Because our division covers the humanities and social sciences I would definitely get questions relating to religion, but I might be at the desk when someone was researching the history of catsup, ideas about beauty in the 1860s or wanting a list of consulting firms who helped incumbents win senate races , 1980-2012 (real questions!). I love the variety of both questions and researchers. And researchers in the Main Reading Room need only be 16 or older (and curious) in order to use our collections, which makes for a wide world of topics and interests.
As this team's Education Specialist, my role is to develop, coordinate and facilitate exhibition-related activities, including tours and public programs, for visitors ranging from K-12 students and teachers to families, lifelong learners, and even Members of Congress.
For me, one of the greatest joys of working at the Library is that I continually have the opportunity to choose a new favorite item, and I'll never need to pick the same one twice, thanks to the vastness of the collections. Every day, I see an image I've never seen before or view a photo with new eyes because of a researcher's enthusiasm for their research topic. Even with all the tools at my disposal to locate specific items, my day is still full of serendipity and discovery - and brand new favorites!
These Student Discovery Sets gather unique documents and artifacts related to landmark moments in the nation's history and, through interactive tools, let students zoom in on, illustrate, and makes notes about what they discover. The newest sets cover Political Cartoons and Public Debates, Japanese American Internment, and Women's Suffrage.
My all-time favorite teacher was Mrs. Campbell in sixth grade. One of her activities was to have us memorize and recite poetry a couple of times a year. While I was painfully shy back then, I thought the activity was terrific (once my turn was finished)! In our online collections, I really love the copy of Walt Whitman's poem "Oh Captain, My Captain." It's a printed copy but it includes corrections in Whitman's handwriting with a note to the publisher about "bad perversions."
Follow Thomas Jefferson's example and make your own vegetable market chart to track the seasonal availability of produce where you live. Start by recording the fruits and vegetables you see in grocery stores, farmers' markets, or your own garden, and the dates of their first and last appearances.
Learn about Zora Neale Hurston's time in Florida with the Federal Writers project in the May/June 2015 "Sources and Strategies" article in Social Education, the journal of the National Council for the Social Studies.