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What I Learned as Teacher in Residence at the Library of Congress

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digThis post is by Rebecca Newland,  Library of Congress Teacher in Residence, 2013-15.dig


Just two short school years ago I began serving as Teacher in Residence at the Library of Congress. I came not knowing what to expect, but anticipating a life-changing experience. I am glad to say I was not disappointed.

I have changed both professionally and personally while here.

  • I have learned about delivering professional development to adults, discovering that just as when working with students, the key to learning is engagement.
  • I have experienced the richest collaborative relationships of my career with some of the most knowledgeable experts in the world. They work here in divisions across the Library, sharing the vast collections with the world.
  • I have discovered the frustrations and joys of searching the digitized collections, cringing upon seeing the phrase “Access to this resource is only available at the Library of Congress,” but often finding something just as fabulous with “no known restrictions.”
  • I have come to appreciate the power of primary sources to engage our students, inspiring them to ask questions and seek answers.

Personally, I fell in love with the great city of Washington, DC and have decided to stay. I will be working as a high school librarian in northern Virginia. I am excited to share what I have learned at the Library of Congress with my new colleagues and students.

Thank you to everyone who supported me in this journey both inside and outside the Library of Congress.

Comments (11)

  1. What a wonderful entry–I hope your career inspires others to become “information detectives”, i.e., librarians!

  2. Best wishes in your new job, Rebecca! How nice that you will still be in the area and can continue to enjoy all that DC has to offer.

  3. You were a wonderful addition to the team and an energetic resource! You always had a helpful idea and were a great sounding board for projects. This was just from working with you for one week! I can’t imagine the gold mine you will be for a school district! Good luck to you! MaryD. Summer 2014

  4. It was informative and delightful to have you as one of the facilitators at the Library of Congress Civil Rights Teacher’s Institute last summer that I attended. Thank you for such wonderful guidance! The students at your new school will really benefit from all your skills.

  5. It was a pleasure working with you for the past two years! You helped us all to learn, experience, discover and appreciate what school librarians and English teachers do for their students. We are so glad your travels only take you just over the river. Your future students and colleagues will come to quickly know the treasure they have with you being there for them! Can’t wait to hear the stories!

  6. Such a joy to work with you! Your new students and colleagues are lucky, and your new principal should just get used to saying “yes, great idea!” Seriously!

  7. How wonderful that you had such a rich experience and found a new path as a high school Librarian in northern Virginia. I’m also searching for rich collaborative relationships in Education, and I’m hoping to find it through the “Meet Up” concept and exploring the Library of Congress website as the foundation for the educational Meet-up.

  8. Rebecca, you have modeled all that is right about education through your writing, your leadership in professional development, your creative curriculum ideas, your practical approach to the realities of classrooms and libraries, and so much more! I have especially appreciated the many ways in which you have put students at the center of inquiry learning with Library of Congress primary sources. Thank you for your constant support of all educational outreach programs, including the TPS Teachers Network. What a genuine pleasure it has been to work with you!

  9. i just returned from a fulfilling week at the Folger Shakespeare Summer Academy. I managed to carve out some time and visit the LoC, having applied for my RR card online. What an experience! Though I am a teacher, I am a librarian at heart and I can imagine how fufilling your term of residence must have been for you.

  10. Rebecca…The LOC Teacher in Residence seemed to be the perfect opportunity for you. I was inspired after taking the primary resources class you led here in Va Beach–helping me to better navigate and use the online resources from the LOC. We will miss you here in Va Beach and I wish you all the best in your new position.

  11. Good luck, Rebecca! Your visit to Boston Latin School last year and key support to me and teachers led to much close work with US History 8th graders using primary sources and PSA tool from LoC. Maybe our paths will cross again in Washington DC!

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