Sunday, March 20, 2011


Thursday, March 17, found me at the Annual Conference of the Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning (MACUL). Cobo Hall in Detroit was hopping with approximately 4,000 educators from around the state. All of them were interested in the hows and whys of using the latest technology in the classroom. There were lectures and workshops and a room full of vendors all eager to share what is exciting to them.

Of all the things that I heard and saw, the most exciting was a talk by two Michigan school librarians who last summer had the kind of experience that makes any librarian green with envy. They spent a week with other librarians from around the country training and sharing at the Library of Congress (LOC) in Washington, D.C. Their primary goal was to help the LOC improve its website and its outreach to teachers. This site is listed as My LOC and is slightly different from the main LOC site. Both sites are well worth visiting.

They began with some basic facts about the nation's library which contains some 147,000,000 items on 838 miles of shelves. LOC resources also include 15 million digitized works with more coming on line all the time. The smallest book in the Library of Congress is Old King Cole fit onto pages measuring just 1/25th of an inch square. The pages must be turned with a needle. More interesting facts rotate on the LOC sites so visit them often if you like trivia.

Teachers perked up their ears when we were presented with examples of the vast array of primary sources available on-line at the LOC. We saw the rough draft of the Gettysburg Address, copies of period sheet music, pictures of great Americans along with copies of their speeches, and just touched the tip of the iceberg.

I encourage everyone who has any interest in American history, to search these sites often, whether for research or just for the fun of it.

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