Library of Congress opens virtual doors to educators

The Library of Congress is opening its doors to educators with a new app, webinars, lesson plans and even virtual office hours especially for teachers.

“How fitting that in 2020, on the library’s 220th anniversary, we celebrate a new way to put the Library of Congress in the hands of students, teachers and Americans,” WEAC President Ron Martin said during a virtual press conference.

“As an eighth-grade social studies teacher, I know firsthand how important it is that students and educators have trusted sources of information,” he said. “It’s essential in shaping students’ minds and lives. Often, especially in the most rural parts of Wisconsin, it can be difficult for schools to access a depth of resources. Budgets are shrinking for schools and community libraries, and distance plays a huge role when it comes to access.”

The Library’s vast collections of online primary sources are powerful resources that can help students engage with complex topics, build their critical thinking skills, create new knowledge and encourage student interest in original research.

Among the wide range of tools and programs to bring these primary sources to teachers are:

Online webinars for teachers. These allow the Library work with teachers wherever they are, with drop-in office hours or intensive workshops, on topics ranging from basic research, to scientific literacy, to teaching with Supreme Court cases.

Teachers’ Page. This page puts hundreds of free teacher resources at teachers’ fingertips. Ready-to-use lesson plans, sets of primary sources, and self-guided professional development, including primary sources from every U.S. state.

Teaching with Primary Sources Consortium. “TPS” is made up of a diverse group of universities, historical societies, foundations, companies and school districts across the U.S. that all receive grants from the Library of Congress. They offer professional development and create curriculum and programming supporting the educational use of primary sources. 

Communications. Get news and social feeds designed to bring teachers the latest ideas and updates.