Posted by & filed under Hot Docs.

Plum Book Hot Off the PressThe most exclusive want ad in the nation was released this Monday morning.

Every four years, in order to ease the transition after each presidential election, the United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions—popularly known as the “Plum Book” because of the plum government jobs it lists—is released to the public. It lists thousands of federal civil service leadership and support positions (both vacant and currently filled) in the legislative and executive branches of the federal government that may be subject to noncompetitive appointment.

Positions listed in the Plum Book include agency heads and their immediate subordinates, policy executives and advisors, and aides who report to these officials. The Plum Book lists jobs by department, the type of appointment for each position, names of current incumbents in many of the positions, and salary levels.

The duties of many such positions may involve promoting the new administration’s policies and programs, and the incumbents usually have a close and confidential working relationship with the agency head or other key officials.

Source of the Data

The data in the Plum Book comes from the Executive Schedule C System (ESCS), a restricted database maintained by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and used to store information on federal employees in the Senior Executive Service (SES) as well as appointed employees in the Schedule C System.

Members of the SES serve in key positions just below the top presidential appointees and are the major link between these appointees and the rest of the federal workforce. They operate and oversee nearly every government activity in approximately 75 federal agencies.

Schedule C appointees keep a confidential or policy-determining relationship to their supervisor and agency head and are therefore political, non-competitive appointments. The authority to fill a Schedule C job is usually revoked when the incumbent leaves, and the agency must have specific approval from OPM to establish or reestablish the position.

The information from the ECSC may be slightly modified by the Government Publishing Office before publication, based on additional information they have.

History of the Plum Book

Publication of the Plum Book dates back to 1952, when the newly-elected Republican president Dwight Eisenhower wondered how many positions he could fill after ending a twenty-year run of Democrat presidential administrations. His list lasted him for two terms, but from 1960 to the present this list of political appointments has been issued every four years, whether there is a new president or not.

Although it is published every four years, those issues that coincide with the election of a new president always attract more attention than issues that coincide with an incumbent president’s second term, where there are not likely to be as many changes in personnel.

Earlier editions of the Plum Book had covers of Sand Gray or Killarney Green, but in 2000 someone had the clever idea of releasing it with a Plum cover, and the covers have been issued in that color ever since.

Where to Find the Plum Book

The Plum Book is alternately the responsibility of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The latest edition was compiled by the Senate committee and was issued both in print and online on Monday morning by the Government Publishing Office (GPO).

  • Print copies may be ordered online from the S. Government Bookstore or may be available for viewing at your local depository library.
  • A digital copy was released simultaneously with the hardcopy at the govinfo.gov Web site. For now, a digital copy is also available at GPO’s soon-to-be-obsolete FDsys Web site.
  • Use the Plum Book Mobile Web app to read the Plum Book on your phone, tablet, or other mobile device.
  • An online archive of Plum Books are online back to 1996 are also available on the govinfo.gov Web site.

How to Apply

All those wishing to apply for positions in the Trump-Pence transition, Executive Office of the President, or a federal department, agency or commission should follow the instructions on the presidential transition Web site at https://www.greatagain.gov/serve-america.html

After January 20, those aspiring to any of these positions will need to apply with the Office of Presidential Personnel.

Do You Want to Know More?

Getting Ready for 2017: An Introduction to the Plum Book provides a succinct explanation of what kinds of jobs are posted in the Plum Book and how the application and approval process works.

Jockeying for ‘Plum’ Federal Appointments May Begin Earlier in 2016 suggests seven steps to optimize one’s chances of landing one of these plum jobs.

If you have any questions about the Plum Book, contact the Eagle Commons Library, where the staff will be pleased to assist you.

 

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Image of Plum Book coming off the press from the GPO Instagram account.

Posted by & filed under Hot Docs.

supermoon-2016This Monday, November 14, will be for many a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a spectacular Lunar event: the closest Full Moon to Earth since 1948. If you miss this sight now, you won’t have an opportunity to see another Super Moon of comparable magnitude until 2034, assuming you and the world last that long!

What Is a Super Moon?

