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The Teacher’s Guide to the Library of Congress

Posted on Wednesday September 26, 2012 by Staff Writers

There’s no denying what an incredible resource teachers have in the Library of Congress. As the largest library in the world, it’s home to millions of books, recordings, photographs, and other materials, many of them original sources. Even better, the library has been able to put much of their vast collection online for educators to access and share without ever even leaving the classroom. Spoken history, photographs, and iconic cultural resources are available as teaching resources, and many of them are neatly organized into lesson plans, collections, and themes, perfect for bringing them into the classroom.

But at the same time, all of these great resources can be overwhelming, and it may be difficult for some teachers to make sense of how to best use it all. That’s why we’ve created a short guide to making the most of the Library of Congress, with tips and ideas for activities, plus links to guides, resources, and tools that you can put to work in your classroom. Read on, and let’s get started taking advantage of all the great resources that the Library of Congress has to offer for your students.

Tips & Ideas

Not sure how to get started with the Library of Congress? Find some inspiration here.

  • Share moments in history:

    The Library of Congress offers Today in History, featuring important events in America’s history that are great topic and lesson starters.

  • Stay up to date on news and events:

    Visit the Library of Congress News and Events page for teachers to find out about professional development opportunities, teaching events, and more ways to interact with the library as an educator.

  • Find photos for your classroom:

    Through the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, you can find a photo for just about anything you’re currently teaching. You can even find other supplements including historic newspapers, sound recordings, manuscripts, maps, and film.

  • Connect with the Library of Congress on Facebook:

    Find out about interesting collections, new study opportunities, and learning resources to share on the Library of Congress Facebook page.

  • Find webcasts, music, and more:

    Follow the Library of Congress on YouTube to get access to webcasts, concerts, books, and even hidden treasures at the Library of Congress.

  • Get teaching ideas on Twitter:

    Follow @librarycongress on Twitter to get useful ideas for teaching with Library of Congress resources.

  • Start your own collection:

    Create an account with myLOC to save your favorite items to share in the classroom. You can also get access to featured lesson plans and online activities through myLOC.

  • Encourage reading with Books That Shaped America:

    Here you’ll find educational resources to bring students into the world of reading with the Library of Congress.

  • Share photos from the LOC Flickr:

    The Library of Congress regularly shares historic photos on their Flickr photostream, offering a great resource to share in your classroom.

Library of Congress Guides

Straight from the Library of Congress itself, these guides make for great resources when learning how to use primary sources, teaching with the library, and more.

Useful Resources & Tools

Here we’ve highlighted some of the very best resources and tools that the Library of Congress has to offer for educators.

  • Teacher Resources:

    Start here to get connected with all of the teacher resources the Library of Congress has to offer, including classroom materials, professional development, and guides.

  • Primary Source Sets:

    In Primary Source Sets, you’ll find collections of primary sources for subjects from Abraham Lincoln to the Wright Brothers.

  • Primary Source Analysis Tool:

    Using this tool, students are able to organize and understand their findings as they examine primary sources from the Library of Congress, from photos to sound recordings.

  • Jump Back in Time:

    With this tool, your classroom can jump back in time to any period, or even pick a date in history to visit.

  • Professional Development Builder:

    Visit the Professional Development Builder to find materials that can teach you more about using and teaching with the Library of Congress. The library also offers self-directed modules.

  • Lesson Plans:

    Created by teachers, these lesson plans make great use of Library of Congress primary resources.

  • Themed Resources:

    Visit the Library of Congress Themed Resources to find some of the best activities, lesson plans, and sources for popular curriculum.

  • Presentations & Activities:

    Check out these activities to find media-rich activities and interactive opportunities for your classroom.

  • Collection Connections:

    Through Collection Connections, you can find ideas for teaching with Library of Congress primary source collections.

  • Library of Congress Additional Resources:

    Go beyond the Library of Congress to find resources from outside the library and find more library resources.