, but those that have make fascinating reading!
Also, next time you are in the library, ask at the Reference Desk for another great resource, the C.I.A. World Factbook or view the online version.
How Do I get a Passport?
When Do I Itemize on my Federal Tax Return?
What is the population of the United States?
If you’re looking to find reliable government information such as grants, reports, statistics, forms, plus much more, then USA.gov is the place to look. The United States government is one of the largest information producers in the world and many of these valuable resources are available for free online.
Most government agencies have their own individual websites, but this website gives you access to them all. This large and interesting site is definitely worth a visit for the casual browser, but it’s also great for research and school projects. If you’re looking for specific government information, this is the perfect starting point for your search.
The site is also available in Spanish:
USA.gov en Español
Beginning on February 17, television stations will change the way they send out TV signals. They will stop sending analog signals (what we get now) and begin sending digital signals. This does not mean that you have to have a high definition TV, or even replace your current TV, but you do have to be able to receive digital signals.
First, determine if your TV can already receive digital signals:
- If you have cable or satellite TV, you won’t need to make any changes.
- If you don’t have cable or satellite TV, and you bought your TV within the last two years, you may or may not be affected. Check this website to see if your TV has a digital receiver already in it.
- If you don’t have cable or satellite TV, and your TV is older than two years old, you will probably be affected.
If you are affected, here’s what you need to do to convert your TV to digital:
1. Sign up for the waiting list to receive a coupon good for $40 off the purchase of a digital converter box. You can get one or two coupons, but you’ll need one converter box for each TV in your house that needs to be changed:
- Call 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009); or
- Deaf or hard of hearing callers dial 1-877-530-2634 (9am-9pm Monday – Friday); or
- Apply online; or
- Print out a form and mail it or fax it to 1-877-388-4632.
2. Use the coupon to buy a digital-to-analog converter box. The converter boxes cost $40-$70 and are available at most electronics. You can search for a store here.
3. Attach the converter box to your TV.
Printing from the Internet can be frustrating. Save yourself a headache with www.printwhatyoulike.com. This free website allows you to adjust any web page to print exactly how you want it to look.
When you are ready to print from a website, open www.printwhatyoulike.com. In the field provided, enter the web address (URL) that you wish to print. The webpage will open in a simple editor. Then, you can delete extra pages, advertisements, or irrelevant areas of the page and change the font, font size, or format so your printed page comes out as you want it. There is a useful tutorial available by clicking on “Try the Demo”.
Aside from helping you keep your sanity, this website also helps you save paper and ink!
A good vocabulary can open doors. If yours needs a little work, why not have a little fun improving it and do something for others at the same time. FreeRice.com can help!
FreeRice.com is an internet game with two goals: to provide a free educational experience and to end world hunger — and YOU can participate. Just play the game (the free educational goal).
All you have to do is define each word that’s displayed by choosing the correct definition from a list of 4 choices. If you answer correctly, FreeRice will donate 20 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. If you miss the answer, not to worry! You’ll get a second chance to get it right. It’s a win-win proposition. You’ll help feed the world’s hungry people and you’ll learn a whole lot of new words in the process.
Now if you think that 20 grains of rice per answer is a pretty small amount consider this… To date, FreeRice.com has donated 49,105,129,470 grains of rice. That’s approximately 1,693,280 pounds of food!
Visit FreeRice.com and help yourself while helping others worldwide.