Category Archives: What’s Up Doc / Govdocs

A History of the Census in the United States : Part 12

The Twelfth Census: Census Day was June 1, 1900.

William McKinley was President of the United States on Census Day, June 1, 1900.

Authorizing Legislation

In the act authorizing the 1900 census, Congress limited census content to questions dealing with population, mortality, agriculture, and manufacturing. Reports on these topics, called “Census Reports,” were to be published by June 30, 1902. The act also authorized special census agents to collect statistics relating to incidents of deafness, blindness, insanity, juvenile delinquency, and the like; as well as on religious bodies; utilities; mining; and transportation, among others. These statistics were to be collected following the completion of the regular census. The preparation of the special reports developed from these statistics was to be accomplished in such a way so as to not interfere with the completion of the Census Reports.

The act also changed the title of the chief officer of the Census Office from “supervising clerk of the census” to “director of the census.” Additionally, a new position, assistant director of the census, to be filled by “an experienced practical statistician,” was established. The director was given the power to appoint staff based on noncompetitive examinations. However, in practice, positions were given to political referrals.

Enumeration

The Departments of War and the Navy enumerated military personnel (including those who were abroad). Indian Territory was enumerated with the cooperation of the commissioner of Indian affairs.

Hawaii, which had been annexed in 1898, was included in the census for the first time. (A census of Puerto Rico and Cuba had been carried out by the War Department in 1899. Under the direction of the Philippine Commission, a census of that territory was taken in 1903.)

Intercensal Activity

In 1902, the formerly temporary Census Office was made a permanent organization within the Department of the Interior. In 1903, it became the Census Bureau and was moved to the new Department of Commerce and Labor.

The transition from a temporary to a permanent agency was sometimes controversial. One of Congress’s goals in creating the new department was to centralize many of the overlapping statistical offices scattered throughout the bureaucracy; Census Bureau officials attempted, without much early success, to assume the role as chief statistical agency of the federal government. These aspirations were hindered, in part, by the Census Bureau’s subordinate position within the Department of Commerce and Labor.

Further Information

Information provided from Census.gov

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A History of the Census in the United States : Part 11

The Eleventh Census: Census Day was June 2, 1890.

Benjamin Harrison was President of the United States on Census Day, June 2, 1890.

Authorizing Legislation

An act signed into law March 1, 1889 authorized the census of 1890, which was modeled after the 1880 enumeration.

Enumeration

Because June 1 was a Sunday, the 1890 enumeration began on June 2. The census employed 175 supervisors, with one or more appointed to each state or territory, except Alaska and the Indian Territory. Subdivisions assigned to a single enumerator were not to exceed 4,000 inhabitants. In cities designated by 1880 census results to have populations under 10,000, the enumeration was to be completed within two weeks. Enumerators were required to collect all information required by the act by a personal visit to each dwelling and family.

The 1890 questionnaire retained almost all of the inquiries from the 1880 census, and a few new questions were added. The 1890 census included a greater number of subjects than any previous census and more than would be included in those immediately following. New entries included questions about ownership and indebtedness of farms and homes; the names, as well as units served in, length of service and residences of surviving Union soldiers and sailors and the names of the widows of those who had died. Another new question dealt with race, including “Japanese” as a category for the first time, along with “Chinese,” “Negro,” “mulatto,” “quadroon,” “octoroon,” and “white.”

The population schedule was changed so that a separate sheet was used for each family, irrespective of the number of persons included.

As in 1880, experts and special agents were hired to make special enumerations of manufactures, Indians living within the jurisdiction of the United States, and a separate enumeration of Alaska. Furthermore, the schedule collecting social statistics was withdrawn from enumerators; the work of obtaining statistics concerning mines and mining, fisheries, churches, education, insurance, transportation, and wealth, debt, and taxation, also was conducted by experts and special agents.

For the first time, enumerators were given detailed maps to follow so they could account for every street or road and not stray beyond their assigned boundaries.

Technological Advancement

The 1890 census was notable as the first in which the electric tabulating system, invented by former Census Office employee Herman Hollerith, was used. Tabulation of the 1880 census results took almost a decade to complete, and officials hoped Hollerith’s machine would alleviate delays caused by relying on hand counts and rudimentary tallying machines to process data.

Hollerith’s machine required information from the census questionnaires to be transferred to a card, which was hole-punched at various places to indicate the characteristics – age, sex, color, marital status, etc. – of a person enumerated. The cards were then run through an electronic tabulating machine, which, using metal pins to complete circuits through the punched holes, counted or cross-tabulated different characteristics.

