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October 2011

President Washington on horseback

A New Look for Library of Congress Lesson Plans
Longtime users of the Library's lesson plans may have noticed a few changes. In order to make our lesson plans easier to use, we've tweaked their design and, in some cases, made some adjustments to content and titles. If you're having trouble finding an old favorite, try browsing by topic or era, or contact us via Ask a Librarian.


Teaching with the Library of Congress blog

New teacher blog: Teaching with the Library of Congress
The Library of Congress has launched a new blog to help teachers bring the power of the Library's online collections into the classroom: Teaching with the Library of Congress.

The Library has the world’s largest online collection of primary sources—more than 20 million historic artifacts, all available for free. To unlock the educational potential of those primary sources, the Library offers teachers a wide range of resources, from classroom materials to professional development opportunities, at the Library's site for teachers, loc.gov/teachers.

The Teaching with the Library of Congress blog will provide a new place for educators to discover and discuss the most effective tools for using the Library's primary sources in their teaching. The Library will provide new teaching strategies, collection highlights, and the latest on new programs and teaching resources. At the same time, the blog will be a forum where teachers can share experiences, exchange ideas, provide feedback on what the Library has to offer, and take the conversation on teaching with primary sources into new territory.

Whether you’re an expert at working with the Library’s primary sources or you’re just discovering the Library for the first time, your voice is needed here. So please join the discussion.

ISTE logo

The Library of Congress at ISTE 2011
On Monday June 27, the Library of Congress will be opening its booth at ISTE 2011, the International Society for Technology in Education’s annual gathering in Philadelphia.

The Library’s K-12 education specialists will be on hand through Wednesday to meet educators and discuss effective ways to use the Library’s primary sources in the classroom.

We’ll be talking about a number of exciting new developments: The Library’s revamped Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, historic newspapers, the World Digital Library, our self-guided professional development modules for teachers, new primary source sets, the National Book Festival, and much more.

In addition, Library staff will be making informal booth presentations every hour on the hour. Check out the full schedule of topics (PDF, 23 KB).

  • The Library’s Gail Petri will present a session titled “Differentiation through the Use of Primary Sources.” Tuesday, 6/28/2011, 3:45pm–4:45pm , PACC 123
  • Gail Petri and Stephen Wesson will present a poster session titled “Library of Congress Primary Sources: Sparking Critical Thinking.” Tuesday, 6/28/2011, 1:00pm–3:00pm , PACC Broad St Atrium.


The Library of Congress National Jukebox

The National Jukebox
Teachers and students can now listen to more than 10,000 historical sound recordings using the Library's new National Jukebox. From ragtime to novelty songs to opera, these songs are now available in an easy-to-use player that lets users create and manage their own playlists. More songs will become available over time, so please visit and explore often.

The dome of the Jefferson Library

Applications now available to serve as Teacher-in-Residence during the 2011-12 school year
Since 2000, the Library of Congress has recruited teachers to work with Educational Outreach staff to help teachers incorporate the Library’s collection of over 16 million digitized primary sources into high-quality instruction. Previous Teachers-in-Residence have led professional development workshops for teachers in Washington, DC, and across the United States. They have represented the Library at various conferences and meetings and developed teaching materials and lessons that use the Library’s digitized primary sources for national distribution.

The Deadline for applications is June 17th. Please direct any questions to edoutreach@loc.gov
For more information or to apply


Drawing of Muddy Jim

New Primary Source Sets on Political Cartoons and Children's Lives
Check out these additions to the growing list of primary source sets from the Library of Congress. Each set includes more than a dozen selected primary sources from the Library's rich collections on a particular curricular topic, along with a teacher's guide with historical context, teaching tips and analysis guides and tools.

Children's Lives at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
Images, film, and books shed light on the ways in which children worked, learned, and played around the year 1900. Especially suitable for early grades.

Political Cartoons in U.S. History
Political cartoons paired with other historical documents let students explore the ways in which cartoonists try to persuade their audience.

