Library of Congress Professional Development

Library of Congress Main Reading Room
Photographer Carol Highsmith
Public Domain Photograph

If you’re like me you have probably spent hours wandering through the Library of Congress’ Digital Collections surfing from photographs to maps to audio files. More than just fantastic cultural artifacts the LOC also has resources specifically for teachers. My favorite  are the Primary Source Sets. There is so much available but I have not taken time to go beyond what I found on the surface. I did know there were online professional development modules, but until this week didn’t realize the extent of the offerings.


There are several paths for Professional Development from short term commitment to intensive summer institutes. The Self-Directed online modules include one related to the LOC in general and five related to primary sources. These take about an hour. Surely in the next month I can find an hour to do one of these modules?

If you ever get called upon to lead professional development for your staff there are Build and Deliver modules. From the list of 15 topics you can choose which you would like to facilitate.  Choose your modules to match your needs and time constraints. Review your choices and after confirming your plan the builder will generate all of the files you need to facilitate. An introduction overview, procedure and all of the photographs or maps are included.

If you would like to go beyond there are a few more options including a summer Teacher Institute.

I think that the next time I need an image of a well (something I searched for last year) I’ll take the hour or two and do one of the modules about primary sources. I want to know more about how to navigate the digital collection, how to engage our youngest students with primary sources, and more about copyright and my obligationx as a consumer of information.

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