Staff Favorites: Lost in the Visuals

Amusement park, Old Orchard Beach, Maine, Carol Highsmith

Amusement park, Old Orchard Beach, Maine, Carol Highsmith

We are often asked which Library of Congress primary source is our favorite. We could never choose just one, but this week Kathy McGuigan of the Library of Congress highlights an especially intriguing or engaging primary source from the Library’s online collections.

When I search through the Library’s collections, sometimes I’m lucky enough to come across an image from the Highsmith (Carol M.) Archive. I always find myself taking time to freely explore her work. The reason I get lost in her images is because I can almost always imagine myself being there in the moment, taking in the vista, and I feel my other senses wanting to kick into high gear to join my sense of sight. This image called “Amusement park, Old Orchard Beach, Maine” is the perfect example of how that happens.  I love amusement parks and the state of Maine, and I find my nose twitching to take in the smell of salty air and French fries (which then triggers a desire to taste the fries).  I can almost hear the squeals of children going through the turn from the water ride above the one pictured.  My hand wants to reach out and feel the cool touch of the handrail as a small chip of paint flakes off.

Highsmith’s work is expansive and amazing and the users of the Library’s site are the beneficiaries of her generous donations of her copyright-free images. She’ll be the keynote speaker for the Library’s first online conference for teachers next month — watch this space for details about the event, coming soon!

Meanwhile, explore the collection and tell us about your favorite discovery.



The Américas Award: Bringing Literature to Life with Primary Sources

On Friday, September 18th, 2015, the Library of Congress hosted the Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature. The award, co-sponsored with the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs, recognizes work that “authentically and engagingly portrays Latin Americans, Caribbeans, or Latinos in the United States.” These diverse stories can be highlighted and brought to life through the use of primary sources.

Primary Sources in Science Classrooms: Introducing Trey Smith, 2015-2016 Library of Congress Science Teacher in Residence

I would in no way compare myself to Benjamin Franklin–for a number of very good reasons. However, as a newly minted science Teacher in Residence at the Library of Congress, I recognize that reflecting on Franklin, both as man and myth, might help me make sense of the opportunities ahead.

Keeping Humanity’s Collective Memory Alive

I have never been to Syria. I had only read about and seen images of the ancient ruins in Palmyra. I knew the 2,000-year old Greco-Roman structures were falling apart and had been for centuries. I had, however, no personal experience with them. But late last month, when news reports detailed their destruction, I found myself very upset, and tried explaining why to my children.

Five Questions with Francisco Macías, Senior Legal Information Analyst, Law Library of Congress

I love the Library’s collections of prints and photographs. I also love the “Selected Library of Congress Sources for Texas!” However, I would like to share some analog primary sources that we have digitally preserved: the bilingual gazettes (1863), Spanish and French, of the Second Mexican Empire.

A Year of Opportunities: Introducing Tom Bober, 2015-2016 Library of Congress Audio-Visual Teacher in Residence

We’re delighted to introduce the Library of Congress 2015-16 Teacher in Residence for audio and visual materials. Since 2000, the Library of Congress has selected an exceptional teacher to advise and collaborate with its educational staff. Tom Bober, a librarian at RM Captain Elementary in Clayton, Missouri, has used primary sources on historical and scientific topics from the Library of Congress to help students construct knowledge.