Starting about two decades ago, the Library of Congress–under the direction of Librarian of Congress James Billington–began moving more ambitiously into the K-12 education space than it had previously. In 1990 the Library began a pilot program to distribute digital primary-source materials on CD-ROM to classrooms. The program, known as American Memory, has today blossomed into a vast web-based treasure trove of about 15.3 million digital files.
As the materials expanded, so to did their educational potential and the realization that students’ exposure to these resources can ignite a desire to learn, along with critical-thinking skills, in the context of high-quality, inquiry-based instruction. Thus was born the congressionally mandated Teaching With Primary Sources (TPS) program in 2005 and a full-time Educational Outreach office at the Library.
The Library’s K-12 mission has now taken another step forward: a web portal bringing together its resources for teacher in a single place at loc.gov/teachers. It’s a new, easy-to-find center just one click away from the Library’s homepage.
An important feature of the free online site is a new build-it-yourself professional-development tool for teachers called TPS Direct. TPS Direct will offers any educator, at any time, the ability to customize professional-development activities for use at the school, district or state level for delivery in a face-to-face, online or blended format.
TPS Direct is being formally rolled out tomorrow at a special gathering of attendees of the National Educational Computing Conference in Washington, D.C., a program of the International Society for Technology in Education.
Other features of loc.gov/teachers include:
- A dedicated home page for primary source sets.
- “Using Primary Sources,” a quick introduction to the authentic classroom use of primary sources.
- And coming soon, a new search tool just for classroom materials.
The full transition of educational materials to the site will take place over time, and new features will become available from now on, so keep watching for the latest developments. If you’re having trouble finding a familiar resource, ask our reference staff using the “contact” link at the bottom of every Library Web page.
Whether you’re a longtime user or just beginning, we hope you’ll explore the new site, update your bookmarks, and discover the instructional power of primary sources at loc.gov/teachers.