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Make it Yours – Professional Development from the Library of Congress

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Update, May 2022:

Many of the resources described in this post have been retired. For the latest PD resources from the Library, including webinar recordings and professional development videos, please visit our professional development page.

This is a guest post from Kathleen McGuigan, who works in K-12 education at the Library of Congress. This is part two of a two-part series on professional development.

In our earlier post on Memorable Professional Development, we heard from several teachers about the shift they went through as a result of the Library’s Summer Teacher Institutes.  So, if you’ve had a shift in your teaching practice as a result of using primary sources, how can you share with your colleagues?

Build and Deliver professional development

The Library has been investing in its teacher-based PD offerings since the start of the digitization of collections.  To that end, the Library has built a robust curriculum to put teachers in the role of students and then have them reflect on the learning process and  deepen their understanding of:

  • What are primary sources?
  • Why should I teach with primary sources?
  • How can I teach with primary sources?
Take online modules to learn more

The Library releases and makes freely available all of the PD content for you to adopt or adapt on your own.  Two tools from the Library of Congress will help you facilitate staff development – Build and Deliver (B&D) and self-paced interactive modules (I).

We have laid out some programming possibilities for you for face-to-face PD with independent follow up.


One hour

Choose one of the following:

  • Leaving Evidence of our Lives (B&D), or
  • Lincoln’s Pockets (B&D).

For every situation below, the best entry activity is “Connecting with Primary Sources” (B&D) and the best follow up is  “Introduction to the Library of Congress”  (I).

Two hours

  • One from “Analyzing Primary Sources” section (recommend photos or maps) (B&D);
  • Analyzing Primary Sources: Photographs and Prints (I);
  • Analyzing Primary Sources: Maps (I).

Three hours

  • One from “Analyzing Primary Sources” section (recommend photos or maps) (B&D);
  • Overview to (B&D);
  • Introduction to the Library of Congress (I);
  • Analyzing Primary Sources: Photographs and Prints or Maps (I).

Full day

  • One from Analyzing Primary Sources (recommend photos or map) (B&D);
  • Overview to (B&D);
  • Primary Secondary Source Sort (B&D).

Please let us know what PD experiences have worked for you, and what you’d like to see from Library of Congress PD.

Comments (8)

  1. I have had the privilege to be the lead instructor at the Oklahoma Teaching with Primary Sources Project for the last two summers.
    We reached 20 – 30 teachers at each summer institute that we held as benefactors of the grants for conducting professional development.
    The build and deliver materials are excellent. We are currently
    not scheduled to offer it this summer. We hope the grant program will be re-instituted as we have received many requests by other educators
    who long to participate.

  2. It was my atendance at the 2011 LOC Summer Institute that enabled me to challenge and engage students, parents, and colleagues in lessons and activities that opened up new dialogue, created a cooperative atmosphere, and contributed to an increased enthusiasm for learning to a degree not evidenced before in my classroom and school.

    I realize the teacher is the catalyst to learning in his/her classroom and their enthusiasm for the subject matter and the students is vital to the progress of every learner, and I am an enthusiastic LOC summer institute alumni, but the professional development the LOC offers was unlike any I ever had.

    ANY teacher, any grade, any subject will and can benefit and grow through attendance or participation in ANY professional development opportunities the LOC offers.

    I am so excited to begin my summer, planning a new year of events and activities to involve my students, parents, administrators, colleagues, and future teachers using primary sources and what I learned from the 2011 summer institute.

  3. I had a wonderful experience working with Kathleen McGuigan when we first started the teaching with primary sources series in Oklahoma! I thoroughly enjoyed the process and still share the information when the opportunity arises although my current position does not include working with teachers. That was one training that really got me excited!!!

  4. Hello. It’s so nice to hear from our friends in OK and NJ. We appreciate the feedback. Hope the rest of the summer goes well and good luck with all future endeavors.

  5. First of all, Cheryl, I want to say thanks for a well organized presentation!
    Second, this presentation Social Studies will be presented to PreK-12, but, altered per the student.
    Finally, I enjoy learning new ideas and practices from peers and experts in my field. It helps me improve my teaching. It helps me improve learning for my students.
    It helps me learn how to use technology. And
    I enjoy having the opportunity to get together with colleagues.

  6. You’re welcome, Sandy! Thanks for checking in!

  7. Are the self-paced interactive modules still available? The link above no longer works.

    • Thank you for your inquiry! Those modules relied on a technology that is no longer available, and so they have been retired. We are building new modules – watch this space for announcements when they become available. Your vigilance and kind note have prompted us to add a note to the post, pointing to more current resources, and I encourage you to explore those: For the latest PD resources from the Library, including webinar recordings and professional development videos, please visit our professional development page.

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