Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Summer Programming with the Library of Congress

Along with my colleagues at the University of South Carolina iSchool, I am part of the TPS (Teaching with Primary Sources) Consortium. TPS Consortium is a “professional network of universities, cultural institutions, library systems, school districts, and other educational organizations. Members work together to share information, devise new approaches, and offer collaborative programming focused on Library of Congress primary sources.” ( We host professional development for K – 12 educators, sharing ways to use primary sources and The Library of Congress website in their teaching and work with students.

I have become very familiar with the LOC website and have discovered some “hidden treasure” that you can use this summer in your library, especially if you are working with the “Oceans of Possibilities” theme. Ready?

  • Use Free to Use and Reuse as inspiration for event flyers, decorating, social media posts and more. I created this image of my daughter using one of the photos from the LOC site as the background. Easy and fun. Use the images to take photos of library staff “reading” on the beach to share on social media or to introduce library volunteers.
Image courtesy of the author
  • Everyday Mysteries ( ) is a great place to explore for passive programming. You could make an interactive display using the questions and add materials to help patrons answer those questions. Browse here (several questions fit our summer reading theme),
  • I think the Families section of the Library of Congress website is my favorite. There are videos from favorite authors (Dav Pilkey! Jason Reynolds!) and some very cool tools for programming. Visit the site and scroll down. There are Activity Kits, printables and more. If you are still doing grab and go kits, I think this is a great place for fresh ideas.
  • Using the search function on the main page, find ocean/beach/bathing suit images. Have a fashion show using the images that showcase what bathing suits used to look like and have teens design their own. You can use images like this one to inspire.
Image courtesy of the author

Detroit Publishing Co, P. Bathing, Ocean Grove, N.J. New Jersey United States Ocean Grove, None. [Between 1900 and 1910] [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

Image courtesy of the author.

The Library of Congress website is rich with resources that can be used for school and public libraries. The best thing you can do this summer is spend some time exploring the site. You will probably find many more ideas and resources to use! The site is an “ocean” of information! Have fun exploring!

This blog post was written on behalf of the School-Age Programs and Services Committee by Valerie Byrd Fort. She teaches Children’s Literature to pre-service teachers and Children’s Materials to future school and youth services librarians at the University of South Carolina. She also coordinates UofSC’s literacy outreach program, Cocky’s Reading Express.

This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: III. Programming Skills

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