Intercensal Activity

Robert P. Porter served as superintendent of census until his resignation on July 31, 1893. On October 3, 1893, Congress enacted a law that directed census-related work to continue under the direction of the commissioner of labor. On March 2, 1895, a further act of Congress closed the Census Office and transferred the unfinished work to the office of the secretary of the interior, where it continued until July 1, 1897.

Further Information

Information provided from Census.gov

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Friday Reads: Nebraska During the New Deal–The Federal Writers’ Project in the Cornhusker State by Marilyn Irvin Holt

I don’t generally read a lot of non-fiction, but occasionally I come across a title that really catches my Nebraska history eye: Nebraska During the New Deal : the Federal Writers Project in the Cornhusker State. And for those not already familiar with the writing of Marilyn Irvin Holt (The Orphan Trains, Children Of the Western Plains, and others), her meticulous research and insightful writing never disappoints. I highly recommend her newest title as another excellent example of the history of Nebraska and the Nebraska spirit.

As a New Deal program, the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) aimed to put unemployed writers, teachers, and librarians to work. The contributors were to collect information, write essays, conduct interviews, and edit material with the goal of producing guidebooks in each of the then forty-eight states and U.S. territories. Project administrators hoped that these guides, known as the American Guide Series, would promote a national appreciation for America’s history, culture, and diversity and preserve democracy at a time when militarism was on the rise and parts of the world were dominated by fascism.

Marilyn Irvin Holt focuses on the Nebraska project, which was one of the most prolific branches of the national program. Best remembered for its state guide and series of folklore and pioneer pamphlets, the project also produced town guides, published a volume on African Americans in Nebraska, and created an ethnic study of Italians in Omaha. In Nebraska during the New Deal Holt examines Nebraska’s contribution to the project, both in terms of its place within the national FWP as well as its operation in comparison to other state projects.  (University of Nebraska Press)

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A History of the Census in the United States : Part 10

The Tenth Census: Census Day was June 1, 1880.

Rutherford B. Hayes was President of the United States on Census Day, June 1, 1880.

Authorizing Legislation

The act authorizing the 1880 census gave supervision of the enumeration to a body of officers, known as supervisors of the census, who were specifically chosen for work on the census. The superintendent of the census and all supervisors were to be presidential appointees, subject to Senate confirmation. The terms of both were to expire when the census results were compiled and published.

Enumeration

Each supervisor was responsible for recommending the organization of his district for enumeration, choosing enumerators for the district and supervising their work, reviewing and transmitting the returns from the enumerators to the central census office, and overseeing the compensation for enumerators in each district.

The census act required each enumerator “to visit personally each dwelling house in his sub-division, and each family therein, and each individual living out of a family in any place of abode, and by inquiry made of the head of such family, or of the member there of deemed most credible and worthy of trust, or of such individual living out of a family, to obtain each and every item of information and all the particulars.” In case no one was available at a family’s usual place of abode, the enumerator was directed by the law “to obtain the required information, as nearly as may be practicable, from the family or families, or person or persons, living nearest to such place of abode.”

The census act also provided for the collection of detailed data on the condition and operation of railroad corporations, incorporated express companies, and telegraph companies, and of life, fire, and marine insurance companies (using Schedule No.4 – Social Statistics). Fines were to be imposed on officials of “every corporation…who shall…willfully neglect or refuse to give true and complete answers to any inquiries authorized by this act.”

In addition, the superintendent of census was required to collect and publish statistics of the population, industries, and resources of Alaska, with as much detail as was practical. An enumeration was also made of all untaxed Indians within the jurisdiction of the United States.

The 1880 decennial census was taken on five schedules: “Population,” “Mortality,” “Agriculture,” “Social Statistics,” and “Manufacturing.”

Further Information

Information provided from Census.gov

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A History of the Census in the United States : Part 9

The Ninth Census: Census Day was June 1, 1870.

Ulysses S. Grant was President of the United States on Census Day, June 1, 1870.

Authorizing Legislation

The 1870 Census was conducted under the authority of the Census Act of 1850. A new law, approved on May 6, 1870, called for two procedural changes: The marshals were to submit the returns from the population questionnaire to the Census Office by September 10, 1870; all other questionnaires were due by October 1, 1870. Additionally, penalties for refusing to reply to enumerator inquiries were expanded to cover all questions asked on all questionnaires.

