For Teachers Blogs @ NYPL

  • by Amie Wright

    Available NOW and ready to borrow for educators and students in the MyLibraryNYC school-library initiative:

  • by Amie Wright

    The YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction honors the best in nonfiction published for young adults (ages 12-18) during a Nov. 1 – Oct. 31 publishing year.

    The finalists for 2014 include the best of narrative nonfiction and informational texts and cover untold stories of World War II, graphic design for beginners, and a new look at one of the most infamous incidents of US Presidential History.

  • by Amie Wright

    In 1933, the US government established the first of many New Deal projects and initiatives. Four years later, in September 1937, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston was published in New York. The connection between the two? While many readers know of the novel's seminal status (it has been one of the most lauded—and banned—books of its time) and its foundation in Hurston's earlier research into African-American culture and folklore, some might be unaware that from 1935-1937 Hurston was employed by the US Government as a chronicler of life histories in the state of Florida as part of a 'back to work' project for intellectuals and artists—the Federal Writers' Project.

  • by Amie Wright

    Available NOW and ready to borrow for educators and students in the MyLibraryNYC school-library initiative—exemplar texts, primary source material, memoirs, and award winning fiction for use in your classroom (Gr. 4-12).

  • by Maura Muller

    Mathematics., Digital ID 1644946, New York Public LibraryAlgebra Problems. Or should I call them challenges? The past few months have been pretty challenging for both my son who is learning algebra, and for me who has to teach it to him. Once again, the the library comes to the rescue!

  • by Anne Rouyer

    PSSSTT! Let me let you in on a little librarian research secret: finding information at branches and online isn't hard (anyone can do it). In fact, in this digital age of online databases, Google and Wikipedia we are on information overload. We are surrounded by too much information actually. So how do librarians research? What do we know that you don't?

  • by Felice Piggott

    "The Pittsburgh Courier drew its inspiration for the Double V campaign from a letter by James G. Thompson of Wichita, Kansas, published in the January 31, 1942 issue. Thompson, in his letter titled 'Should I Sacrifice to Live 'Half American?',' advocated for a 'double VV' for a dual victory over enemies to the country and enemies—opposed to equality, justice, and democracy—at home. In its next issue, on February 7, the Courier displayed Double V drawings emphasizing the theme 'Democracy, At Home, Abroad.' The paper announced the Double V campaign the next week, declaring its support for the defeat of totalitarianism abroad and inequality at home" (Dan J. Puckett "Double V Campaign" in African American Experience)

  • by Francesca Burns

    The story of immigration to America is a rich tapestry whose opposing threads, oddly for how much they reject each other's reality, hang together as one. It outrages us and gives us hope in frighteningly equal measure.

    Nowhere is this truer than New York City, a city of extremes in every sense. The community known as Washington Heights/Inwood originally spanned from 135th Street north to the top end of Manhattan Island, surrounded by the Hudson River on the west and the East River with Spuyten Duyvil's deadly currents in between. Its land is the highest ground in Manhattan.

  • by Amie Wright


    Available NOW and ready to borrow for teachers in the MyLibraryNYC school-library initiative: 
  • by Amie Wright

    Available NOW and ready to borrow for teachers in the MyLibraryNYC school-library initiative: 

  • by Stephen Spear

    Charles Darwin., Digital ID 1220211, New York Public LibraryCharles Darwin - from the NYPL Digital Collections, ID #1220211Between the fall of Rome and the start of the Enlightenment, the issue of religion was commonly employed by Europeans to justify territorial expansion at the expense of foreign peoples. The Crusades against Islam, early efforts to unify Germany, and the colonization of the New World provide ready examples of instances in which claims of sacred mission were used to cover the underlying political and economic motivations of European rulers.

  • by Amie Wright

    Did you know that we're on Pinterest?

    Check out our Pinterest Board—TeachNYPL—for educational resources from the New York Public Library including:

  • by Lakisha Odlum

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”—Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

  • by Maggie Jacobs

    As I recruit a team of educators for The New York Public Library’s rapidly expanding Education Department, I consistently hear from candidates about how formative the public library was in their childhoods. Most of us remember after-school and weekend trips to the library to check out books, and the great feeling of hanging out in a space devoted to the quiet pursuit of reading and lifelong learning.

    Today’s libraries, however, are more than just a space to read. They are undergoing a metamorphosis in their support of literacy and education across all stages of life, and should be added to the ingredients of educational success that NBC News Education Nation has identified during its fourth annual summit, which convenes world thought leaders and experts to discuss issues of education.

  • by Danielle Lewis

    By 1900, New York City and the United States were undergoing waves of dramatic, traumatic change. Industrialization, Reconstruction and a surge of immigrants from across the globe were remaking every aspect of life, from transportation to education, leisure, labor, race relations and the status of women. One response to the dislocations and turmoil of this era was the reform efforts that we now classify as the “Progressive Movement.”

