Library Treasures: At Your Fingertips
National Library Week, from April 612, honors libraries, those wonderful places to browse among the stacks, listen to story hours, and search from A-Z. Because of the Internet, libraries and archives are also making new worlds of rare documents and rich collections available online. If your students are writing stories about the lives of slaves, they can read letters written by slaves in the Special Collections Library of Duke University. Researching women who have been pathbreakers in unusual occupations? They can avail themselves of the biographies from the International Archive of Women in Architecture.
The opportunities to do research online in superb libraries and archives is exciting enough, but kids can be thrilled by seeing the primary documents from history close-up, such as at The Exhibit Hall of the National Archives and Records Administration. There, for instance, you can look at the original handwritten police blotter from the day President Lincoln was assassinated. Or, your students can search NARA's vast holdings of historical records and photos if doing research.
When enjoying literature, there's nothing like the feel of a book in one's hands. Yet libraries, such as the Alderman Library of the University of Virginia, have expanded opportunities to read by making many manuscripts available to read online or download. Check out the library's Electronic Text Center. Enjoy National Library Week by visiting your favorite library in your town and online!