Enumeration

The Census Office, and the position of superintending clerk were abolished in May 1865. A portion of the clerks engaged in census work transferred to the General Land Office, where work of the 1860 census was completed under the direction of the commissioner of the General Land Office

After the Civil War, the decennial census questionnaires were reordered and redesigned to account for end of the “slave questionnaire.” The schedules for the 1870 census were: “General Population,” “Mortality,” “Agriculture,” “Products of Industry,” and “Social Statistics.”

The secretary of interior selected General Francis A. Walker as superintendent of the ninth census on February 7, 1870. At the time of his appointment General Walker was chief of the Bureau of Statistics – an agency within the Treasury Department – and was one of several experts who had participated in the U.S. House of Representatives’ committee deliberations on the 1870 census. A capable administrator, Walker introduced examinations to test the qualifications of those applying for positions with the Census Office. Walker remained as superintendent until November 1871, when Congress’s failure to appropriate funds for his salary caused him to resign. Nevertheless, he continued overseeing census work as commissioner of Indian Affairs. Later, he resumed his duties as superintendent of the census, working without compensation.

The 1870 enumeration was completed by August 23, 1871.

Technological Advancement

By 1870, the job of tallying and tabulating questionnaire responses was becoming overly burdensome for the Census Office. This problem was partially alleviated with the use of a rudimentary tallying machine, invented by the chief clerk of the Census Office, and later superintendent, Charles W. Seaton.

Further Information

Information provided from Census.gov

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A History of the Census in the United States : Part 8

The Eighth Census: Census Day was June 1, 1860.

James Buchanan was President of the United States on Census Day, June 1, 1860.

Authorizing Legislation

The 1850 Census Act was the authorizing legislation for the 1860 census. That act had stipulated that, according to the recommendation of the secretary of the interior, its provisions were to be adhered to for all future decennial censuses if no new authorizing legislation was passed by January 1 of the year in which the census was required.

Intercensal Activity

The Census Office, and the position of superintending clerk were abolished in May 1865. A portion of the clerks engaged in census work transferred to the General Land Office, where work of the 1860 census was completed under the direction of the commissioner of the General Land Office

Further Information

Information provided from Census.gov

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A History of the Census in the United States : Part 7

The Seventh Census: Census Day was June 1, 1850.

Zachary Taylor was President of the United States on Census Day, June 1, 1850.

Authorizing Legislation

The Census Act of 1840 (signed into law on March 3, 1839 and amended by an act of February 26, 1840) authorized establishing a centralized census office during each enumeration. Congress left the design of the questionnaire to the discretion of the secretary of state, but specified that inquiries be made of each household. Subjects among the inquiries were to include “the pursuits, industry, education, and resources of the country.” New population inquiries included questions about school attendance, literacy, and vocation. In March 1849, Congress enacted a bill establishing a census board whose membership consisted of the secretary of state, the attorney general, and the postmaster general. The law authorized this board to prepare and cause to be printed such forms and schedules as may be necessary for the full enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States; it also authorized the board to prepare forms and schedules for collecting information on mines, agriculture, commerce, manufactures, education, and other topics, as well as “exhibit a full view of the pursuits, industry, education, and resources of the country.”

The seventh census was governed by the provisions of an act of May 23, 1850 that directed that six schedules be used to collect the information requested by the Congress. The act directed enumerators to return their results to the secretary of the interior by November 1, 1850.

Enumeration

The number of population inquiries grew in the 1850 census. Every free person’s name was to be listed, not just the head of the household. The marshals also collected additional “social statistics,” including information on taxes, schools, crime, wages, value of the estate, etc. and data on mortality.

Each marshal was also responsible for subdividing his district into “known civil divisions,” such as counties, townships, or wards, and ensuring that his assistants’ returns were completed properly.

Further Information

Information provided from Census.gov

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A History of the Census in the United States : Part 6

The Sixth Census: Census Day was June 1, 1840.

Martin Van Buren was President of the United States on Census Day, June 1, 1840.

Authorizing Legislation

The Census Act of 1840 (signed into law on March 3, 1839 and amended by an act of February 26, 1840) authorized establishing a centralized census office during each enumeration. Congress left the design of the questionnaire to the discretion of the secretary of state, but specified that inquiries be made of each household. Subjects among the inquiries were to include “the pursuits, industry, education, and resources of the country.” New population inquiries included questions about school attendance, literacy, and vocation.

