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Friday Facts: Government Information You Can Use

This Week's Facts:

  1. Black History Month Resources Abound from State, Federal Agencies

  2. Online Tools, Mobile Apps Help Create and Maintain Personal Budgets

  3. Video Series Outlines FAFSA Application Process

  4. Business USA Offers Tips for Starting a Business

  5. Harrison Presidential Home to Host First Lady Fashion Exhibit

Norwood Library had Unique
Place in Indy History

As Black History Month comes to a close, we’d like to acknowledge a piece of Indianapolis’s own Black history:

The Norwood Library was the first library established in Indianapolis for African Americans. It opened September 28, 1912 in the Norwood Boy’s Club on the city’s southeast side. Ada B. Harris, principal of the Norwood School, along with citizens and several organizations donated a total of 1,000 materials for the library’s collection. The library was built to replace the Norwood School’s library collection which was lost in a fire. Willa Resnover served as librarian.

Source:  “Colored Library Opened in Norwood.” Indianapolis Recorder 28 Sept. 1912: 1; “News of Indiana Libraries.” Library Occurrent 3.5 (1912): 96.

Business USA Offers Tips
for Starting a Business

Have you been thinking about starting a business - or expanding your current business? Would you like a one-stop resource for your patrons? Business USA has tools, tips, and other resources to help you begin, grow, or research businesses. The Start a Business part of the website has basic information on how to get a business loan, how to write a business plan, and how to register your business. You can also browse resources for veterans. This section contains resources and links especially for veterans starting their own businesses. You can also find opportunities to connect your business with federal government contracts. Our economy has been challenging, but for those with an entrepreneurial spirit, it is ripe with opportunities. If you’re at a starting point, request an appointment at the closest resource center near you. Now’s the time!

Friday Facts Editorial Team:

Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator

Kim Brown-Harden
Federal Documents Coordinator

Andrea Glenn
State Documents Coordinator

Indiana Federal Depository Library Program

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Black History Month Resources Abound from State, Federal Agencies

Indiana State ArchivesDo you need more resources about African American history and culture? Use the blog! From the main page, click the Topics tab to find the History, Arts, and Culture subtopic. Scroll down to Culture and Ethnic Groups. The section on African American History and Culture contains resources from the new National Museum of African American History and Culture (building currently under construction), the National Archives, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Library of Congress, the National Park Service, and more.

The Indiana State Archives is featuring a display at the Indiana Statehouse this month commemorating African American Hoosiers in America’s Wars with photographs and documents highlighting the service and valor of African American soldiers in times of conflict from the Revolutionary War through the Vietnam War. Visit during normal Statehouse hours. It will be available through the month of February.

The Indiana State Library also provides African American history resources through its many collections. View and print our pamphlet of African American History Resources in the Genealogy Collection or use the Evergreen catalog to search through our collections.

Online Tools, Mobile Apps Help Create and Maintain Personal Budgets

Consumer.govFinancial advisors will be the first to tell you: if you want to buy a house, get out of debt, save for retirement, or achieve any other financial goal, you have to make a budget. There are many online tools to help you with budgeting, including mobile apps. But you don’t have to have access to technology to create one. All you need is a pencil and some paper. These tips will help you get started.

Track Your Spending
For your budget to be effective, it´s important to know exactly where you’re spending your money each month.

  • Write down all fixed monthly expenses or use your favorite online tools or mobile apps to track where the money goes.
  • Make sure to include your cash expenses since they can easily go unreported, especially if you’re using computer software.
  • Add seasonal or annual expenses such as car registration, tax preparation fees, vacations, or expenses related to the holiday season.

Track at least two months to get a sense of your average of expenses and avoid high or low months.

Track Your Income
The second part is identifying your monthly income. It is important to be accurate since you will be making financial decisions based on what you make. To make an accurate assessment:

  • Write down all net income from each job or income source for one month. This may include regular salary, temporary jobs, unemployment compensation, and public assistance. If the amount varies, average it out to the last 12 months.
  • Include income that occurs less frequently like annual bonuses, dividends and interests, tax refunds, etc.

Make a Budget
Once you’ve identified your expenses and income, it’s time to make a budget. has lots of information on creating a budget, but you can also follow these quick tips:

  • Create a document with two columns: one with your monthly income and another with your monthly expenses. has an example of a budget worksheet (at the end of the page).
  • In the expenses section, separate them by fixed and flexible. That way you can prioritize your monthly expenditures.
  • If monthly expenses exceed income, then you have to look for ways to reduce expenses or make more money. It’s usually more feasible to reduce flexible expenses such as mobile phones bills, water and electricity.

Stay Flexible but Focused
It is ideal to have a monthly budget where income is greater than expenses, and where the budget includes a monthly savings amount. This can help you balance your family budget. Because things can change month to month, experts recommend that you remain as flexible as possible and adjust when needed.

This information is brought to you by the U.S. General Services Administration via the blog.

Video Series Outlines FAFSA Application Process

FAFAThe federal government provides more than $150 billion in grants, loans, and work-study funds to students each year. In order to get that money, you must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly called the FAFSA.

Completing and submitting the FAFSA is free and easier than ever, and it gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school.

In addition, many states and colleges use your FAFSA data to determine your eligibility for state and school aid, and some private financial aid providers may use your FAFSA information to determine whether you qualify for their aid.

Submit a free application for federal student aid.

Need more help? These videos might help:

This information is brought to you by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) via the blog.

Harrison Presidential Home to Host First Lady Fashion Exhibit

President Benjamin Harrison HomeWe celebrated Presidents’ Day earlier this week, and the tendency is to focus on Washington and Lincoln – but don’t forget about another U.S. President with a strong Indiana connection.  Benjamin Harrison moved from Ohio to Indianapolis in April 1854 to practice law. He then became involved in local politics, getting elected City Attorney in 1857. While Benjamin Harrison’s birthday was on August 20, 1833, he became the 23rd president in 1889, coincidentally, in the centennial year of George Washington’s inauguration.

Harrison’s Presidential Home, designed and built for his family, is located at 1230 North Delaware Street in Indianapolis and open to the public for tours. For fashion-minded visitors, the home is featuring a new exhibit, “Raising the Hem: Historic Fashions of American Nobility,” that runs from February 18 to December 31.  Featured dresses and accessories include those of White House Ladies: Grace Coolidge, Mamie Eisenhower, Julia Grant, Florence Harding, Harriet Lane, Mary Lincoln, Mary Arthur McElroy, Jane Pierce, Edith Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Taft, Bess Truman, Edith Wilson, Caroline Harrison, and Mary Harrison McKee.

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