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Guide to Civics
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- About this Guide
- What are my rights?
- What is the law?
- How is the government formed?
- How to immigrate or become a U.S. citizen?
- Learn about elections and how to vote
- How to find the voting record or executive actions of elected officials?
- How to research the issues?
- Where can I learn about what the candidates stand for, and what they believe?
- How to get involved in local government?
- What is Jury Duty?
- Where can I learn a brief history of American Government and Politics?
This is Muncie Public Library's guide to resources for learning about Civics.
Civics is about the rights and responsibilities of citizens at the local, state, national, and global levels as well as the history of our nation as a democracy.
Click through the tabs to explore the guide. Click Contact at the top of any page to send librarians an email, or call the Information Desk at Kennedy or Maring-Hunt with questions.
What are my rights?
American Civil Liberties Union
Everyone has basic rights under the U.S. Constitution and civil rights laws. Learn more here about what your rights are, how to exercise them, and what to do when your rights are violated.
The Criminal Law Handbook: Know Your Rights, Survive the System by Paul Bergman and Sara Berman
This book explains how the system works, why police, lawyers, and judges do what they do, and -- most important -- the options for suspects, defendants, and victims. It also provides critical information on working with a lawyer.
But They Didn’t Read Me My Rights! Myths Oddities, and Lies About Our Legal System by Miachael D. Cicchini and Amy B. Kushner
Written in a lively, appealing style, this book is composed of self-contained chapters, each addressing a distinct legal myth, oddity, question, or misconception.
Flex Your Rights
This website from an education nonprofit founded in 2002 aims to educate the public on their rights. It includes videos, a blog, and articles that answer FAQs.
What is the law?
America’s Founding Documents from the National Archives
Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and the Bill of Rights; these three documents, known collectively as the Charters of Freedom, have secured the rights of the American people for more than two and a quarter centuries and are considered instrumental to the founding and philosophy of the United States.
Encyclopedia of The United States Constitution edited by David Schultz
This two volume set designed for the student and general public is a quick reference that explains major clauses, amendments, court decisions, issues, and challenges that have affected the constitution. It also includes the founding documents as well as a historical timeline.
Know Your RIghts: A Guide to the United States Constitution from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota
This guide lists the amendments in the Bill of Rights but also further explains the amendments purpose and meaning providing historical context and citing
The Citizen’s Constitution: An Annotated Guide by Seth Lipsky
A journalistic effort that tackles the U.S. Constitution with more than 300 annotations that draw on the writings of its creators with case law and current events into a readable guide.
Laws of the State of Indiana
Passed at the 2019 session of the General Assembly
Comprising all public laws through the Indiana General Assembly. Edited and published by the Office of Code Revision, Legislative Services Agency, under the direction of the Indiana Legislative Council
Indiana Constitution as amended in 2018
The Constitution of Indiana is the highest body of state law in the U.S. state of Indiana. It establishes the structure and function of the state. Indiana's constitution is subordinate only to the U.S. Constitution and federal law. It went into effect on November 1, 1851.
Indiana's constitution is composed of a preamble, articles, and amendments. Among other provisions, it specifies a republican form of government (pursuant to Article IV, Section 4, of the U.S. Constitution) consisting of three branches: executive (including administration), legislative, and judicial. The state constitution also includes a bill of rights, grants suffrage and regulates elections, provides for a state militia, state educational institutions, and sets limits on government indebtedness. The Indiana General Assembly may amend the constitution, subject to ratification by vote of the people, as specified in Article 16 of Indiana's 1851 constitution.
Indiana Rules of Court
Includes rules and associated material governing practice before the Indiana federal, state, and local courts.
Indiana Driver’s Manual
The BMV’s Driver’s Manual contains the latest information you will need to successfully pass an operator’s knowledge examination and obtain an Indiana driver’s license. The Driver’s Manual is also a great way for anyone to review updated traffic laws and regulations. It is available for download in 6 different languages.
Common Traffic Violations
Indiana law allows the courts or the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to suspend the driving privileges of a driver when he or she is found to have committed certain traffic violations or failed to file required documentation.