Enumeration

The administration of the sixth census was very similar to that of the fifth. Enumeration began on June 1, 1840. Marshals were to receive two copies of the census receipts from enumerators by November 1, 1840, one of which was to be sent to the secretary of state by December 1, 1840.

Further Information

Information provided from Census.gov

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A History of the Census in the United States: Part 5

The Fifth Census: Census Day was June 1, 1830.

Andrew Jackson was President of the United States
on Census Day, June 1, 1830.

Authorizing Legislation

President John Q. Adams, in his fourth address to the U.S. Congress on December 28, 1828, recommended starting the census earlier in the year than August 1. He also proposed that the collection of age data be extended from infancy, in intervals of 10 years, “to the utmost boundaries of life.” These changes were incorporated into the census act of March 23, 1830.

Enumeration

As in the previous census, marshals or their assistants visited every dwelling house for enumeration, or, as the law stated, made a personal inquiry of the head of every family in their district. Because of delays in the compilation of the census returns, the filing date was extended to August 1, 1831.

In 1830, enumerators used uniform printed schedules for the first time. In prior censuses, marshals had used whatever paper was available and had designed and bound the sheets themselves. Because federal census clerks did not have to sort through a huge variety of schedules in 1830, they were able to tabulate census results more efficiently.

The 1830 census counted the population only. After the failures of the past two censuses, no attempt was made to collect additional data on manufacturing and industry in the United States.

Further Information

Information provided from Census.gov

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Resources for Libraries and the 2020 Census

Apply by Nov. 22 for Library Census Equity Fund

The American Library Association (ALA) is accepting applications for Library Census Equity Fund mini-grants until Nov. 22. ALA will provide 25 libraries with $2,000 mini-grants to bolster their service to hard-to-count communities and help achieve a complete count in the 2020 Census.

Census hiring: Nov. 6 webinar and new tip sheet

The U.S. Census Bureau is currently hiring 500,000 temporary workers for the 2020 Census through an online application process. To achieve a complete count in the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau needs to recruit qualified and diverse applicants in every part of the country. To learn how libraries can promote awareness of 2020 Census job opportunities, register for ALA’s free webinar on Nov. 6 and read ALA’s new tip sheet, “How Can My Library Increase Awareness of 2020 Census Hiring?” (PDF).

Preparing your library for the Census: Nov. 14 webinar and new tip sheet

With the 2020 Census just a few months away, how can libraries prepare, and what funding sources may be available to support libraries’ preparations and activities? Learn more at ALA’s free webinar on Nov. 14 and read ALA’s new tip sheet, “Preparing My Library for the 2020 Census” (PDF).

Trustees invited to become Library Census Champions

Library Census Champions is a new network of state, local and tribal library Trustees helping their libraries and communities prepare for the 2020 Census. Elected and appointed library Trustees can sign up to become a Library Census Champion and receive free information, resources, and actions to take to ensure a fair and accurate census. To learn more about this program, Register to watch the recording on-demand.

Census resources from ALACheck ala.org/census for updates through the 2020 Census as ALA continues to add new resources. For instance, find Libraries Transform images, template presentation slides (PPTX) and presenter notes (PDF)

Upcoming events

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A History of the Census in the United States: Part 4

The Fourth Census: Census Day was August 7, 1820.

James Monroe was President of the United States
on Census Day, August 7, 1820.

Authorizing Legislation

The fourth census was taken in accordance with the census act of March 14, 1820, which required more detailed population-related inquiries than earlier enumerations. This census is notable for being the first to inquire if respondents were engaged in agriculture, commerce, or manufacturing.

Enumeration

The enumeration began on the first Monday of August. Its scheduled six-month completion time frame was extended by about seven months to September 1, 1821. As in previous decades, the 1820 census act again required assistant marshals to visit every dwelling house, or head of every family within their designated districts.

Data relating to manufacturing were collected by assistants in each district, sent to the marshals, and then transmitted to the secretary of state along with the population returns. The report on manufacturing presented the data for these establishments by counties, but the results were not summarized for each district and the aggregate statement that was released was based on incomplete returns. The 1820 manufacturing census suffers the same criticism as that in 1810: Poor enumerator training resulted in dramatic variations in data quality and accuracy.

Further Information

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November is Native American Heritage Month

November is National American Indian Heritage MonthThe Library of Congress, 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 join in paying tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans.

