September 30, 2019 Library Announces Grant Recipients for Teaching with Primary Sources

Press Contact: John Sayers (202) 707-9216
Public Contact: Lee Ann Potter (202) 707-8735

The Library of Congress today announced the selection of four organizations that will receive more than $1.1 million through its Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program to support the effective use of digitized primary sources in K-12 classrooms. The selected organizations will focus their efforts on creating teaching materials and professional opportunities for teachers using Library of Congress online resources.

The Library received 35 proposals from a wide range of public, private, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, including institutions of higher education, cultural institutions, school districts and other educational organizations.

Panels comprised of individuals with curricular and programmatic expertise from government agencies, nonprofit organizations, universities and the Library of Congress reviewed and evaluated the proposals based on the criteria specified for the program.

Organizations selected for funding include:

  • The National Council of Teachers of English External (NCTE) promotes the development of literacy and the use of language to construct personal and public worlds and to achieve full participation in society. The organization has affiliates and chapters in nearly every state and U.S. territory, focused on literacy education from kindergarten through graduate education. NCTE’s project will focus on increasing the number of K-12 English language arts teachers who effectively incorporate primary sources into their instruction. NCTE will create materials, combining primary sources with fiction and nonfiction texts that will be available freely on its External site, which attracts 10 million visitors per year. NCTE will also pioneer the use of service learning in English language arts classrooms through student participation in transcribe-a-thons and discovery of primary sources in their own communities.

  • National History Day External (NHD) encourages 600,000 students and their teachers, from the U.S. and other countries, to engage in historical research and interpretation through well-regarded local and national competitions. In addition, NHD provides professional development events and materials for teachers focused on student research. For its project, NHD will identify and prepare a cadre of master teachers to create and test a guide for developing historical arguments using Library of Congress primary sources. This guide, suitable for both teacher and student use, will support creation of a variety of student products including papers, websites and documentaries. NHD will distribute both print and online versions of the guide and feature it in a four-module teacher webinar series.

  • The National Council for the Social Studies External (NCSS) is the largest professional association in the country devoted solely to social studies education, serving K-12 classroom teachers and administrators, university faculty and curriculum developers in the U.S. and in 35 other countries. NCSS supports a network of affiliated but independent councils operating in 48 states. The organization holds annual conferences, each drawing approximately 4,000 attendees. NCSS will partner with the Library to create online resources for methods professors teaching in college and university departments of education. These materials will combine Library of Congress resources with NCSS’s C3 Framework External, which emphasizes using an inquiry approach to teaching social studies. Further, NCSS will create face-to-face and online professional development for methods professors to help them bring the resources developed under this grant into their courses for education students.

  • The Right Question Institute External (RQI) is a nonprofit based in Cambridge, Mass., created to support children and adults in their ability to ask critical questions that prompt curiosity, deep thinking and engagement. More than 350,000 educators have used the Question Formulation Technique (QFT) which RQI developed to help students formulate, improve, prioritize and use questions A book describing the QFT approach, "Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions," is a Harvard Education Press bestseller and has been translated into four languages. Under its TPS grant, RQI will extend the teacher professional development it currently offers with a QFT/Library of Congress video-based learning program for K-12 librarians and social studies, history, civics and government teachers, particularly to those working in under-resourced schools or regions. Program modules will be available through partnerships with the Teaching Channel, foundations, school districts and other educational organizations focused on excellent teaching.

The proposals recommended for funding reflected feasible scope and national reach, described the integration of (not simply the inclusion of) primary sources from the Library of Congress, provided evidence of successful past experience and expertise in specific content and pedagogical approaches, incorporated specific plans for program sustainability, included solid budget plans and included teachers as substantive contributors, as well as participants.

For more information about this grant opportunity, see the Notice of Funds Availability at

For more than a decade, the Teaching with Primary Sources program has provided extensive professional development opportunities for educators and enabled the creation and dissemination of teaching materials focused on using the Library’s digitized primary sources.

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PR 19-078
ISSN 0731-3527