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February 14, 2013 / gaillovely

The Library of Congress for Teachers


Library of Congress


I suppose most people have heard of the United States Library of Congress, but perhaps  never explored the amazing resources there. Well, it is an amazing resource which just keeps getting better and better! The newly reorganized teacher resource center/interface for teachers is easier than ever to use and serves as a great launchpad for exploring the millions of primary resources in the Library’s collections… oh, and perhaps I should mention here – you can search by Common Core or by specific states… in addition to a number of other ways.

LOC Teacher Page

Start at the Teacher Resources Home Page Shown above.


The Library of Congress is the biggest library in the world… and it is still growing! The educators there work hard to provide us with ever-increasing ways of accessing the myriad of resources there… it is amazing all that is available online! Explore the miles (literally) of bookshelves via a multitude of pathways. I highly suggest starting at the Teacher Resources Home Page ( ). You will immediately notice this is more than “a bunch of old books and images”. There ARE images (maps, photos, drawings and more) as well as books, sheet music, recordings and other materials. Here are some easy entry points:

1.  Search by Common Core –

The Library of Congress has recently added a search tool for searching for Common Core indexed resources by State. This is a powerful opportunity to begin digging into the deep wealth of resources the Library of Congress has for us in education.

LOC Common Core search

2. Today in History –

Using a wide selection of materials from the American Memory Collection, the LOC provides insight to events of the day. Some include audio, most include images and all include additional information and links to encourage additional research. These provide easy entry points to the inclusion of primary sources in the classroom on an ongoing basis.

LOC Day in History

3. Primary Source Sets –

The compilation of primary sources into cohesive meaningful sets ready for us to use in our classrooms is a gold mine for teaching and learning! These sets include topics like “The Civil War”, “The Harlem Renaissance”, “The Inventive Wright Brothers”, and “The Veterans History Project”. These each include a teacher’s guide, a “primary source analysis tool” and a carefully selected collection of a variety of primary sources. A HUGE time saver and an extremely motivational way to explore important topics. There are even sets for each of the US States.

LOC Primary Source Sets

4. Themed Resources –

These are complete sets of themed resources which include lesson plans, exhibits, and materials on diverse, curriculum-rich themes such as “Advertising”, “Civil Rights”, and “Baseball”. These are yet another “quick start” to exploring the depth of the library’s collections and the expertise of the experts and educators working with the collections.

LOC Primary Source Sets

5. Jump Back in Time –

One more access point to the vast array of resources is this student-friendly tool for jumping to a specific date or time period in American history in a student-friendly article about the era or the date with links to additional stories.

LOC Jump Back in Time


My goodness… Do I need to say more than PRIMARY SOURCES? We can use images to inspire writing, prompt thought, engage learners, and enhance interest. We can use recordings to hear history, maps to explore geography, political cartoons to discuss point of view… and so much more. The new (again) emphasis on primary sources which the Common Core State Standards has brought to classrooms at all levels is a bit easier when you begin to mine the Library of Congress through some of the above entry points.

Details and Costs:

LOCThe Library of Congress is FREE at .

You can follow the Library of Congress on twitter: @librarycongress

You can like the Library of Congress on Facebook:

You can follow the Library of Congress’ Flickr Feed:

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