Visit the National American Indian Heritage Month website to view a Calendar of Events, Exhibits and Collections, Audio and Video, Resources for Teachers, Images, and much more!

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Book Briefs: New University of Nebraska Press Books at the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse

The Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse receives documents every month from all Nebraska state agencies, including the University of Nebraska Press (UNP).  Each month we will be showcasing the UNP books that the Clearinghouse receives.                UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians, for their patrons, in Nebraska.

Here are the UNP books the Clearinghouse received in October:

Back to America : Identity, Political Culture, and the Tea Party Movement                                                                                                    William H. Westermeyer                                                                                (Series: Anthropology of Contemporary North America)

Back to America is an ethnography of local activist groups within the Tea Party, one of the most important recent political movements to emerge in the United States and one that continues to influence American politics. Though often viewed as the brainchild of conservative billionaires and Fox News, the success of the Tea Party movement was as much, if not more, the result of everyday activists at the grassroots level. William H. Westermeyer traces how local Tea Party groups (LTPGs) create submerged spaces where participants fashion action-oriented collective and personal political identities forged in the context of cultural or figured worlds. These figured worlds allow people to establish meaningful links between their own lives and concerns, on the one hand, and the movement’s goals and narratives, on the other. Collectively, the production and circulation of the figured worlds within LTPGs provide the basis for subjectivities that often nurture political activism.

Westermeyer reveals that LTPGs are vibrant and independent local organizations that, while constantly drawing on nationally disseminated cultural images and discourses, are far from simple agents of the larger organizations and the media. Back to America offers a welcome anthropological approach to this important social movement and to our understanding of grassroots political activism writ large.

Franz Boas : The Emergence of the Anthropologist                          Rosemary Levy Zumwalt                                                                            (Series: Critical Studies in the History of Anthropology)

Rosemary Lévy Zumwalt tells the remarkable story of Franz Boas, one of the leading scholars and public intellectuals of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The first book in a two-part biography, Franz Boas begins with the anthropologist’s birth in Minden, Germany, in 1858 and ends with his resignation from the American Museum of Natural History in 1906, while also examining his role in training professional anthropologists from his berth at Columbia University in New York City.

Zumwalt follows the stepping-stones that led Boas to his vision of anthropology as a four-field discipline, a journey demonstrating especially his tenacity to succeed, the passions that animated his life, and the toll that the professional struggle took on him. Zumwalt guides the reader through Boas’s childhood and university education, describes his joy at finding the great love of his life, Marie Krackowizer, traces his 1883 trip to Baffin Land, and recounts his efforts to find employment in the United States. A central interest in the book is Boas’s widely influential publications on cultural relativism and issues of race, particularly his book The Mind of Primitive Man (1911), which reshaped anthropology, the social sciences, and public debates about the problem of racism in American society.

Franz Boas presents the remarkable life story of an American intellectual giant as told in his own words through his unpublished letters, diaries, and field notes. Zumwalt weaves together the strands of the personal and the professional to reveal Boas’s love for his family and for the discipline of anthropology as he shaped it.

Skin Memory                                                                                                John Sibley Williams                                                                                (Series: Backwaters Prize in Poetry)

A stark, visceral collection of free verse and prose poetry, Skin Memory scours a wild landscape haunted by personal tragedy and the cruel consequences of human acts in search of tenderness and regeneration. In this book of daring and introspection, John Sibley Williams considers the capriciousness of youth, the terrifying loss of cultural identity and self-identity, and what it means to live in an imperfect world. He reveals each body as made up of all bodies, histories, and shared dreams of the future.

In these poems absence can be held, the body’s dust is just dust, and though childhood is but a poorly edited memory and even our well-intentioned gestures tend toward ruin, Williams nonetheless says, “I’m pretty sure, everything within us says something beautiful.”

Terrorizing Gender : Transgender Visibility and the Surveillance Practices of the U.S. Security States                                                    Mia Fischer                                                                                            (Series: Expanding Frontiers: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality)

The increased visibility of transgender people in mainstream media, exemplified by Time magazine’s declaration that 2014 marked a “transgender tipping point,” was widely believed to signal a civil rights breakthrough for trans communities in the United States. In Terrorizing Gender Mia Fischer challenges this narrative of progress, bringing together transgender, queer, critical race, legal, surveillance, and media studies to analyze the cases of Chelsea Manning, CeCe McDonald, and Monica Jones. Tracing how media and state actors collude in the violent disciplining of these trans women, Fischer exposes the traps of visibility by illustrating that dominant representations of trans people as deceptive, deviant, and threatening are integral to justifying, normalizing, and reinforcing the state-sanctioned violence enacted against them.