An online resource to search the definitions of legal words in plain language.
How is the government formed?
U.S. Government and Politics by Franco Scardino
Provides a historical overview of the formation of the federal government with details on the responsibilities of its three branches. Also includes an explanation of special interest groups, the election process, policy making, media influence, and the formation of public opinion.
The Politics Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained
Traces the roots of political concepts from the ancient world to modern day by explaining the roots of political idioms and axioms and the great thinkers behind them. Easy to understand with a rich visual presentation.
Center for Civic Education
A nonprofit organization that has partnered with different educational institutions and bar associations across the United States that is dedicated to teaching Civics and promoting democracy. Website offers learning resources including free online courses in civics, a civics forum, and lesson plans.
Branches of the U.S. Government
Learn about the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the U.S. government. Included info graphics and links to contact and biographical information.
How to immigrate or become a U.S. citizen?
U.S. Immigration Made Easy by Ilona M. Bray
A difficult area of U.S. law explained in simple terms, covering both eligibility for U.S. visas and green cards and the practical requirements of obtaining them. Useful for would-be immigrants and those who assist them.
Become a U.S. Citizen, Learning Express Library
This online resource provided through INSPIRE, a service of the Indiana State Library, provides many tools to assist in preparation for the citizenship exam. These tools include an interactive tutorial that consists of the 100 civics questions found on the official naturalization test and is geared toward helping you achieve your best possible score. Other tools include eBooks, articles, and flashcards about American civics and the process of acquiring a green card.
How to Enter the U.S.
Learn about the most common types of visas for business, student or travel you may need when coming to or traveling through the United States, plus review what other documents you need to enter the U.S. Also, find information on how to apply for an immigrant visa.
Directory of Visa Categories
The purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. As a visa applicant, you will need to establish that you meet all requirements to receive the category of visa for which you are applying. When you apply at a U.S embassy or consulate, a consular officer will determine based on laws, whether you are eligible to receive a visa, and if so, which visa category is appropriate.
How to Apply for U.S. Citizenship
Learn the steps for becoming a U.S. citizen including how to apply, sample test questions and what is the naturalization process. Also, find information on dual citizenship, how to get proof of your U.S. citizenship if you were born abroad or replace your lost or stolen citizenship certificate.
Apply for Citizenship
10 Steps to Naturalization: Understanding the Process of Becoming a U.S. Citizen
Learn about elections and how to vote
Indiana Voter Registration Portal
Register to vote, check voting status, find polling location, vote by mail, or learn about election security.
Work the Polls
Our democracy depends on Hoosiers taking the initiative to play an active role in the freedoms of democracy. The State of Indiana is calling on civic-minded individuals to work the polls on Election Day.
Delaware County, IN Clerk’s Office
Contains election results from past elections and important candidate forms.
How to find the voting record or executive actions of elected officials?
White House News
Includes remarks, articles, presidential actions, briefings, and statements from the President of the United States from the White House.
President Donald Trump’s Voting Record
Includes a biography, executive actions, and summarization of positions.
Roll Call Votes by the U.S. Congress
Includes a roll call vote for the House of Representatives and the Senate going back to 1989.
Governor Eric Holcomb’s Voting Record
Includes a biography and summary of executive actions
Indiana State Assembly bills for each session by year.
Lists all house and senate bills by year. Each active bill will display names of authored, co-authored, and sponsored legislators with a summary of the bill. A house and senate voting record is included with each bill.
Central Township Trustee’s Office
Includes all contact information for members of the Township Board as well as an overview of their responsibilities.
Muncie City Council
Includes all contact information as well as agendas, minutes, and a district map.
Delaware County Commissioners
Includes all contact information for the commissioners as well as an overview of their responsibilities, resolutions and ordinances, schedule of meetings, agendas, and minutes.
