Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government

Ben’s Guide is a scholastic website hosted by the Government Publishing Office (GPO), designed to inform and educate students, parents and teachers about the federal government. The site includes learning activities about Ben Franklin, his life and legacy and information on the government and how it functions. As the first public librarian of the U.S., as well as a printer, Ben Franklin was the natural choice as “guide.” Ben’s Guide utilizes historic documents and resources found within GPO to create this interactive instructional tool.

Enjoy as Ben leads on various learning adventures! Through the completion of games and activities, one will have a better understanding of how our country was founded, how laws are made, the difference between federal and state government and so much more. The learning activities are broken down into age groups: Apprentice (ages 4-8), Journey Person (ages 9-13) and Master (ages 14+). Ben’s Guide features three games: Play the States, Printable Activities (crosswords and word searches) and Branch-O-Mania. The site also includes a glossary to help children understand government terms and teaching activities for educators.

Ben’s Guide was recognized by the American Library Association as a Great Website for Kids. The resource is wonderful for educators wanting to teach children about our country’s founding and how our government functions. The website is another example of how GPO is raising awareness on how the government works for you. Users can make any comments or suggestions relating to Ben’s Guide here. Please take a moment to explore this fun and educational site.

This blog post was written by Indiana State Library Federal Documents Coordinator Brent Abercrombie. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services at (317) 232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

Summer Storytimes and Learn IN Workshops recap

With the Indiana Young Readers Center (IYRC) grand opening in October, this summer was the first opportunity for IYRC staff to dip their toes into summer programming for kids. We had a lot of fun and we hope to see you next summer, if not sooner!

In June, the IYRC hosted two storytimes for children ages 3-7 and four workshops for children in grades 3-6. Each storytime involved books, crafts and playing in the IYRC. Each workshop paired an art form taught by an Arts for Learning artist, with a topic related to Indiana history or Indiana literature. Children learned about different kinds of poetry written by Indiana poets and Tony Styxx gave a lesson on spoken word poetry. Robin McBride Scott showed children how to make an effigy vessel after they learned about treaties and they saw St. Mary’s Treaty up close! After looking at Baist Atlas maps for signs of segregation along Indiana Avenue in the 1940s, Bonnie Maurer helped children write pieces of jazz poetry. Bob Sander explained the elements of storytelling after children heard about genealogy and made timelines of their lives. All of these programs were free for anyone who wanted to join in the fun.

Please enjoy these photo highlights:

We learned so much about effigy pottery from Robin McBride Scott and had fun making our own pieces, bowls that look like birds.

This young man shows off his effigy pottery creation.

Caitlyn shows visitors how to use Baist maps to search for clues of segregation along Indiana Avenue.

Bonnie Maurer led us in jazz poetry exercises to hone our writing skills.

These children show off the masks they made at the “All About Clifford” storytime.

After the stories were read and the crafts were made, these siblings played in the IYRC.

This blog post was written by Caitlyn Stypa, Indiana Young Readers Center assistant, Indiana State Library.