This is a guest post by Nanette Gibbs, a Reference Librarian in the Hispanic Reading Room, who enjoys sharing Library resources with researchers of all ages.
With their trip funded entirely from the proceeds selling Girl Scout Cookies, the Chesapeake Bay Troop 333 of the Girl Scouts of The Chesapeake Bay Council in Delaware, visited the Library of Congress on Friday, August 4, 2023. The night before coming to the library they camped out at Cherry Hill Park in Maryland only to find the clothes they had hung to dry were wet from a leaky tent leaving them soaking wet. Undeterred, they kept to the schedule, taking public transportation into DC and found their way to tours they had already scheduled at the White House, the U.S. Capitol and the Library of Congress. The Girl Scouts were accompanied by Girl Scout volunteer and Library Media Specialist Jennifer Leonard of the Sussex Academy in Georgetown, Delaware. For the past several years, Jennifer has brought students enrolled in both AP (Advanced Placement) and IB (International Baccalaureate) programs for Library orientations. For a display, Librarian Nanette Gibbs of the Latin American, Caribbean and European Division (LACE) assembled several items from the general collections covering more than 100 years of Girl Scout history. In the process she found the very edition of the Brownie Scout Handbook she used when she was a child. Scout Leader Crystal Wheatley shared with Nanette that the Girl Scouts produce only PDF formats of similar Girl Scout Publications now and to see these publications in print was a real treat for the girls.
A favorite of the girls was an early magazine for Girl Scouts entitled ‘The Rally’. In this publication they were able to examine ads for uniforms that you could send away for, guidelines for camping, recipes, poetry. The ads were particularly engaging and garnered the share of laughs as the scouts couldn’t believe the range of subjects that applied to scouting especially the one for how to make a Christmas dinner.
Other works for display included illustrations from a book entitled: ‘How the Girl Guides Won the War’. This work revealed that the ‘Girl Guides’ as they were called in England, learned Morse Code, the language of the telegraph and repurposed small tin cans for storage of maps they expertly folded so soldiers could find their way. The girls told their troop leaders and volunteers that the Library was the best experience yet.