Library Staff are Important Partners in History Day

It doesn't matter what size library you work at, you do have resources and expertise to assist History Day students. Using your print resources and databases (purchased locally or through state and regional cooperatives), you have information to help students get started. However, because students need both primary and secondary sources, it can be a bit intimidating. Each library is not responsible for having all the answers, but rather to assist students with research, demonstrate how to access various resources, and giving them referalls to where they might try next. The experience of researching and analyzing information that can be found in your library to better understand their topic and its historical significance is a valuable step in the research process.

Collaboration between social studies teachers, school media specialists, and public library staff is an opportunity to help students learn better research skills. Getting direction from the social studies teacher and using the school center is how most students begin their History Day journey. However, middle and high school students may not be aware of what resources are at their local public library, making History Day a fabulous opportunity to demonstrate how to find books, use databases, and learn about other resources the library may offer.

Interlibrary loan and/or visits to other libraries are very important for gathering the resources necessary to complete a History Day project. Working in partnerships with the library state network, History Day gives library staff an opportunity to demonstrate to students what a phenomenal network the state libraries offer from books to articles from contemporary to historic.

Don't overlook local historical societies, local historians, innovative businesses, and interesting resources in your community. Giving referrals to these organizations and institutions may be just what a students needs to find missing information.