The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution. Established in 1800 as a legislative library, it grew into a national institution during the 19th century and, since World War II, has become an international resource. It is the largest library in the world, with more than 126 million items on approximately 530 miles of bookshelves. The collections include nearly 19 million books, 2.6 million recordings, 12 million photographs, 4.8 million maps, and 56 million manuscripts.
For those able to visit in person, there are 22 public reading rooms. And for those who cannot be there in person, there are the following Library of Congress Web sites, a veritable treasure trove for learners of all ages.
* Getting Started (memory.loc.gov/learn/start/index.html) This page provides orientation for users of The Learning Page and the American Memory collections. It offers illustrative examples of types of primary sources and how they might be used in the classroom.
* Lesson Plans (memory.loc.gov/learn/lessons/index.html) Almost 70 lesson plans are currently available, and this page offers educators five ways to search: by discipline, by era, by theme, by title, or by topic.
* Collection Connections Index (memory.loc.gov/learn/collections/ccindex.html) This is a list of links for dozens of pages of resources and suggestions for teaching. History buffs will especially enjoy links to topics such as America Singing: 19th Century Song Sheets, Civil War Maps, or The Stars and Stripes: the American Soldiers' Newspaper of World War I, 1918-1919. …