The End of a Year at the Library of Congress: The Beginning of a New Journey

This post was written by Tom Bober, the Library of Congress 2015-16 Audio-Visual Teacher in Residence.

Tom Bober, 2015-16 Audio-Visual Teacher in Residence

Tom Bober, 2015-16 Audio-Visual Teacher in Residence

It seems like each school year flies by faster than the last, and that is exactly how I feel about my time here at the Library of Congress as the Audio-Visual Teacher in Residence. I always end my school year by reflecting back on the past year and planning for the next.

As I look back on this school year, I think about my new learning.

  • I have grown as a writer and presenter. I am more conscious of my audience and what I want to share with them. It has given me new ways to share my stories.
  • I have learned to navigate many areas of the Library of Congress, in person and online, and along the way found the most helpful librarians and staff in the dozen reading rooms I’ve visited. It has made me eager to step into libraries that house primary sources in my home town and continue to explore the Library of Congress online collections.
  • I have found more of my professional voice. I’ve realized that my opinions and perspectives are valued among people I consider to be the best of the best. It gives me a new sense of self.
  • I’ve had incredible collaborative relationships where the give and take of ideas has pushed me to give birth to new thinking. It has helped me to gain a deep and rich knowledge of students’ use of primary sources. My thinking has evolved in ways that I couldn’t have predicted.

And as I plan for next year, I think about opportunities ahead.

  • I have many new ideas for using primary sources with my students. Some I’ve written about in this blog. Others are outlined in a notebook to be uncovered soon. I can’t wait to see how students react to these new approaches and primary sources.
  • I’m eager to write about my students’ use of primary sources, and while the audience for my blog will be quite a bit smaller than this one, the opportunity to reflect will be of incredible value to me.
  • I’m looking forward to talking with new teachers in St. Louis and across the Midwest in a shared collaboration focused on students’ use of primary sources in learning.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my gratitude to my family, who selflessly allowed me to move halfway across the country for the opportunity to grow. I’m thankful to many in my district who supported this endeavor without question and are welcoming me back in the fall.

I’m appreciative that I was able to share a bit of myself with this institution and gain so much from it at the same time.


  1. Michael J Brna Ph.D.
    May 31, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Tom Bober has been an excellent Teacher-in-Residence this past year. By his own words, he has grown in so many ways that will undoubtedly benefit his students and his peer colleagues. For me, the TPS Consortium members, and the general public, his insights and work have been inspirational and informative and, in the truest spirit of education, he has given more than he has received. For that I am grateful and I wish Mr. Bober the very best life has to offer. Thank you for coming to the Library of Congress and making such profound and thoughtful contributions to educators during your time there.

  2. Pat Minute
    May 31, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    As a retired educator, I am excited for Tom to bring his newfound experiences and professional voice back to the St. Louis area where he can impact the education of so many children in his daily interactions with them. Our schools need more dedicated educators like Tom.

  3. Jennifer Bober
    May 31, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    I’ve known for some time that Tom Bober was an amazing educator and presenter, then he became an outstanding librarian. This past year, at the the Library of Congress, he has achieved and possibly surpassed several of his professional goals. His ideas, experience and knowledge will be well received by more than the limits of his school, school district and even the Midwest. I’ve enjoyed listening through phone calls to his discoveries and unique experiences while working for the Library of Congress, but in all selfishness, I’m ready for him to be home and to share these ideas and successes face-to-face. Thank you LOC and DC for welcoming, working with and taking care of Tom this past year. Tom, welcome home!

  4. Leigh Palmer
    May 31, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Congratulations on completing what sounds like a fulfilling year! I’m so excited to hear about it and to assist you in working with our students. What an amazing adventure you had and we are so lucky to have you as our librarian. Looking forward to working with you again!

  5. Lisa Hehner
    May 31, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    All of us at Captain Elementary are eager to welcome Tom back!! He has always been a great resource for parents, students and teachers. Tom is easy to talk with, eager to collaborate and help and someone who carefully considers all perspectives before making a decision. I can’t wait to see what new ideas and plans he has for our 4th graders. Looking forward to August!!

  6. Jennifer Harbster
    May 31, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    It was such a pleasure meeting and working with you (although briefly). Congratulations and here’s to you and the teaching profession!

  7. Kathy McGuigan
    June 1, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Tom, it’s been a true pleasure working with you this year. You helped me understand more about the student research process and how to better incorporate the analysis of audio visual materials into our programs. I will miss your enthusiasm, dry sense of humor and of course, discussions about shows on AMC and baking. Thank you for all that you’ve done for us this year. I am forever grateful. I can’t wait to hear about the next chapter! Best of luck.

  8. Erin Elman
    June 6, 2016 at 10:14 am


    It was lovely to meet you at the TPS Consortium meeting last month and listening to your presentation. It inspired the UArts TPS program to check out the audio-visual resources available to us for our Level II, 3-credit courses this summer. Thank you for the work you have done on behalf of the consortium! Good luck in all your future endeavors.

    Best Regards,
    Erin Elman
    TPS UArts, Philadelphia

  9. Cynthia Szwajkowski
    June 6, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Thanks for your terrific work, Tom. It has been a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with you.

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.

Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.