Numbers may look like pure facts and are often presented as irrefutable proof, but they are shaped by the methods used to gather them. Whenever you use statistics, pay critical attention to who gathered them, how, when, and for what purpose.
The federal government provides a vast amount of data, summarized in the handy little book The Statistical Abstract of the United States (1878-2012 online; most recent year in print is shelved near the reference desk.
The following Websites are good sources for demographic and social statistics.
Federal agencies often track information and have their own statistical bureaus. Examples are the National Center for Education Statistics, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the National Center for Health Statistics.
The College and Church Archives located on the upper level of the library is a place to get your hands on the raw materials of Gustavus history. But since these materials are one-of-a-kind, you have to handle them carefully, and you'll need assistance from the archives staff. This means planning ahead and making an appointment.
You can get a sense of what's available by browsing the digital collections.
For maps you can pore over, check out the atlas case behind the Hasselquist room where you can find world, national, and historical maps. Online, map software and global positioning technology are being fused with data in interesting ways.
Easy to use map sites
More sophisticated mapping tools
Maps that show data
Localized public map sites
Collections of maps online