The Moon’s orbit around the Earth takes the form of an ellipse, which means the Moon’s distance from the Earth varies considerably throughout the year. The point of the Moon’s orbit closest to the Earth is called the perigee, and that farthest from the Earth is the apogee. When a Full Moon appears close to the perigee, it is popularly referred to as a Super Moon, since it appears to be somewhat larger and brighter than normal. In order for a Super Moon to occur, the Sun, Earth, and Moon must lie in almost a straight line in relation to each other, an astronomical phenomenon known as a syzygy. The technical term for a Super Moon is perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system.

The term “Super Moon” is not an official astronomical designation. In fact, professional astronomers often bristle at the term, since Super Moons in general are not particularly rare or particularly “super,” and the term itself was coined not by an astronomer, but by Richard Nolle, a practitioner of the pseudoscience of astrology.

When and Where to See the Super Moon

The Super Moon will reach its maximum fullness on Monday morning, Nov. 14, at 8:52 a.m. EST (1352 GMT), but it will also appear full the evenings before and after the main event. Go to the timeanddate.com Web site to see the exact time for the Super Moon in your location.

This is the second of three consecutive Super Moons in 2016. The next one will be on December 13, at 7:05 p.m. EST (0005 GMT on December 14).

How to Shoot the Super Moon

Bill Ingalls, NASA’s senior photographer, offers the following advice on how to take an effective photograph of the supermoon:

  • Juxtapose the moon with a local landmark on earth, such as a well-known monument or building. This will provide a sense of scale.
  • Scout out a good vantage point, such as one away from city lights, and be aware of exactly where the moon will be rising so that your camera will be in the correct position when it happens.
  • Personalize the experience by including friends or family members in the shot. You can make someone appear to be holding the moon or balancing it on their head, for example.
  • Keep in mind that moonlight is reflected sunlight, and that the moon is a moving object. For digital DLR photography, use the daylight white balance setting; if using a long-focus lens, balance the need for a long exposure with the need for a fast shutter speed. If you are taking a picture with a phone, “Tap the screen and hold your finger on the object (in this case, the moon) to lock the focus. Then slide your finger up or down to darken or lighten the exposure.”
  • Be creative!

These Web sites provide further information on how to obtain a professional photograph of the moon:

How-To: Photograph the Moon (Popular Photography)

How to Photograph the Moon (With 10 Great Examples) (Light Stalking)

Do You Want to Know More?

These Web sites served as sources for this article and include more detailed information on Monday’s Super Moon:

November Supermoon a Spectacular Sight (NASA)

Supermoon: Closest Full Moon to Earth Since 1948 (timeanddate.com)

2016 Ends with Three Supermoons (NASA)

 

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Image of Super Moon from NASA Instagram page.

Posted by & filed under Get Help, Local Doings, Make a Difference.

VoteAs in many other locations, the turnout for early voting in Denton County reached a record high this election season. You still have one more chance to vote in the year’s presidential election, but time is running out! Polls in Denton County are open on November 8, 2016 from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

If you don’t live in Denton County, but would like to know where to vote or have other questions about the November 8 election, go to voteplz or the Federal Election Commission Election Day Links for information.

Where to Vote

The voting locations for Election Day are different from those for early voting. If you vote today it must be in the polling place designated for the precinct where you are registered. If you don’t know where your polling place is, go to the Denton County Elections Administration’s Election Day Polling Sites database to look it up by your voter name and birthdate or by the address where you are registered.

Bring Your ID

Be sure to bring an acceptable form of ID to the polling place. If you don’t have an approved form of identification you still have some options, but read the rules carefully and call the county elections office for clarification if you are still not sure about them.

Any Special Needs?

On September 1, 1999, when House Bill No. 1053 of the 76th Legislature went into effect, Texas became the first state to require that all new voting systems be accessible to voters with disabilities and provide a practical and effective means for voters with disabilities to cast a secret ballot. When you go to the polls in Texas, your polling place will be expected to meet strict accessibility standards. You can even have someone bring your ballot out to your car if you have difficulty walking or standing. It is recommended that you either bring an assistant with you or call the polling place ahead of time to make sure the officials are expecting you.

