Presidential Election

There are several ways to use social media and websites to either learn about the election process or to follow the presidential race.  Here are a few.

The Federal Register  currently has a short video on their website titled Electoral College and the National Archives that helps explain the electoral college.  Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a certificate of ascertainment and a certificate of electoral vote?  This is the place to find out.  The video is also available at YouTube.

Listen to a report or read the transcript on NPR about why elections are held on Tuesdays

Do you need to know which candidates are mentioned the most on Twitter?   If so, you need to see @mentionmachine on the Washington Post website.

Also from the Washington Post is the 2012 Presidential Campaign Finance Explorer.

States of Play from the Economist offers charts, maps and infographics.

Browse fact-checked questions for the last Presidential debate – from the New York Times.

Democratic Party Facebook page

Republican National Committee Facebook page


As with all other resources, please remember that apps may or may not carry bias of their creator or sponsor.  Do these people or organizations have a reputation you trust?

I have not investigated which devices the apps listed in this post will operate.

The Superpacapp is sponsored by the Knight Foundation.  Its stated mission is to allow users to view and rate political ads and find out who and how much money is behind the ad. 

The New York Times offers smartphone apps that offer news, opinion, multimedia and an election guide. 

The Mashable website highlights six election apps you may want to investigate.

Image from the League of Women voters of California – 


Memorial Day – Remember the Fallen

Memorial Day is May 28 this year, and here are some web sites that provide information on the holiday and why and how we celebrate it.

From the Library of Congress, the Veterans History Project aims to collect, preserve and make accessible the personal accounts of veterans so that they will never be forgotten.

Rolling Thunder passed by Hays yesterday, May 20, as the motorcyclists made their way on Interstate 70 towards Washington D.C.

Every year, PBS broadcasts the National Memorial Day concert. Hosted by Gary Sinese and Joe Mantegna, the show this will feature Daughtry, Natalie Cole, “American Idol” finalist Jessica Sanchez, and Trace Adkins. The concert will be broadcast on May 27 from 7:00 to 8:30 (Central Time) on your local PBS station.

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs has a history of Memorial Day on its web site.

This same web site also provides the history behind those “red” flowers known as poppies which became the official Memorial Day flower.

The VFW’s Buddy Poppy program distributes the red poppies that are made by disabled and needy veterans.

May you celebrate Memorial Day as a remembrance of the veterans who gave their lives while serving our country. Here are some ways you may participate:

  • Place flags or flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers at your local cemetery.
  • Fly the American flag at half-staff until noon.
  • Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3:00 pm. Pause and think upon the meaning of Memorial Day.
  • Attend your local Memorial Day events.
  • Buy a poppy from your local VFW.
  • Visit a local memorial.


Times Talk and Finding Common Ground

These two programs are held in Forsyth Library on the main floor several times throughout the semester, and both are sponsored by the library and the Center for Civic Leadership. Times Talk, a partnership between the American Democracy Project and the New York Times, is a program that features speakers who talk on a specific subject, while Finding Common Ground features roundtables for  informal discussion of current topics.

Both are held over the noon hour; you may check the library’s calendar for the specific times. Pizza and salad are provided for the first 20 people at the Times Talk which is held in the South Study area; cookies and pop are provided for the Finding Common Ground participants in the front lobby. Both programs are set up where you can come and go as your schedule allows.

The first Times Talk of the semester was last week with the subject Universal Declaration of Human Rights regarding child soldiers. Next Wednesday, February 22, we will host a Finding Common Ground discussion titled Abortion Prolife and Prochoice.

In March, a Finding Common Ground panel discussion about Ending World Hunger by Ending Local Hunger will be on Wednesday, the 7th, and a Times Talk about the United Nations will be on Wednesday, the 14th.

In April, Finding Common Ground will talk about America’s Healthcare on Monday, the 16th, and the Times Talk subject on Tuesday, the 17th, will be Sustainability – Supporting 7 Billion.

If you are not able to come to Times Talk, but wish to listen in, the program is streamed live at, and the video is archived at The Finding Common Ground panel discussion is not filmed.

Two reference librarians, Judy Salm and MaryAlice Wade, help with these programs by providing information about each one. Judy retrieves books and other items for a display on the subject of the program, and MaryAlice puts together information in the Times Talk LibGuide –

The American Democracy Project also has a blog –

Hope to see you at the library!


Learning Express Library

Yesterday a situation came up in the Library that reminded me of a resource I was aware of, but never really thought about: Learning Express.  Learning Express is available through the State Library of Kansas, but has a lot to offer the FHSU community.  Here is part of the Learning Express blurb from their web page  “Each of our Learning Centers offers the practice tests, exercises, skill-building courses, eBooks, and information you need to achieve the results you want—at school, at work, or in life”.

This resource contains college preparation tests such as the ACT and TOEFL.  In the Occupation Practice Tests section there are preparation materials for the LSAT, ASVAB, and CMA exams.  Tabbed sections include resources for workplace skills and for college students.  These sections have resources for business skills, AP placement practice exams, personal finance, and test taking skills.  There is much more here than I can mention in this short note.

You do need to register to use this resource and you do need to be in Kansas.  Remember, this resource is provided by the State Library of Kansas, not Forsyth Library.  If you are using a computer on campus or with a Kansas IP address you should not have any problems.  If you do experience a problem, you might want to use your code from a Kansas Library Card.  Kansas Library Cards are available at your local public library.

To use Learning Express, go to, and then click on “Explore Our Resources”. Select “Learning Express” from the list of resources on the left side of the page. After that you will need to register as a new user or log in as a returning user.  Begin looking for materials by choosing a tab at the top of the page.  To add resources to your account click “add to my center” in the area at the right of the resource you would like to use.  Then you may need to click a download button on the right side of the page.



Constitution Day

September 17 marks Constitution Day and September 17-23 marks Constitution Week.  The Constitution is the cornerstone of the freedoms we enjoy in the United States.  To read the Constitution and other documents of our democracy search the Forsyth Library Catalog or follow some of the links below.  To help commemorate Constitution Day, Forsyth Library will host the annual Ben Franklin Event on September 19.  This event will bring around 300 fifth graders to Forsyth Library.  The event will occupy the top two floors of the library and will feature activities throughout the library for the students.


Core Documents of U. S. Democracy

Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789

The Charters of Freedom “A New World Is At Hand”

The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation