Representation in the Library of Congress Collections: Complicating the Narrative

Image of Great Hall. View of grand staircase and bronze statue of female figure on newel post holding a torch of electric light. Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, DC

The historical record is often skewed towards the story told by those in power, but primary sources created by marginalized voices hold their own power to challenge and complicate these dominant narratives. The Library of Congress (LOC) preserves and elevates stories contained in primary sources from marginalized voices through exhibitions and collections.

In this on-demand webinar, Library of Congress staff introduce you to the LOC’s online exhibitions that challenge common narratives. They help librarians bring a variety of materials to kids and teens, sparking curiosity, supporting inquiry, and engaging them in real world learning. Learn about activities, displays, and programs that draw in young audiences; and to apply strategies that help their communities think more deeply about the way primary sources, including those from local archives and collections, complicate familiar narratives. The instructors provide an overview of a variety of collections and techniques with specific examples centered around the online exhibition, “Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words.”

Originally presented December 9, 2020.

Access to an auto-captioned version in Zoom is available with purchase.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this on-demand webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Learn strategies for locating, identifying, and using resources in LOC online exhibitions that elevate marginalized voices;
  • Evaluate techniques for constructing activities, displays, and programs on-site and online to engage families, kids, and teens; and
  • Apply historical thinking to primary sources from local and national collections to empower patrons to see beyond a single narrative.

Who Should Attend

This on-demand webinar is intended for all public library staff—especially those who work with families, children, and teens—with no previous knowledge of the topic.


Sasha DowdySasha Dowdy was born in Russia and raised in Japan, and became a librarian after working as a translator, interpreter, and Japanese language teacher. She has a BA in Japanese and an MLS from the University of Maryland. She worked as an intern in the Library of Congress Young Readers Center before getting a permanent position as program specialist in 2016. Sasha is passionate about helping kids and teens find something in the Library of Congress that connects to their lives and sparks their curiosity.

Cheryl LederleCheryl Lederle has worked as an educational resources specialist at the Library of Congress since December of 2003. She has also played a significant role in shaping the Library's online repository of classroom materials and resources for teachers ( and continues to contribute to the development of those materials. Cheryl holds a BA from Kent State University, an MAT from the University of Chicago, and an MLIS from Syracuse University. She has fifteen years' experience teaching English at both the high school and community college levels.



Individual – PLA Personal Member $33.00
Individual – ALA Personal Member/Nonmember $49.00
Group* $199.00


* Group rate is for single library access, including all its branches/outlets. It applies if an on-demand webinar will be viewed by multiple people—viewing on an individual basis and/or in groups. Please contact for special pricing if you wish to share access to an on-demand webinar across multiple libraries in a consortium.

How to Register

Please note: As ALA transitions to a new, centralized eLearning site, this on-demand webinar is temporarily unavailable for purchase. If you’d like to purchase access to this on-demand webinar, please contact PLA at and we will follow up with you when this product is available on the new eLearning site.

Tech Requirements

To playback an archived webinar you should have either the latest version of Flash running on your computer, or use a browser with native HTML5 support. Please use the most up-to-date version available of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer. A fast Internet connection and computer is recommended.

Credits or CEUs

PLA does not award credit hours, CEUs, or certificates of attendance/completion/participation for its on-demand webinars and cannot verify participation.


If you have questions or problems accessing a recording, send a message to or call 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752).