If you don’t speak English, or only speak sign language, you are allowed to bring an interpreter with you to the polling place.

For more information, see the Voters with Special Needs page at VoteTexas.gov.

Don’t Be Misled

Be aware that there are some people putting out false information and engaging in other deceptive election practices and voter intimidation tactics in order to keep potential voters away from the polls. For example, they may try to persuade you that you can text or tweet your vote, or they may try to prevent you from entering the polling place if you don’t have a photo ID. Some advertisements may contain misleading information about the date of the election.

If you have problems voting and suspect election fraud, there are several voter protection resources to help you.

Watch the Returns with Us

elections-watch-partyThe UNT Libraries Government Information Connection will be sponsoring an Election Returns Watch Party after the election. Join us in the Willis Forum to watch election returns as they happen. Bring your homework and order a pizza — we think it’s going to be a long night!

When

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 — 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Where

Willis Library Forum (Room 140)

Contact the UNT Government Information Connection for more details.

Do You Want to Know More?

If you have any questions about voting on Election Day, call the Denton County Elections Administration at (940) 349-3200, or visit one of the following Web sites:

Election Connection (UNT Libraries)

Election Day Voting (Denton County Elections Administration)

VoteTexas.gov (Texas Secretary of State)

Texas Elections Division (Texas Secretary of State)

Election Day Links (Federal Election Commission)

 

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Albino Squirrel Vote Button and “Election Watch Party” image from UNT Government Information Connection Web page.

Posted by & filed under Get Help, Local Doings, Make a Difference.

The official Election Day is November 8 this year, but UNT students, faculty, and staff who live in Denton County will have an opportunity to beat the crowds and vote early in the 2016 General Election without even leaving the Denton campus. Other voters from the community who are registered in Denton County will also be allowed to vote early on the UNT Denton campus.

Time and Place

From Monday, October 24 to Friday, November 4, the UNT Libraries, in cooperation with the Denton County Elections Administration, will host an early voting location at the UNT Gateway Center. Visitors can park on campus for a fee.

The Gateway Center voting area will be open at the following times:

Monday–Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Monday–Friday

October 24–28

October 29

October 30

October 31–November 4

8 a.m.–5 p.m.

7 a.m.–7 p.m.

1 p.m.–6 p.m.

7 a.m.–7 p.m.

If the Gateway Center location is not convenient, residents of Denton County may also vote at any of a number of other Early Voting Locations during these dates.

NOTE: If you wait until Election Day (Tuesday, November 8th), you will need to vote in your designated precinct.

Candidates and Issues

Voter’s Guide from the League of Women Voters of Denton is available to help you become a more responsible voter by learning about the candidates and issues being voted on.

You can get a sample ballot by entering your identifying information in the Denton County Voter Lookup database.

Are You Registered to Vote?

To find out if you are registered in Denton County, go to the Denton County Voter Lookup database.

To find out if you are registered in Texas, go to the Secretary of State’s Vote Texas site.

If you are registered in another Texas county you cannot vote in Denton County, but you can request a mail-in ballot from your home county election administration if you are not going to be in the area during the voting period.

If you think you should be registered, but don’t know for sure or have questions, contact the Texas Secretary of State at 1-800-252-VOTE.

Don’t Forget Your ID

In 2011 the Texas Legislature passed a Texas Voter ID Law that required certain specific forms of identification in order to vote in a Texas election.

On August 10, 2016, a federal district court entered an order that partially ruled against the constitutionality of this law. The court order relaxed the voter identification requirements for all elections held in Texas after August 10, 2016 until further notice.

These are the acceptable forms of photo ID:

With the exception of the U.S. citizenship certificate, the photo ID must be current or have expired no more than four years ago.

If you don’t have one of these forms of ID, you may fill out a Reasonable Impediment Declaration at the polling place and present it with one of the following forms of ID:

  • Valid voter registration certificate
  • Certified birth certificate (must be an original)
  • Current utility bill
  • Bank statement
  • Government check
  • Paycheck
  • Any government document with your name and an address (original required if it contains a photograph)

Do You Want to Know More?