The heightened visibility of transgender people, Fischer argues, has actually occasioned a conservative backlash characterized by the increased surveillance of trans people by the security state, evident in debates over bathroom access laws, the trans military ban, and the rescission of federal protections for transgender students and workers. Terrorizing Gender concludes that the current moment of trans visibility constitutes a contingent cultural and national belonging, given the gendered and racialized violence that the state continues to enact against trans communities, particularly those of color.

**All synopses courtesy of University of Nebraska Press  (https://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/)

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2020 Census: The Law Is Clear–Personal Information Cannot Be Shared

The mission of the Census Bureau is to serve as the nation’s leading provider of quality statistics about its people and economy. They couldn’t produce this information without you. Responsible data stewardship is how they maintain your trust. Being responsible stewards of your data is not only required by law but also embedded in their culture.

The Law Protects Your Information. Under Title 13 of the U.S. Code, your information must be kept confidential, and your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court. Anyone who violates this law faces severe penalties.

They Use Cutting-Edge Safeguards To Protect Your Identity. They do not identify individuals in the statistics they publish. Their policies and safeguards help them ensure the confidentiality of your information. Our Disclosure Review Board verifies that any product they release meets their confidentiality standards. Click on the link to learn more about the U.S Census Bureau’s Data Protection and Privacy Program: Find Out More.

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Resources for Veterans, their Families, Caregivers, and Survivors

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs websites offer many resources for Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors.

For example, the U.S. VA website offers information on GI Bill benefits, Healthcare, Disability, Education, Veterans Day information and discounts, a website to help find old service friends, informational podcasts and webinars, and much, much more. You can even sign up for email updates to receive the latest news about VA benefits.

The Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs website offers similar information, but more specifically for Nebraska Veterans. Job Fairs in Nebraska, general veterans employment, who to contact for veterans financial aid, tuition aid, and a guide to disability claims & appeals, just to name a few.

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November Health Outreach Resources

November is …

  • National Family Health History Month
  • National American Indian Heritage Month
  • American Diabetes Month

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine has just released resources to help you plan health programs and promote health information during November. Links include a program kit, webinars, electronic bulletin slides, posters, and social media materials. Visit this page for more details: https://nnlm.gov/all-of-us/national-health-observances#toc-9.

Healthfinder.gov offers a toolkit for American Diabetes Month. The toolkit provides ideas for hosting a community event, and resources to share health information through your website, newsletter, or social media. Visit this page for more details: https://healthfinder.gov/NHO/NovemberToolkit.aspx.

Christian Minter, MSLIS
Community Engagement and Health Literacy Librarian
Coordinator of Circulation Services
Assistant Professor
McGoogan Library of Medicine
University of Nebraska Medical Center
986705 Nebraska Medical Center | Omaha, NE 68198-6705
402-559-7226

christian.minter@unmc.edu

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Rural Nebraska Communities have Access to $2.2 Million for Disaster Recovery Due to FEMA-Major Disaster Declarations

Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 22, 2019 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Nebraska State Director Karl Elmshaeuser announced that Nebraska has been allocated with nearly $2.2 million in grants available through the Community Facilities Program to help rural communities continue in their recovery from the devastating effects of FEMA declared disasters in Nebraska.

“Nebraska has been hit hard by the devastating weather, with 83 of our counties receiving Major Disaster Declarations,” Elmshaeuser said. “USDA works hard to help communities thrive and this funding supports in their long-term recovery.”

The $2.2 million is included in the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act that President Trump signed into law on June 6, 2019.

Nebraska declared counties are: Adams, Antelope, Banner, Blaine, Boone, Box Butte, Boyd, Brown, Buffalo, Burt, Butler, Cass, Cedar, Cherry, Cheyenne, Clay, Colfax, Cuming, Custer, Dakota, Dawes, Dawson, Deuel, Dixon, Dodge, Douglas, Fillmore, Franklin, Frontier, Furnas, Gage, Garden, Garfield, Gosper, Greeley, Hall, Hamilton, Harlan, Holt, Howard, Jefferson, Johnson, Kearney, Keith, Keya Paha, Kimball, Knox, Lancaster, Lincoln, Logan, Loup, Madison, Merrick, Morrill, Nance, Nemaha, Nuckolls, Omaha Indian Reservation, Otoe, Pawnee, Phelps, Pierce, Platte, Polk, Ponca TDSA, Richardson, Rock, Sac and Fox Indian Reservation, Saline, Santee Indian Reservation, Sarpy, Saunders, Scotts Bluff, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Stanton, Thayer, Thomas, Thurston, Valley, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Wheeler, Winnebago Indian Reservation, and York.

