For immediate release | September 27, 2022

ALA releases free programming guide for libraries, “Programming with Primary Sources: Women’s Suffrage”

CHICAGO — With funding from the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program, the American Library Association (ALA) has published “Programming with Primary Sources: Women’s Suffrage,” a resource guide to inspire and help library workers bring primary source inquiry into their book clubs, crafts and other library programs.

The 31-page guide is free and available to all on the ALA website. Download the guide here.

History textbooks often offer a simplistic narrative of the nation’s experience of granting women the ballot, but a closer look paints a much more complex history of women’s voting rights activism.

Created by librarians in collaboration with the ALA Public Programs Office, the “Programming with Primary Sources: Women’s Suffrage” guide seeks to shed light on lesser-known histories and perspectives from the women’s suffrage era and provide user-friendly resources so libraries across the United States can lead impactful conversations about this important part of our nation’s past.

The guide includes:

  • Six program models, each with detailed program outlines and primary source recommendations, that can be replicated and adapted for different audiences
  • Suggestions of ways to pair primary source analysis with book discussions
  • Helpful resources for analyzing primary sources, learning about women’s suffrage, and understanding copyright and fair use

“Primary sources are the raw materials of history—original documents and objects that were created at the time under study,” reads the Library of Congress website. As such, these items are powerful teaching tools. Bringing people of all ages into close contact with items from bygone eras can make the past come alive in a uniquely powerful way.

Thousands of Library of Congress items tell the stories of the women’s suffrage movement: historic and contemporary audio and video files, posters, photographs, magazines, sheet music, maps, manuscripts and rare books, as well as government documents and legislation.

Since 2006, the Library of Congress has awarded Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) grants to build a nationwide network of organizations that deliver educational programming, and create teaching materials and tools based on the Library’s digitized primary sources and other online resources. Each year members of this network, called the TPS Consortium, support tens of thousands of learners to build knowledge, engagement and critical thinking skills with items from the Library’s collections.

Teaching with Primary Sources: Women's Suffrage & Libraries is made possible by the Library of Congress. The program is administered by ALA's Public Programs Office. To be notified about future resources, grants and opportunities from ALA's Public Programs Office, sign up for ALA’s Programming Librarian newsletter.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government, and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit

About the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at; and register creative works of authorship at


Hannah Arata

Communications Specialist

American Library Association

Public Programs Office