Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu

What is swine flu?
Swine flu has been on everyone’s mind recently with scares of pandemics. If you are suddenly feeling slightly flu-ish and wondering if it may be swine related, stay calm. Follow the links below to learn more about this disease, how many have gotten it, where and how it’s contracted and other important information.

Six things you should know about Swine Flu from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment

You can learn more about what swine flu is and how it is contracted from the National Library of Medicine’s database named Medline Plus at

H1N1 Flu Virus Information
La Influenza porcina y usted- Info in Spanish from the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

H1N1 Flu Virus Information
(Kansas Department of Health and Environment)

H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu) Maps
(Provided by the Castaneda Map Library, University of Texas)

How do I avoid it?
How to best avoid germs and viruses including swine flu:

Good hand washing techniques from KDHE

The U.S. Department of State is recommending that you limit travel to Mexico. Find out more at:

What is the government doing about it?

U.S. has declared a public health emergency. See the official release at

Kansas Department of Health and Environment has established a swine flu hotline and email address to report cases and address your concerns. Find out more at http://www.kdheks.gov/news/web_archives/2009/04282009.htm

Read more about what Kansas is doing about swine flu at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment

World Health Organization (WHO) is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends. Look for its press releases regarding swine flu

Center for Disease Control information on swine flu

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services information on swine flu,

You can subscribe to the CDC’s RSS feed at

The CDC also has a Twitter feed at http://twitter.com/cdcemergency

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Earth Day Every Day

April 22 is Earth Day, celebrated worldwide. Learn how state, local and federal governments as well as private groups and organizations observe Earth Day every day in programs, projects, information sites, volunteer opportunities, etc.!

City of Lawrence Fact Sheets
(Recycling, hazardous waste, lawn care, composting, safer alternatives, clean water, reducing junk mail)

Conservation/Efficiency/Cost Reduction
(Energy conservation news from the Kansas Corporation Commission)

Cost-Effective Solar Power in the Heartland

Energy Star
(A joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices)

Greensburg... Better, Stronger, Greener!
(Greensburg rises out of the ruins of a devastating tornado)
----A wind farm that may power the entire town
(Topeka Capital Journal)
----Putting the Green in Greensburg
(Video on the efforts under way in making Greensburg a green city)

"Growing" a Wind Farm in Spearville, Kansas
(Spearville, called the "City of Windmills," lives up to its name with a new kind of wind harnessing tool)

Heartland Renewable Energy Society
(The MO/KS chapter of the American Solar Energy Society)

Kansas Energy Directory
(Designed to help Kansans easily find energy professionals that serve within the state)

Kansas Energy Office

Kansas Solar Electric Co-operatives

Kansas Threatened and Endangered Species Act

Kansas Wind Energy
(Provided by the Kansas Energy Information Network)

Lawrence Energy Conservation Fair
(Communities across the nation have displays, fairs, classes, etc. demonstrating new and innovative concepts in conserving energy. Here's a look at Lawrence's fair held in October)

Recycling E-Waste
(Kansas Bureau of Waste Management)

The State Library of Kansas

"What is the State Library of Kansas and what does it do?"
"Can I check out books there?"
"Where is it located?"
"Does it have a website?"
"Does the library answer questions about Kansas?"

Below are some links to information about your State Library and how it serves you.

(Information on our mission, staff, Library Board and roots going back to territorial days)

(Walk in, email, phone, instant message)

(View the activities of the State Library in 2008)


Ask a Librarian
(We welcome questions, especially about Kansas government)

Audiobooks, Music and More!
(Browse and search hundreds of great titles and download them to your computer, transfer them to a portable device, or burn onto a CD for your reading and listening pleasure anywhere, anytime.)

Blue Skyways
(A shared information service offering thousands of pages of material about Kansas communities, education, government, family history and libraries)

Homework Kansas
(An after school tutoring service that connects Kansas students one-on-one with live tutors)

Kansas Center for the Book
(Stimulates public interest in the educational and cultural role of the book; authorship and writing; literacy; and the promotion of reading and libraries. Promotes Kansas books, literature and authors)
---Kansas Author Database
---Kansas Notable Books
---Kansas Poet Laureate
Kansas Reads
---Letters About Literature

Kansas Library Card
(The Kansas Library Card is your entry to Audio Books and More and online library resources, including high quality information and research databases)

Kansas Library Catalog
(An online catalog with the holdings of more than 300 libraries throughout the state)

Kansas Talking Books
(Provides free library service for anyone unable to read regular print because of low vision, blindness, or a physical disability)