Snopes.com is an independent publication owned by Snopes Media Group. Snopes got its start in 1994, investigating urban legends, hoaxes, and folklore. Founder David Mikkelson, later joined by his wife, was publishing online before most people were connected to the internet. As demand for reliable fact checks grew, so did Snopes. Now it’s the oldest and largest fact-checking site online, widely regarded by journalists, folklorists, and readers as an invaluable research companion.
A nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. They monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Their goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.
FactCheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The APPC was established by publisher and philanthropist Walter Annenberg to create a community of scholars within the University of Pennsylvania that would address public policy issues at the local, state and federal levels.
Google Fact Check Tools
The Google Fact Check Tools consist of two tools: Fact Check Explorer and Fact Check Markup Tool. Both tools aim to facilitate the work of fact checkers, journalists and researchers.
Pew Research Center
Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. They conduct public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research. We do not take policy positions.
Where can I learn about what the candidates stand for, and what they believe?
Delaware County Voter Guide
The League of Women Voters maintains a list of all current elected officials at federal, state, and local levels (as related to Delaware County and Muncie). You can get contact information from these officials in order to ask them questions yourself: http://munciedelaware.in.lwvnet.org/index.html
Just Facts. Vote Smart.
Vote Smart's mission is to provide free, factual, unbiased information on candidates and elected officials. Information includes backgrounds and records of political candidates and elected officials including their voting records, campaign contributions, public statements, biographical data (including their work history) and evaluations of them generated by over 400 national and 1300 state special interest groups.
Center for Responsive Politics
A non-profit, nonpartisan research group based in Washington, D.C., that tracks the effects of money and lobbying on elections and public policy. It maintains a public online database of its information.
This online resource allows users to track federal campaign contributions and lobbying by lobbying firms, individual lobbyists, industry, federal agency, and bills. Other resources include the personal financial disclosures of all members of the U.S. Congress, the president, and top members of the administration. Users can also search by ZIP codes to learn how their neighbors are allocating their political contributions.
How to get involved in local government?
Report a concern
The City of Muncie provides the citizens of Muncie with an online tool for reporting and tracking concerns to the various entities of City Government. Follow the links to the appropriate department's page.
Muncie City Council
This page on the city’s website provides information on the Muncie City Council, including their contact information, the districts and precincts they serve, a list of standing committees and the meeting dates and file deadlines.
Delaware County Boards and Commissions
This page on the county's website provides information such as meeting dates, meeting minutes, and agendas for the Delaware County Commission, Delaware County Council, Board of Zoning Appeals, Board of Health, and more.
Request Public Records or Documents
Records of a public agency are public records and must be disclosed upon request, unless the request falls under an exception provided the law. A public agency must state that a record falls under an identified APRA exception in order to withhold a specific record.
Tax information for Delaware County
How are they collected? Where do they go?
What is Jury Duty?
Serving Jury Duty
Jury service represents one of the most important civic responsibilities we have as citizens. When you fulfill your obligation for jury service, you are helping to protect our liberties and to preserve our system of justice.
If you have been selected for Jury Duty in Delaware County, Indiana and have questions, please contact the Delaware County Court Administrator's Office at (765) 747-7734.
Where can I learn a brief history of American Government and Politics?
Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville
Nineteenth-century classic by French political scientist offers insightful views of the newly formed United States. This landmark work ranks among the most perceptive and influential surveys of American politics and society.
Give Us the Ballot by Ari Berman
On the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act comes this riveting and alarming account of the continuing battle over the right to vote.
U.S. History and Historical Documents
Discover highlights from American history, including military events and founding documents.
An easily accessible online outline that traces the roots of the nature and role of government to the modern day.
Crash Course: U.S. Government and Politics (video)
In 50 videos, Craig Benzine (aka WeezyWaiter) teaches you U.S. government and politics! The course is based on the 2014 AP U.S. Government and Politics curriculum. By the end of this learning playlist, you will be able to:
- Become a more engaged and active citizen
- Understand how the US government works and how you can make it better for you and your community
- Explain the differences between the three branches of government
- Describe how political ideology, parties, and media influence elections and public policy
- Identify the limitations of democracy and the U.S. political system
Crash Course is part of the PBS Digital Studios network on YouTube.