Grant applications will be accepted at USDA Rural Development Attn: Community Programs; 100 Centennial Mall North; Federal Building Room 308; Lincoln, Neb. 68508. Applications will be accepted on a continual basis until funds are exhausted. Grant assistance will be provided on a graduated scale; smaller communities with the lowest median household income are eligible for a higher proportion of grant funds. For application details and additional information, see page 47477 of the Sept. 10 Federal Register. In Nebraska, contact your local Rural Development Community Program Staff.

More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes.

Projects must be in eligible rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a cornerstone recommendation of the task force.

To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

*USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

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The Census and Special Districts in the U.S.

From Municipalities to Special Districts, Official Count of Every Type of Local Government is in the 2017 Census of Governments.

We know what counties and municipalities are. But what are special districts?  

Special districts are independent government units created for a limited, specific purpose and, every year, new districts are created and existing ones dissolve.

The latest in-depth, encyclopedic count of special districts and all types of local governments in the United States is now available.

Released earlier this year, the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 Census of Governments Organization component provides statistics on governments in the United States as of June 2017 and shows changes since the last count in 2012.

Tables show counts by government type, state, population-size groups, function and school systems. 

Local governments are classified into five types: county, municipal, township, special districts and school districts.  

County, municipal and township governments are general-purpose governments. The official count for those types of governments has not changed significantly since 2012.

Then there are special districts.

They typically have a shorter lifespan and higher turnover than general purpose governments, but the difference in their counts was also relatively slim between 2012 and 2017: The 2017 Census of Governments added more than 1,500 special districts and removed roughly 1,260 that are no longer operating.

Nebraska Examples of Special Districts

Airport Authorities, Cemetery Districts, Community Building Districts, County Fair Boards, Drainage Districts, Hospital Districts and Authorities, Housing Agencies, Interstate County Bridge Commissions, Irrigation Districts, Joint Electric Power, Sewerage and Solid Waste Disposal, Water Distribution Agencies—1981 Law, Joint Public Power Authorities—1982 Law, Metropolitan Transit Authority, Metropolitan Utilities Districts, Natural Resources Districts, Public Power Districts, Reclamation Districts, Risk Management Pools, Road and Street Improvement Districts—1957 and 1961 Laws, Rural and Suburban Fire Protection Districts, Rural Water Districts, and Sanitary and Improvement Districts.

Why So Many New Special Districts?

So why are states creating special districts these days?  

In some cases, states create them to provide services to newly- developed geographic areas.

In other cases, the special purpose activity or services already exist, but residents expect a higher level of quality.  

For example, a state may have fire protection services. However, the established governmental structure may not legally allow the fire district to raise enough funds to maintain the desired level of quality services.  

That’s when a state may choose to create a special district. Most special districts can levy additional property or sales taxes, and may borrow money to buy or build facilities by issuing bonds.  

Some districts are only active for a limited time, usually as long as it takes to pay back a debt.

Multifunction Districts

Between the 2012 and 2017 census, multifunction districts grew the most.  

Multifunction districts can collect property taxes and issue tax-exempt bonds. Legislation authorizing multifunction districts was passed in most states across the nation in the 1980s.

For example:

  • In Colorado, the 2017 Census of Governments added close to 270 metropolitan districts to the master list of local governments in the state.  

Metropolitan districts can provide a wide array of services, such as fire protection, street improvements, recreation, mosquito control and television relay services.  

These districts can collect property taxes and issue public debt. That’s why it’s important to keep track of public funds controlled by these districts.  

Most of the metropolitan districts in Colorado are development districts created to provide funding for development projects.

  • In Texas, multifunction districts, called Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs), also showed growth. The 2017 Census of Governments added nearly 200 units to the master list of local governments in Texas.  

MUDs provide a variety of utility services in areas not included in a municipality. These districts can finance developing infrastructure and housing.

MUDs can incur public debts in the form of bonds to finance infrastructure and/or housing, and may dissolve in 15 to 25 years after the debt is paid in full.  

As in Colorado, developers who see public-private partnerships as business opportunities usually drive the creation of multifunction districts.  

