Rebecca Newland, librarian at Kemps Landing Magnet School in Virginia Beach, VA, has been selected as the Library of Congress (LOC) Teacher-in-Residence for 2013–2014. Newland began her work at the library in August and—except for the government shutdown, which has kept her furloughed this week—she is looking forward during her appointment to planning and facilitating workshops for teacher/librarian pairs on using LOC primary sources with students, she says.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to work at the library and bring the school librarian perspective to the development of materials for use by teachers and librarians,” Newland tells School Library Journal. “I am most looking forward to working with groups of educators to build knowledge and excitement about using primary sources.”
Since 2000, the LOC has recruited educators to work with its educational outreach division to help K–12 teachers and school librarians incorporate its digitized primary sources into their instruction. Each Teacher-in-Residence undertakes a project to benefit his or her home school or district, to be implemented during the following academic year.
According to the LOC, Newland was selected due to her proposed project plan as well as her demonstrated use of the Library’s Lewis Hines collection of photographs in collaborative project with her school’s sixth-grade language arts teachers on Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist.
“We used the Library of Congress primary source analysis tool to analyze photographs Hine had taken in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia (Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk) to engage students with the realities of child labor,” Newland explains.
“We then used textual items available from the Library as well as the National Archives to study the progression of child labor laws in the United States with focus on the first national law, the Keating-Owen Child Labor Act of 1916. We looked particularly at the persuasive techniques of logos, pathos, and ethos as used in these documents by those both opposed to and in favor of the law. Students then used primary source items to make a case for or against the law that took the form of an editorial, speech, or letter to a Congressperson.”
Newland says was inspired to apply for this year’s Teacher-in-Residence appointment after attending the Summer Teacher Institute at the Library of Congress in 2012. “I had used primary sources when I was a teacher, but had not yet as a librarian,” Newland says. “The Institute opened my eyes to how as the librarian I could help teachers across disciplines use primary sources to engage students. I knew I needed to apply. I just really felt it was something I could do well, and that I would have a lot to offer the Library, just as I would gain a lot to take back to my school district.”
Newland’s project plan during her appointment is “to develop a half-day or full-day workshop for teacher/librarian pairs or trios,” she says. “The goal of the workshop is for the teams to develop a collaborative lesson using primary sources. I believe the collaboration between the librarian and subject area teacher(s) is the most effective way to reach students and engage them on multiple levels, especially with primary sources.”
Barring a prolonged government shutdown, Newland says expects to be back at the Library soon, and continue her work through the end of the school year in mid-June of 2014.