ALA introduces new LibGuide on how to explore and use Library of Congress Digital Collections in library programming

For Immediate Release
Mon, 09/18/2023


Hannah Arata

Communications Specialist

Public Programs Office

American Library Association

CHICAGO - The American Library Association (ALA) has released a new LibGuide designed to help library workers use Library of Congress (LOC) Digital Collections in programming and educational opportunities.

Available now on the ALA Library’s LibGuide resource page, “Programming with Library of Congress Digital Collections,” is designed to help all types of libraries explore primary sources available from the Library of Congress online collection, and to connect with their communities through programming and educational opportunities.

The guide focuses on eight LOC collections (Arts, Civics, Folklife, History, Literature, Maps, Military Experience and STEM) with collection highlights and suggested program ideas that are accessible and adaptable for various library types and audiences.

Program ideas featured in the guide include:

  • Write the Lyrics – using sheet music from the Library of Congress’ Sheet Music of the Musical Theater Collection, participants can browse hundreds of artistic covers of sheet music and write lyrics based on the cover art.
  • Songs and Games – participants search the Library of Congress Folklife Collection for song lyrics and create their own melodies.
  • Native Treaties and Land Cessions - Using the Civics collection’s “Indian land cessions in the United States” document, participants can investigate their state’s treaties agreed upon with the native nations of that land – asking the questions of what was the original treaty and how has that treaty been upheld over time?
  • Women and the Military – using items in the LOC’s Clara Barton Collection, participants can discuss their findings and how the roles that women fulfilled in assisting military efforts has changed over time.

Explore the full guide.

The LibGuide is authored by Soline Holmes, librarian and Information Services Department chair at Academy of the Sacred Heart (Louisiana); Sarah H. Northam, director of research & instruction at Velma K. Waters Library on the campus of Texas A&M University-Commerce; and Rebecca Stanwick, assistant teaching professor and reference and instruction librarian at Bowling Green (Ohio) State.

ALA received funding from the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) Program to develop this resource guide. Through TPS, the Library of Congress offers classroom materials and professional development to help teachers and librarians effectively use primary sources from the Library's vast digital collections in their teaching and programming. Since 2006, the Library of Congress has awarded Teaching with Primary Sources grants through its TPS Partner Program, 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.

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