Development And Water Supply Districts

Financing capital improvement was the leading force behind special district growth in Florida.  

The 2017 Census of Governments added about 130 new Community Development Districts (CDD). In Florida, CDDs may finance a variety of community development projects, such as new sewage facilities.  

The 2017 Individual State Descriptions publication provides a comprehensive description of the governmental organization for the 50 states and the District of Columbia.  

Some of these districts are similar to Community Improvement Associations (CIAs) in size and scale of operations. Both are a result of the housing boom from 2003 to 2008.

The major difference is that CDDs are considered public government units that enjoy some tax exemptions, although this comes with other regulations and required transparency in governing these districts.

The 2017 Census of Governments data also reflect the creation of more water supply districts in New Mexico. Over 150 Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Associations were included as special district governments since the last census. Other states, including California, Arkansas, Missouri and Washington, also added between 10 to 20 water supply districts.

Fire And Emergency Services Districts

Nationally, Emergency Services Districts (ESD) that provide local fire protection and ambulance services have grown this decade: 150 were created from 2012 to 2017 — 130 of them in Texas.  

The increase is centered in areas experiencing the fastest population growth in the country since the 2010 Census.

Often, ESDs are organized as a funding tool for existing volunteer fire departments.  These allow volunteer fire districts to collect additional property and sales taxes to provide service to their expanding communities.

It can be challenging to find fire-fighting funding in areas losing population and experiencing declining property values.

In Arizona, for example, laws passed in 2013 allow fire districts to consolidate into fire authorities to reduce overhead costs. The 2017 Census of Governments shows 14 new joint fire authorities in Ohio.  

Some township volunteer fire departments have recently begun to combine personnel, equipment and property tax revenue to become official special district governments.

Another way districts can improve emergency response and rescue operations is by creating Emergency Communications (911) Districts to help coordinate resources between municipalities, counties and other local governments.

Some states, including Texas, Iowa, and Oregon, have had them since 1985. Others like Washington and Massachusetts have recently introduced laws enabling citizens to create 911 districts.

Download the Individual State Descriptions: 2017 Census of Governments

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A History of the Census in the United States : Part 3

The 3rd Census: Census Day was August 6, 1810

James Madison was President of the United States on Census Day, August 6, 1810.

Authorizing Legislation

The authorization act for the third census stipulated that an assistant marshal must actually visit each household, or the head of each family, within his designated enumeration district and should not rely on hearsay or the like to complete his count. The act also mandated that the enumeration commence on the first Monday of August.

Enumeration

An act of May 1, 1810 amended the earlier authorizing legislation to require that, while they were collecting demographic data, assistant marshals also collect available economic data. These men recorded the “several manufacturing establishments and manufactures within their several districts, territories, and divisions.” The marshals transmitted the manufacturing data to the secretary of the treasury at the same time they sent the results of the population enumeration to the secretary of state. No schedule was prescribed for the collection of industrial data and the nature of the inquiries were at the discretion of the secretary of the treasury. Because of this, the collection of manufacturing data was so erratic that it was generally considered useless except to identify broad industrial trends.

Intercensal Activity

An act of May 16, 1812, provided for the publication of a digest of manufactures containing data on the kind, quality, and value of goods manufactured, the number of establishments, and the number of machines of various kinds used in certain classes of manufactures. The report containing incomplete returns for more than 200 kinds of goods and including several items that were principally agricultural, was published in 1813.

Further Information

Information provided from Census.gov

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A History of the Census in the United States : Part 2

The 2nd Census: Census Day was August 4, 1800

John Adams was President of the United States on Census Day, August 4, 1800.

Authorizing Legislation

An act of February 28, 1800 authorized the second census of the United States, which was to include the states and territories northwest of the Ohio River and Mississippi Territory. The census was to conclude within nine calendar months of its start.

The guidelines for the 1800 enumeration followed those of the first census, with only minor alterations in the law. John Marshall, secretary of state in 1800, was the nominal head of census operations. By early 1801, however, Marshall was chief justice of the Supreme Court. James Madison, his successor as secretary of state, oversaw the final tabulations and reported population totals to Congress and the president.

Enumeration

The questionnaire provided space to separately tally free white males and females in several age categories: under 10, 10 but under 15, 16 but under 25, 25 but under 45, and over 45. Indians, slaves, and free blacks were listed in single categories undivided into age groups.

Further Information

Information provided from Census.gov

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