Online Databases Available to Kansas Residents
(Search for articles, books and other resources in the areas of agriculture, automobile repair, criminal justice, culinary arts, environmental studies, fine arts, gardening, home improvement, tourism and much more)

State Data Center of Kansas
(Located at the State Library, the State Data Center is a cooperative program between the states and the U.S. Census Bureau to make census information available locally to the public through a network of state agencies, universities, libraries, and regional and local governments)

(Resources to assist you in finding a new job, figuring out how to refinance your home mortgage, where to turn if you've lost health insurance, or just how to weather current economic conditions)

---ATLAS (State Library's Online Catalog)
---Legislative Bills, Bill Histories, etc.
---Legislative Hotline (Information during the Legislative Session)
---Kansas Information for Students & Researchers
---Kansas State Government Information
---Newspaper Clippings
---A Listing of 9,000 Former Legislators
---Transcribed Messages and Speeches of Kansas Governors
---Kansas State Constitution Online
---U.S. Federal Government Information
---Interlibrary Loan (Borrowing material from other libraries)

Virtual Tour of the State Library of Kansas
Melvil the State Library Cat

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Scams and Fraud

Whether it be ice, hail, high winds or a low turn in the economy it’s “Scam Season.” Scammers can show up at your front door, call on the phone, drop into your mailbox, email you and may even approach you in the grocery store. They always have a deal, a prize or a service that seems too good to be true. Or they may have a hard luck story that pulls at your heartstrings. They take your trust, your money, your identity or property and disappear often leaving you in worse straits than you were before.

No one is totally immune to lure of a scammer. Below are links to information provided by organizations, agencies and websites on identifying and dealing with scams and fraud. Once we understand the game being played we can cut a scam off at the quick saving ourselves possible heartache down the road.

Consumer Topics A-Z
Information provided by the Kansas Attorney General on scams, unwanted calls, identity theft, online safety, charitable giving, check fraud, payday loans, pyramid schemes, credit card scams, chain letters, medical discount cards, online pharmacies, email scams, sweepstakes, lotteries, telemarketing, phone bills and calling cards.)

Identity Theft Repair Kit
(A document provided by Kansas Attorney General, Steve Six, on actions you can take if your personal identity is stolen. Identity theft is the highest “white collar” crime in the U.S.)

Consumer Complaint Process
(Information from the Kansas Attorney General’s Office on how to file a consumer complaint against a business)

Consumer Protection for Older Kansans
(Information from the Kansas Department on Aging covering identity theft, checking accounts and banking, buying on time, mail order, charitable contributions, door-to-door sales, home repair companies, warranty laws, funeral buying and utility bills)

Insurance Fraud
(Information from the Kansas Insurance Department on Insure U, Identity Theft Insurance, How to Fight Insurance Fraud, How to File a Complaint)

Common Fraud Schemes
(Helpful information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation on some common ploys used in fraud)

American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
(Information on stopping unwanted faxes, identity theft, stopping dishonest telemarketers, credit card fraud, online safety and more)

Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office
(Information on Contest/Prize Scams, Charitable Solicitations, Home Repairs, Fair Debt Collection, Nigerian Scam, New Car, Telemarketing Fraud, Work at Home, Unordered Merchandise, Used Cars and Used Car-Warranty)

SHICK (Senior Health Insurance Counseling For Kansas) Program
(People who will help older Kansans with health insurance questions/problems)

Scam Victim Resources You Need to Know About, A-Z
(provided by FraudAid.org. Links to services around the world including the U.S.)

(Called the "Rumor Detectives" in a recent Readers Digest article, snopes.com researches and reports on worms, viruses, rumors, “facts” claimed in emails, etc… Have you received an email with a strange claim? Go to snopes.com and check it out. More often than not you’ll find something helpful there in dispelling myths, fraudulent statements and downright untruths)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thriving in Tough Times

Are you looking for information to help you weather the recession? Chin up! The State Library of Kansas has assembled resources to assist you! Whether it's finding a new job, figuring out how to refinance your home mortgage, where to turn if you've lost health insurance, or just how to weather current economic conditions, you have a place to turn to. The State Library has a new wiki to help you find the assistance you need at


There are resources on:
Employment and Training http://kslibinfo.wetpaint.com/page/Employment+%26+Training
Managing your finances http://kslibinfo.wetpaint.com/page/Finances
Housing assistance http://kslibinfo.wetpaint.com/page/Housing
Resources for families http://kslibinfo.wetpaint.com/page/Families
Under construction: Look for the soon-to-be-added resources that details how your local public library is helping your community.

If you know of a valuable site or resource that isn't on this website you can start or join discussions and add to the pool of resources. Let's help our fellow Kansans weather this storm!