To celebrate the 220th anniversary of its founding on Friday, April 24, 1800, the Library of Congress is highlighting some of the many gifts and resources we have been able to provide because of your contributions. Here in the Library’s Learning and Innovation Office, our education team feels that we’re the recipients of a valuable gift: For more than two decades, we’ve had the opportunity to work with and support teachers from across the United States, no matter what the circumstances.
For example, on March 26, teachers from Kansas, Colorado, Virginia, and Ohio, met with Library education staff to explore primary sources and teaching strategies related to the influenza pandemic of 1918. Our colleague Cheryl Lederle showed them a letter home written by an American Red Cross volunteer who was stricken by the flu while traveling to Europe to help with aid efforts there. “There are powerful documents that can make this very, very real for you and for your students,” she explained. One teacher jumped in with a question, “The LOC is a tremendous resource—and a bit intimidating. Where would you recommend that we, as teachers, start a search?”
This gathering did not take place at the Library, however, but in a Web conference room. The educators were participants in a Library of Congress educational Online Office Hours session, with Library education specialists leading the program from their homes.
These online sessions have been taking place twice a week since the Library temporarily closed its buildings to the public March 13, and are among the many ways in which Library staff have worked to serve the nation’s educators during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. For information on upcoming sessions, visit our Online Office Hours page.
In addition to the Online Office Hours, since mid-March, our staff have presented more than a dozen programs for education audiences, on topics ranging from introductions to the Library and basic research, to scientific literacy and teaching with Supreme Court cases.
At the same time, teachers continue to use the arsenal of resources available on the Library’s portal for educators, www.loc.gov/teachers, which is visited millions of times a year, and to participate in lively discussions on the Teaching with the Library of Congress blog and @TeachingLC Twitter account.
The Library also reaches teachers nationwide through the work of the Teaching with Primary Sources Consortium, a diverse group of universities, historical societies, foundations, companies, and school districts that offer professional development and create curriculum and programming supporting the educational use of primary sources. Consortium members can be found in every state, and many of their resources are useful for teachers anywhere.
Finally, the articles that the Library’s educational resources specialists regularly write for professional journals, such as NSTA’s The Science Teacher, NCSS’s Social Education, and NAfME’s Music Educators Journal, continue to make their way into teachers’ physical and electronic mailboxes.
As a recent online Office Hours session came to a close, participants chimed in with grateful farewells. “What an exceptional opportunity to gather information on this remarkable source. Thank you for all the work you continue to do.” “It’s a great service. So much is available through LOC!”