Information about voter registration, voting rights, special needs, and other issues related to voting in Texas is available at the Texas Secretary of State’s VoteTexas.gov page.

Learn more about the upcoming elections at the Denton County Elections Administration Web site and the Texas Elections Division Web site.

Contact Julie Leuzinger, the UNT Political Science Librarian, if you have any questions.

 

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Photo of UNT Gateway Center by UNT/URCM Photography.

Posted by & filed under Data about Databases, Get Help, Make a Difference.

FGIOne of the most interesting government information sites originates neither from a government agency nor from a depository library.

Free Government Information (FGI) is a private, non-governmental project for encouraging interaction and consensus building among libraries, government agencies, non-profits, researchers, journalists, and others who have an interest in promoting and preserving free and permanent access to government information. Ever since it was launched in 2004, FGI has promoted free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy, and research.

It is a well-known irony of the digital age that the production of information has never been more copious, and the dissemination of information has never been easier, yet finding the information one needs and preserving information for present and future generations seems to grow more and more difficult with each passing year. Although few government documents are published in tangible formats anymore, and access to those documents is theoretically available to anyone in the world who has access to a computer, depository libraries are not obsolete just yet. FGI provides a forum for discussing the evolving nature of the traditional role of depository libraries in acquiring, maintaining, and providing access to government information, and gives every stakeholder a voice in the continuing debate over government information policy.

Here are some of the resources available through the FGI Web site:

FGI Library

This is a list of presentations, white papers, published articles, and major commentaries and analyses by FGI volunteers. Blog posts on FGI provide announcements, commentaries, and rapid, in-depth analyses of and responses to pertinent reports and proposed legislation. They provide up-to-date information and informed discussion on current events, research trends, cutting-edge technologies, and related issues such as copyright, digitization, and the right to privacy.

Less Access to Less Information by and about the U.S. Government

In the 80s and 90s, Anne Heanue and others at the Washington Office of the American Library Association (ALA) published a series of books that chronicled efforts to restrict and privatize government information from the public during those years. This resource contains the texts of those reports, along with more recent FGI posts that document ongoing efforts to restrict, alter, remove, and privatize government information.  Readers are also invited to contribute their own findings.

Lost Docs Blog

Not all federal documents have been cataloged and distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). Those documents which have not been cataloged and/or distributed through the FDLP are known as “fugitive documents,” or “lost docs.” Fugitive documents can be reported to the Government Publishing Office (GPO) via their Lost Docs Reporting Form, so that these potentially valuable resources can be cataloged and archived, and thereby saved from permanent oblivion.

The Lost Docs Blog provides a public listing of fugitive documents that have been reported to GPO. Not all federal documents are within the scope of the FDLP, but nearly any published federal document qualifies for GPO’s national bibliography.

Writer’s Guide to Government Information: Creative Promotion

If you are a fiction writer or screenwriter, you know how tricky it can be to get the details right in your stories. Government documents can be an excellent source of this type of information. Although there are exceptions in certain areas of controversy, for the most part government documents provide an objective, balanced treatment of a subject and are written by experts either in the government or in the private sector. For some subject, such as space travel or U.S. military history, you won’t find any more reliable and convenient resources than government documents.

Free State Government Information

Works of the U.S. government are generally not protected by copyright in the United States and are automatically in the public domain (17 U.S.C. § 105); however, there are numerous exceptions and refinements to this rule. For a detailed explanation of how copyright law is applied to government publications, see Frequently Asked Questions about Copyright: 3.0 U.S. Government Works and 4.0 Works Created Under a Federal Contract or Grant on the CENDI Web site.

State documents, on the other hand, are much less likely to be in the public domain. State agencies are free to claim copyright to their publications, and even if they do not actively place a copyright notice on their publications, 17 U.S.C. § 102(a) automatically places them under copyright. Most state laws are ambiguous and often unknown, even by agencies within their state. FSGI is seeking to clarify these policies and ensure the widest possible access and use of state government information.

Best. Titles. Ever.

