Five Questions with Monica Valentine, Serials Technician, US Arts, Sciences, and Humanities Division and Program Specialist, Young Readers Center, Library of Congress

This post was written by Monica Valentine of the Library of Congress.

Monica Valentine

Describe what you do at the Library of Congress and the materials you work with.

I am a Library Technician in the Library of Congress US Arts, Sciences, and Humanities Division. My section processes and catalogs serial publications received by the Library, and then forwards them to the appropriate custodial divisions where they are available for use by patrons.

I also work in the Library of Congress Young Readers Center (YRC) on a part-time basis. We welcome children and families who are visiting the Library, as well as groups of K-12 students, and assist them in using our diverse collection of nearly 7,000 books for young people. I assist in coordinating special events for kids, including children’s author talks, many of which are now live streamed and accessible to students anywhere. I work with local area schools to recruit onsite audiences for these programs.

Suffrage protestors burn speech by President Wilson at Lafayette Statue in Washington, D.C. Harris and Ewing, 1918

Do you have a favorite item from the Library’s online collections?

I recently participated in a Summer Teacher Institute here at the Library. While scouring the Library’s online collections I discovered many interesting photos of protests in the United States. The protests covered a range of issues such as school desegregation, the Vietnam War, and the suffragists’ campaign. It was fascinating to reflect on what issues have sparked such passionate reactions from Americans and to examine images from those protests.

Share a time when an item from the collections sparked your curiosity.

During the Summer Teacher Institute we analyzed an abundance of primary sources and they all sparked my curiosity. My purpose in attending was to develop some strategies for sharing the Library’s online resources in the Young Readers Center. I came away with several ideas to help accomplish that.

Tell us about a memorable interaction with a K-12 teacher or student.

I have memorable encounters whenever I work in the YRC! Teachers are thrilled to have a place in the Library that provides programming that supports their curriculum and is enjoyable to kids.

Photograph of Jeff Kinney from event at Coolidge Auditorium 11/1/16. Photograph by Shawn Miller

I particularly remember one author visit, though. Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney is a hero to many young people. I can still hear the squeals of joy when he entered the Coolidge Auditorium high fiving the gathered students as he made his way up to the stage to talk to them.

What’s one thing you’d like to tell teachers about the materials that you work with or the collections in general?

The Library of Congress is a resource that we invite them to take full advantage of. There are broad and diverse primary sources available online that they can use to support their lesson plans and spark inquiry. Teachers are welcome to plan a visit to the Young Readers Center with their students if they are in the area. If they are not local they can keep an eye out on the Library’s website for announcements of upcoming live streamed author talks for students.

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