Each summer, the Library of Congress offers Summer Institute Programs to teachers and media specialists. For nearly a week during the summer of ’08, I had the pleasure of attending my first summer institute. During that time, I discovered all the wonders and beauty of THE Library of Congress.
The Education Outreach division of the Library is located in the Madison Building across the street from the Capitol. Twenty fellow teachers and media specialists gathered on a Monday morning to begin our exploration of the Library. During our 4 days (they are now 5 days), we were treated to insider views of the Library, tours, and the challenge of producing a teaching unit that would benefit our students. With the guidance of Library personnel, we learned how primary sources could be used to enhance the interest and education of our students. Units were created, friendships made and corners and hide-aways of the Library were discovered. The days flew by and, at the end of our experience, we were exhausted but excited about all we had accomplished.
The Library has partnered with colleges throughout the nation to become Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) centers. A new program was developed last year where TPS Mentors were chosen to spread the word about the LOC web page, teacher page and TPS centers as well as to be a resource for those who have questions about utilizing the LOC web pages to find primary sources. Those attending the summer institutes will have the opportunity to apply for the second round of selections to this mentor group. Nineteen of us are in the first group chosen, including some nationaly known librarians such as Joyce Valenza and Wendy Stephens.
I encourage you to apply for the Summer Institute (but HURRY… the deadline is February 4). I guarantee it will be a week of work you will cherish, refer to and utilize during the rest of your career. You will leave there having forged friendships with other professionals from all over the country
Because The Library of Congress does a much better job than I of explaining the institutes and the application process, check the full information and application guidelines can at: http://www.loc.gov/teachers/professionaldevelopment/teacherinstitute/apply/
Anyone, of course, can tour the LOC and be amazed by it’s beauty. However, should you get the opportunity to participate in a Summer Institute, you will enjoy additional experiences and explore areas not accessible to the general public. You will leave there with a fuller understanding of why the great institution is often named three times…. THE Library of Congress. The LIBRARY of Congress. The Library of CONGRESS.