This Tumblr microblog collects examples of copyright-free government documents that have unusual, attention-getting titles. The titles might be funny, intriguing, convoluted, ingenious, or any combination of the above. Sometimes the title merely contains an amusing typo (e.g., The Impact of Computer Aliens along the Mexican and Canadian Borders). Others provide a look into the attitudes and assumptions of another era (Occupations Suitable for Women).

Here are just a few samples of the titles collected so far:

Would You Like to Know More?

Contact FGI if you would like to join in the effort to make government information a continuing reality or if you have ideas, suggestions, or comments about the site. FGI staff are available for panels and presentations at conferences, workshops, etc.

 

Article by Bobby Griffith, based on information on the FGI Web site.

FGI logo from the FGI Web site.

Posted by & filed under Local Doings, Make a Difference, Special Days.

National Voter Registration Day logoAre you registered to vote? Every year millions of Americans don’t vote, either because the registration deadline passed them by, or because they don’t know how to register. September 27, 2016 has been designated National Voter Registration Day and set aside to promote awareness of voter registration opportunities and to encourage eligible Americans to exercise this precious obligation to make their voices heard in the upcoming elections.

Voter Registration Facts

Your registration application must be postmarked or received in the Voter Registrar’s Office at least 30 days prior to any Texas election in which you plan to vote. To vote in the November 8 presidential election, you must be registered by October 11. If you miss that deadline, don’t despair! You can still register at any time and vote in any election that takes place at least 30 days later.

Student voters may be uncertain about where they should be registered, since many have a family residence at one location but are living temporarily at or near the campus where they attend school. In general, you should be registered to vote in the county you consider to be your permanent residence. If you consider your parents’ address to be your permanent residence, you may register to vote in that county. If you would like to register to vote at your college address you may do so, but you can’t be registered at both places at the same time.

If you’re registered in Texas but won’t be around to vote in person, you may vote early by mail. If you’re registered in another state but live in Texas, you might be able to switch your registration to the Texas county where you currently reside; otherwise, ask the election office in your state about their absentee voting policies.

If you’re not sure where or whether you are registered to vote, you can search the Texas Voter Registration database or, if you might be registered in another state, search the Can I Vote database.

Registration Events at UNT

The UNT community and visitors can register to vote at two convenient locations on the UNT campus Tuesday. Deputy voter registrars will be available in the lobby of Kerr Hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and in the lobby of Rawlins Hall from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

If you are not able to attend either of these events, you may schedule a more convenient time to register by visiting Room 155 in Willis Library or by visiting the Eagle Commons Library service desk in Sycamore Hall. Texans can also obtain a voter registration application online from the Secretary of State.

In addition to registering new voters, we can also help not so new voters with a change of address, information on mail-in ballots (both in Texas and out of state) and information on upcoming elections. We are also available to come to classes to talk about voter registration and register students at any time during the semester.

This event is sponsored by the UNT Libraries Government Information Connection, in partnership with the Eagle Commons Library and the Public Services Division of the UNT Libraries. It is free and open to the public.

For information about parking at UNT, call the Transportation Services office at 940-565-3020.

Would You Like to Know More?

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission provides tips, calendars, maps, and other information to help voters in every state of the U.S.

VoteTexas.gov, sponsored by the Texas Secretary of State, provides voter information resources for Texas residents.

VoteDenton.com provides up to date schedules, statistics, polling site locations, and other resources for Denton County voters. Use the Voter Lookup service to find out if you are registered to vote in Denton County.

The UNT Libraries Election Connection provides links to election information resources for the UNT community.

If you have any questions about Tuesday’s event or wish to learn about any other civic awareness events hosted by the UNT Libraries, please contact us at govinfo@unt.edu

 

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Image: National Voter Registration Day logo.

Posted by & filed under Data about Databases.

United_States_National_Agricultural_LibraryThe National Agricultural Library (NAL) is a veritable cornucopia of information on food, agriculture, and natural resources, catering not only to the needs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but also to those of a vast audience of agricultural policymakers, educators, farmers, scientists, and other specialists, as well as the general population.

Rising like a great silo from the landscape of Beltsville Maryland, where it operates as a unit of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, the NAL houses one of the world’s largest collections of agricultural materials. The NAL collaborates with other agricultural libraries and institutions to provide and promote free public access to the agricultural knowledge of the U.S. and the world.

