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Three hollinger style archival boxes with print-outs of photographs and Library collections on the exterior.
Some examples of primary source boxes on display in the Young Readers Center-Programs Lab. This display includes work created by teen interns, college students, and members of the Library’s Youth Advisory Council.

A Teen Take on the Library: the High School Internship Program 2023, Part 1

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This post was written by Abigail Sears, a 2022 alumni of the Library of Congress High School Summer Internship program who returned as a volunteer for the program in 2023.

During July  of 2023, the Library of Congress welcomed twelve teenagers from various parts of the country to participate in its High School Summer Internship program, administered by the Informal Learning Office. The interns spent their time researching the library’s vast and diverse collections and meeting with experts across the Library, organized by Program Specialist Jennifer Ezell.  The teens then shared their research by creating primary source boxes for families to explore in the Young Readers Center-Programs Lab onsite at the Library. The internship followed a hybrid approach, with local interns working on-site at the library while others participated remotely from several different states. Informal Learning Office staff Jennifer Ezell, Rachel Gordon, Lauren Windham Roszak, Alli Hartley-Kong, Monica Valentine and Junior Fellow Amanda Roberts each mentored a pair of teens. Each pair successfully completed the internship with a prototype of an interactive physical box which may be selected for inclusion when the The Source: Creative Research Studio for Kids, a new education center at the Library for kids age 8-13 that is part of the Visitor Experience Master Plan, that will open in the next few years. Until The Source opens, you can follow along at home with our project summaries below.

Sam & Doug: Basketball

Sam and Doug were onsite interns. During their four weeks with us, they delved into the origins of basketball and how the game has evolved over time into the sport we know and love today. Their sources included a photo of Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, an 1893 article discussing the sport’s benefits, and the video below documenting a girls’  basketball game from 1904 filmed at Missouri State College. After completing their research, both researchers discussed how the sources they found helped them learn about the origins of their favorite sport. “Now, whenever we watch basketball on TV, we are reminded of how far the game has come.”


Cecilia & Gabriella: Voting Rights

Onsite intern Cecilia and remote intern Gabriella were assigned the broad theme of activism and human rights. They centered their research on voting rights advocacy, as both had experience writing about and volunteering for voter registration drives. The duo curated a diverse collection of materials for their box representing different movements for voting rights including women’s suffrage and the Civil Rights Movement. They selected items that they thought younger children might relate to, such as a photograph of a 13-year old suffrage activist from 1910, photographs of young activists in the Selma to Montgomery March of 1965 and even a recording of the popular women’s suffrage anthem “Daughters of Freedom” made in 1998 by performers who actually worked at the Library! Additionally, the group developed a reflection activity for the public, allowing visitors of all ages to experience the significance of voting by voting for the most popular hobby. Gabriella explained that selecting this topic made it feel “more personal to an audience of kids and students like me.”

A red Hollinger box with the word "VOTE" and an exhibit label on it
The draft of Cecilia and Gabriella’s project, which will soon be on display as a prototype in the Young Readers Center-Programs Lab. (Staff photo/Junior Fellow Amanda Roberts)

Stay tuned for part two of this blog next month, where we’ll delve into the research from the other pairs, on topics such as music during the Civil Rights period, the real-life events behind “Little Women”, the fascinating history of the Cherokee Nation, and American trailblazers! Teens attending the National Book Festival on August 12 can network with current and past Library’s high school interns during teen meetups at 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Story District, Hall DE (Level 2, North Building). Visitors of all ages will also have the chance to hear the teens deliver research talks at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. at the Informal Learning Office table in the LC-Adams Hall. Finally, if you visit the Young Readers Center-Programs Lab in the Thomas Jefferson Building in the next few weeks, keep an eye out for prototypes, which should be on display soon!

The back of the head of two teenage boys with dark hair on the dome of the Thomas Jefferson building. The Capitol is in view ahead and one teenager points at the Capitol.
Two of our teen interns tour the dome of the Library of Congress with its view of the Capitol. (Staff photo/Junior Fellow Amanda Roberts)



  1. Exciting opportunities for the NextGen‼️ Readers are leaders, leaders are readers. Many thanks to all, sounds like fun, too.

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