Southeastern receives $300,000 Library of Congress grant to foster instructional use of digital materials
Contact: Rene Abadie
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(1) SOUTHEASTERN, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS PARTNERSHIP -- Southeastern President Randy Moffett accepts a $300,000, three-year grant on Monday (Dec. 3) from U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu and Librarian of Congress James H. Billington at a press conference held in the library of the Southeastern Laboratory School. From left, are, front, Southeastern Laboratory School fourth graders Justice Carson and Harrison Crawford; back, Landrieu, Moffett, Billington and College of Education and Human Development Dean Diane Allen.
(2) LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS – James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress, addresses Southeastern Laboratory School fourth graders and other audience members at a press conference Monday at Southeastern Louisiana University. Billington said the Library of Congress is glad to have Southeastern Louisiana University join its Teaching with Primary Sources partners. Also pictured are Diane Allen, dean of Southeastern’s College of Education and Human Development, left, and Sen. Mary Landrieu.
HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University became the first university in the South and one of only 16 other institutions to join a Library of Congress initiative designed to encourage the educational use of the library’s vast stock of online primary source materials.
Southeastern President Randy Moffett accepted the $300,000, three-year grant on Dec. 3 from U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu and Librarian of Congress James H. Billington at a press conference held in the library of the Southeastern Laboratory School, a Tangipahoa Parish public school located on the Southeastern campus.
“I am very pleased and proud to see this grant come to Southeastern Louisiana University,” Landrieu said. “As we know, Southeastern has one of the finest teaching preparation programs in the nation, so it’s quite fitting that it be the first university in the South selected for this prestigious program.”
“This program, Teaching with Primary Sources, meshes quite well with Southeastern’s ongoing educational outreach programs in area school systems,” Moffett said. “The grant will allow us to work closely with these systems and their teachers in professional development programs designed to enhance the quality of educational content in schools. The Library of Congress’s vast collections, especially its digital primary sources, are a valuable and relatively untapped resource that our area’s teachers can and will use in their classrooms.”
Founded in 1800, the Library is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with more than 134 million books, photographs, maps, manuscripts, films, sound recordings and other materials in its collections. Its popular Web site at www.loc.gov serves millions of users with high quality intellectual content.
“The Library of Congress is an educational resource for the nation, and we are glad to have Southeastern Louisiana University join our network of Teaching with Primary Sources partners,” said Billington. “The Library’s educational outreach experts look forward to working with Southeastern on this exciting program.”
The Teaching with Primary Sources program fosters collaborations between the Library of Congress and the educational community. The program works through an educational consortium of schools, universities, libraries and other institutions to help teachers make use of the Library of Congress’s collection of digitized primary sources, estimated to be more than 11 million items accessible by computer. The program builds on the success of the Library’s previous outreach initiatives, particularly the American Memory Fellows and An Adventure of the American Mind.
Diane Allen, dean of Southeastern’s College of Education and Human Development, said the grant will allow Southeastern to sponsor professional development opportunities for teachers in a wide array of disciplines. Over the next several years, she said, Southeastern will provide workshops, seminars, graduate courses, distance learning opportunities and mentoring to teachers.
“Students benefit from learning directly from primary sources, which are the actual records that have survived from the past, including letters, photographs, maps, and other documents,” said Allen. “Primary sources make instruction come alive for students because they were produced by people living during a specific period. They provide an unfiltered record of artistic, social, scientific and political thought in a specific period under study.”
Allen said that Southeastern works closely with school systems in Livingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes. The Teaching with Primary Sources program will be another element the university can bring to these systems to improve instructional capability.
“Anything that we can do to enhance the educational experience for children is important,” she said. “School children today have a lot of distractions and the use of primary sources has been shown to improve critical thinking and analysis skills among children.”
One project that seems a natural fit, she said, is the Teaching American History project, a $1 million professional education grant coordinated by the Tangipahoa Parish Public School System, Southeastern, and other partners that provides enriched content to area social studies teachers. “The Teaching with Primary Sources program will be of immeasurable benefit to the instructors of these seminars and workshops as well as to the participating teachers,” Allen added.
Other institutions that are part of the Teaching with Primary Sources consortium are: Metropolitan State College of Denver, University of Northern Colorado, Barat Educational Foundation, DePaul University, Eastern Illinois University, the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities, Governors State University, Illinois State University, Loyola University of Chicago; Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and Edwardsville, Quincy University, the Center on Congress at Indiana University, California University of Pennsylvania, Waynesburg College, and Northern Virginia Partnership.