NAL Digital Collections

The NAL Digital Collections provides public access to NAL collection materials available in digital format—both those that were born digital and those that were digitized from other formats. Reliable, long-term access is provided to selected NAL documents, which can be retrieved by browsing or keyword searching.

Here are just a few examples of the many types of materials available through the NAL Digital Collections:

Historical Dietary Guidance

USDA_-_Basic_7_Food_GroupsThe Historical Dietary Guidance digital collection a plethora of historical recipes and cookbooks, as well as tips on nutrition, diet, and physical fitness that have been produced by the U.S. government for more than a century.

The USDA has been producing food nutrition guidelines since 1894, analyzing the nutritional content of food, categorizing food into various groups, and making recommendations on how to maintain a balanced, healthy diet. These dietary guidelines have been a never-ending source of controversy and have been continually revised over the years. We have seen, for example, the Basic Seven Food Groups, the Four Food Groups, the Food Guide Pyramid, MyPyramid, and most recently MyPlate. Nutrition facts labels and their associated regulations have also provided information to help Americans choose healthful foods.

Recipes and cookbooks authored by the USDA have provided instructions for creating nourishing meals and snacks for families and schoolchildren, and during challenging times such as the Depression or World War II they have helped Americans stay healthy with limited resources. More recently recipes have been developed to promote ethnic diversity or to cater to special diets.

Journal Articles of USDA Authors

The USDA Authors Journal Articles collection contains digital copies of scholarly, peer-reviewed research that has been authored by USDA scientists and published in respected scientific journals. Since the primary audience for this collection is the scientific community rather than the general public, the articles will tend to be rather technical. If you’re doing scholarly research, however, these articles will be more reliable sources than articles published in newspapers or popular magazines.

USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection

USDA-pomological-collectionThe USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection documents various new fruit and nut varieties that were developed by growers or introduced by USDA plant explorers from 1886 to 1942. The plant specimens represented here originated in 29 countries and 51 U.S. states and territories. Technically accurate paintings were used to create lithographs that illustrated USDA bulletins, yearbooks, and other series distributed to growers and gardeners across America.

This stunningly beautiful collection is one of the rarest and most special of all the NAL’s Rare and Special Collections. The artworks include 7,497 watercolor paintings, 87 line drawings, and 79 wax models, including 3,807 images of apples. Most of these artworks were created around the turn of the 20th century, between 1894 and 1916.

A total of about 21 artists were commissioned by the USDA to create these works. The exact number is not known because some of the artworks were not signed.

 

Do You Want to Know More?

See a list of all the available NAL digital collections at the NAL Digital Collections page. You can also search the collections by subject, author, year, series, or collection name.

 

Author: Bobby Griffith

Image of NAL Abraham Lincoln Building from Wikimedia Commons.

1943 USDA nutrition chart showing the “Basic 7” food groups from Wikimedia Commons.

1908 painting of ripe and green lemons by Ellen Isham Schutt from USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection.

Posted by & filed under Guest Posts.

On April 3-4, 2016, stakeholders from a variety of public and private organizations, including archivists, librarians, technologists, program officers, executive directors, and others gathered in San Antonio for the Digital Preservation of Federal Information Summit.The Summit focused on the important topic of preservation and access to at-risk digital government information.

The aim of the meeting was to 1) engage in a structured and facilitated dialogue with national leaders on these topics, and 2) to begin the development of a national agenda to address the preservation of access for the most pressing categories of at-risk digital government information. The focus was sustaining digital, not print, collections of government information. The summit offered facilitated sessions structured to produce several outcomes, including determining priorities for digital government records and information preservation action, and practical next steps to address these priorities.

A Reflections Report prepared by summit facilitators and edited by attendees is now available for feedback and input from other interested parties. Access the report here: http://blogs.library.unt.edu/untdocsblog/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2016/05/2016_Digital_Preservation_Summit_ReflectionsReport.pdf

Posted by & filed under Make a Difference, Special Days.

