Online library sites offer teachers wonderful resources—and you don't need to schedule a trip to the library to use them! From storytelling to writing and literature, you can find materials that will get students engaged and clicking at these sites:
Look for the stories behind the photos
Share photographs from these sites and challenge students to search the images for clues about the lives, dreams, and treasures of the people pictured. Use the photos as a springboard for narrative stories that go beyond the image to what's come before or what will come next, or ask students to embark on research projects that explore the historical moments that the photos capture. If your resources allow, students can embark on their own documentary photography projects. Using these photos as models, have students take photos (or even record videos) of the people around them and document the stories behind the photos they take.
- "The Pageant of America" Photograph Archive (New York Public Library)
- Ellis Island Photographs (New York Public Library)
- Photographs of America from the Great Depression to World War II (Library of Congress)
- Ansel Adams’s Photographs of Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar (Library of Congress)
- Picture This: Family Photographs of Everyday San Francisco (San Francisco Public Library)
Record your own history
Remind students that everyone's story matters with these personal narratives and oral histories. You'll find transcripts and audio recordings that tell the story of people who see and do remarkable things as part of their daily lives. Use the materials on the StoryCorps website to ask students to record histories of their own after exploring resources from these collections.
- Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938 (Library of Congress)
- American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 19361940 (Library of Congress)
- Eyewitness (National Archive)
- From the Home Front and the Front Lines: A Special Presentation of Original Materials and Oral Histories From the Veteran's History Project (Library of Congress)
Look at the creative process
Writing can be a downright messy process. Show students that even great writers scribble and revise in complicated ways by sharing a notebook or original draft from one of these collections. Ask students to look not for the perfect sections of text, but for the places where the thinking and rethinking shows on the page. Rather than simply comparing these first drafts to the authors's later polished versions, have students compare the creative process behind these writers's drafts to their own efforts as writers and thinkers.
- Walt Whitman Manuscripts (New York Public Library)
- Revising Himself: Walt Whitman and Leaves of Grass (Library of Congress)
- The Notebook of William Blake (British Library)
- Emily Dickinson manuscript material (Boston Public Library)
- Langston Hughes Papers (Yale University)
Explore literary manuscripts
You probably don't have access to literary manuscripts in your school library. No matter. You can find examples online. Take any manuscript for a work that you're studying and ask students to consider how the original text compares to the mass-produced copies in your classroom or school/public library.
- Beowulf (British Library)
- Ellesmere Manuscript of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (Huntington Library)
- Shakespearean Book Folios Online (University of Victoria)
- John Milton's Paradise Lost (The Morgan Library)
- Jane Austen's The History of England (British Library)
- Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures Under Ground (British Library)
- Jean de Brunhoff's Histoire de Babar Maquette (The Morgan Library)