Make it Yours – Professional Development from the Library of Congress

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.


  1. Janet Bass
    July 9, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    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. teresa st.angelo
    July 12, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    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. Elaine Regier
    July 14, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    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. Kathleen McGuigan
    July 24, 2013 at 11:19 am

    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. Sandy Williams
    July 6, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    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. Cheryl Lederle
    July 6, 2016 at 3:00 pm

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

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