International Women's Day 1977Observations commemorating the contributions of women to society and culture and encouraging support for women’s equality and other civil rights first emerged out of the early 20th century labor movement in North America and across Europe. In 1975, which the UN had designated International Women’s Year (IWY), March 8 was designated International Women’s Day (in commemoration of a major protest held on March 8, 1857 by New York garment workers demanding better working conditions), and 1975–1985 was designated The United Nations Decade for Women. Every March 8 since then has been set aside throughout the world as a day to recognize women for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. (See a Chronology of International Women’s Day at the UN Web site.)

Every year the UN designates a specific theme to focus on for International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is Parity for Women, encapsulated in the slogan “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.” 2030 is the deadline that has been projected for achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established last year by the UN. Goal 5 is Gender Equality. The United Nations observance on 8 March, 2016 will consider how to build momentum and accelerate progress toward the 2030 goals, and will also focus on new commitments under the UN Women’s Step It Up initiative, as well as other commitments to gender equality, women’s empowerment, and women’s rights.

Key targets of the 2030 agenda include the following:

  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable, and quality primary and secondary education, leading to relevant Goal 4 (Quality Education)
  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education.
  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early, and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

Here are some things you can do to celebrate International Women’s Day and contribute to the goal of achieving gender equality:

  • See the UN Women: International Women’s Day 2016 Web page for speeches and messages, an interactive timeline of women’s historical contributions, a photo-essay on the lives of women around the world, and opportunities to share your contributions to International Women’s Day on social media.
  • Take the International Women’s Day Pledge for Parity. Go online and make a public commitment to help women and girls achieve their ambitions; challenge conscious and unconscious bias; call for gender-balanced leadership; value women’s and men’s contributions equally; and create inclusive, flexible cultures. A number of online resources are available to guide your Pledge for Parity campaign and help you carry out the goals in a practical manner.
  • Participate in local events. These might include large global gatherings, conferences, awards, exhibitions, festivals, fun runs, corporate events, concerts and performances, lectures, online digital gatherings, and more. The University of North Texas, for example, will be sponsoring a free International Women’s Day Lecture on “Human Rights, Women’s Rights: The Path to Sustainable Peace” at 7:00 p.m. in the University Union.
  • Share your own stories on social media. Do you have a personal experience related to gender equality, or recommendations for public policies? Perhaps you would like to express support and appreciation for women. Hashtags for social media include #IWD2016 and #Planet5050. Consider enhancing your posts and media accounts with infographics, banners, and cover images.
  • Educate yourself on the subject of women’s history. Here are some resources for learning about women’s contributions to history and culture in the United States:

On a side note, and in the spirit of gender equality, you might be wondering if there is also an International Men’s Day. There is! It takes place on November 19th each year and serves to highlight men’s and boy’s health issues, improve gender relations, promote gender equality, and recognize positive male role models.

Today, however, is for women. How will you be honoring the women of the world on this special day?

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Image: International Women’s Day, March 12, 1977. Photo by David Bartho for Sydney Morning Herald.

Posted by & filed under Local Doings, Special Days.

FDLP Twitter campaignHave you had any memorable encounters with the Eagle Commons Library Government Information Connection? During the entire month of February, the Government Publishing Office (GPO) will be tweeting fun facts and information about the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), and we invite our patrons to join in the celebration. Send a shout-out to your depository library or tweet about your experiences here, using the hashtag #lovemyFDL. Let everyone know what you love about your depository library and how your library has helped you. Our Twitter username is @UNTEagleCommons

Access U.S. government information on the go and on the shelf.Never used government documents at the ECL? They are an excellent source of political and legal information, as one would expect, but you might not be aware that the Government Information Connection also has resources on a wide variety of other topics, such as statistics, history, education, business, science, travel, and the arts. We even have cookbooks, coloring books, and comics! Try us out, then tweet about your experience. You can visit us in person at Sycamore Hall, call us at 940-565-4745, or send us an e-mail at govinfo@unt.edu

In addition to Twitter, we encourage you to visit our other social media outlets:

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UNT DocsBlog

 

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Facebook

 

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Instagram

 

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Pinterest

 

 

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Illustration from FDLP promotional flyer.