The dome of the Jefferson Library

What Would You Like to See in a Library of Congress Blog for Teachers?
The Library of Congress is preparing to launch a blog to serve K-12 teachers. It's our hope that this blog will further empower teachers to effectively use the Library's primary sources in the classroom, and we would like to ask you for help. Please drop the Library and line and let us know what you'd most like to see in this teacher blog. Teaching strategies? Highlights from the Library's collections? Current research on using primary sources in the classroom? Which subjects and eras are you most interested in? Write to the Library at edoutreach@loc.gov

Civil War soldier, seated, holding a rifle

One-day Teacher Workshops featuring the Liljenquist Civil War Photograph Collection
Interested in using Civil War photographs in your classroom activities? Come to one of our one day teacher workshops highlighting the use of the Liljenquist Civil War Photograph Collection.

A cooperative endeavor between the Interpretive Programs Office and the Office of Strategic Initiatives, each workshop invites educators from across the country to learn about the U.S. Civil War based on Library of Congress primary and web based materials. Participants will leave with strategies and materials for use in their schools.

The Library of Congress has acquired an exceptional collection of approximately 700 ambrotype and tintype photographs of Union and Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War. 379 will be displayed onsite from April 12, 2011 to August 13, 2011. Each workshop will use this exhibition, The Last Full Measure: Civil War Photographs from the Liljenquist Family Collection, as a foundation for critical inquiry.


  • Friday, April 29, 2011; 9 am - 4 pm
  • Saturday, April 30, 2011; 9 am - 4 pm
  • Monday, May 2, 2011; 9 am - 4 pm
  • Friday, May 13, 2011; 9 am - 4 pm
  • Saturday, May 14, 2011; 9 am - 4pm


PBS logo

Library of Congress Collaborates with PBS to Offer Course on Teaching with Primary Sources
The Library of Congress is pleased to announce its collaboration with PBS Teacherline in launching a new online course entitled, "Teaching with Primary Sources from the Library of Congress."

This 45-hour course will demonstrate how teachers can help students construct knowledge, think creatively, and develop information fluency necessary for success in the 21st century through analyzing primary sources from the Library of Congress. For more information or to enroll


detail of the dome of The Jefferson Building

Summer Teacher Institutes
Each year the Library of Congress provides opportunities for K-12 educators to attend one of its Summer Teacher Institutes in Washington, D.C. During the five-day institutes, participants work with Library of Congress education specialists to learn best practices for using primary sources in the K-12 classroom, while exploring some of the millions of digitized primary sources available on the Library’s Web site.

After participating in the Summer Teacher Institutes, participants will:

  • Know how to access primary sources from the Library of Congress.
  • Become skilled at analyzing primary sources of different formats.
  • Learn various teaching strategies for using primary sources in the classroom.
  • Be able to successfully facilitate a primary source-based activity with students.
  • Gain knowledge of how to use primary sources to enable students to be engaged, think critically and construct knowledge.
  • Develop a Primary Source Project Plan that will be implemented in the participant’s instructional setting.

Application Deadline: February 4, 2011

Elizabeth Ridgway

Elizabeth Ridgway

Elizabeth Ridgway, Director of Educational Outreach, passed away on December 23, 2010 after suffering a serious brain injury. Elizabeth built and directed the Library of Congress national educational outreach program, Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS). Elizabeth first came to the Library of Congress in 1998 as an American Memory Fellow. She was a middle school History Teacher from Arlington County, Virginia and quickly came to understand the power of using primary sources with students. She served as the Library’s Teacher in Residence during the years of 2001-2003 and was appointed Director of Educational Outreach in 2005.

During her tenure with the Library, Beth directed primary source-based content development for the Library's web site; developed and led many conference presentations; represented the Library to outside education organizations and wrote articles for education journals. Her contributions to the students and teachers throughout the country were professional and profound.

In her memory, the family established the Elizabeth Ridgway Education Fund to further Elizabeth's vision for education programming. Educators from around the country have benefited from Elizabeth's contribution to the Library of Congress and gifts to this fund will allow that work to continue in her memory.
Donate to the Elizabeth Ridgway Education Fund