  • by Annette Lesak

    "I could not move because history had me glued to the seat. It felt like Sojourner Truth's hands were pushing down on one shoulder, and Harriet Tubman's hand pushing down on another shoulder" —Claudette Colvin (Interview on Democracy Now, March 2013)

  • by Amie Wright

     young people's librarians and students, 1938., Digital ID 434280, New York Public LibraryAguilar Library, 1938 - Librarian w/ students. Want to know more about our current educational initiatives? See The ABC of Education: Why Libraries Matter by Maggie Jacobs, Director of Educational ProgramsWe have just shuttered the doors on our first Education Innovation @ NYPL Summer Institute. During this three week Institute, master teachers from NYC (and further afar) met curators from our Research Divisions, explored our Archives, and connected with members of our Strategy Department—all with the intention of addressing how we can better identify materials from our collections for use in the classroom, and how we can better connect these materials to teachers. The New York Public Library offers some of the best collections in the world. Our Digital Collections alone encompasses more than 700,000 images including historical photos, political cartoons, maps, and more that you can explore digitally. The challenge for us becomes—how do we curate this wealth of material in an accessible and efficient way for classroom use, especially to help meet Common Core State Standards?

  • by Amie Wright

    "I left the States for Canada, for rights, freedom, liberty. I came to Buxton [Ontario] to educate my children" —Henry Johnson (pp. 307 A North-side View of Slavery: The Refugee, Or, The Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada)

    A group of refugee settlers, of Windsor, Ontario.  Mrs. Anne Mary Jane Hunt, Manfield Smith, Mrs. Lucinda Seymour., Digital ID 497459, New York Public LibraryFrom the NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 1159685

    The Underground Railroad, since its beginnings, was both a political lightning rod over the 'peculiar institution' of slavery and the subject of intense popular interest. Harriet Beecher Stowe's fictionalized account of slavery and escape, Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), was the second most popular book of its time (second only to the Bible), selling more than 300,000 copies in its first year, and galvanizing support for the abolitionist movement. In more recent times, the Underground Railroad and the flight from slavery has continued to stir and provoke discussion—particularly in the classroom—as the subject of novels like The House of Dies Drear (1968) and the more recent Christopher Paul Curtis novel Elijah of Buxton (2007)—which won the Coretta Scott King Award (2008) and was recognized as a Newbury Honor Book (2008).

    However, what were the experiences of escaped slaves once they made it to the 'promised land'? Many narratives of the Underground Railroad end at the border—be it the Canadian border, the Mexican border, or any of the other multiple terminus points of this intangible 'railroad.' Yet more than 40,000 escaped slaves made their home in Upper Canada alone.

    To address these questions in a common core-aligned Social Studies unit on Slavery in the United States and the Underground Railroad, we have collected the following texts for students in grades 6-8 to read and examine. These include primary and secondary sources of the era, including first person and secondary accounts, to compare and contrast in a manner that meets Common Core State Standards. 

    In particular, this groupings of texts asks: How did the different national laws (British vs. American) concerning slavery before and after the Civil War impact the experiences of escaped slaves in Canada? Was Canada a 'promised land'? This includes the British Abolition Act of 1833 that abolished slavery in British colonies, the US Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the Treaty between the United States and Great Britain for the Suppression of the Slave Trade in 1852, and the eventual abolition of slavery in the United States in 1865 with the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment.

    Classroom Reading

    To start, all students can read the historical fiction novel Elijah of Buxton (2007). Synopsis: In 1859, eleven-year-old Elijah Freeman, the first free-born child in Buxton, Canada, which was a haven for slaves fleeing the American south, uses his wits and skills to try and bring to justice the lying preacher who has stolen money that was to be used to buy a family's freedom. After reading this novel, ask students how they think this novel compares with the real experiences of escaped slaves living in Canada, and how laws at the time impacted events in the book. Lexile 1057L.

    Primary Sources

    Students can then compare the events described in Elijah of Buxton and Elijah's experiences with primary sources from the period including:

    [Seize him! Seize him.], Digital ID 1150352, New York Public LibraryFrom the NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID #1150352 'Seize him, Seize him' [1862]

    Secondary Sources

    As a final step, students can use secondary sources to add context to both Elijah of Buxton and the primary sources that they are examining from the time period.

    • Secondary source map of all underground railroad routes, detailing the multiple terminus points. Questions to consider: why is this map different from the primary source maps above? How did policies surrounding slavery in Canada, Mexico, Cuba, and the Bahamas impact these routes? When was slavery outlawed in the British Commonwealth? What did this mean for British territories? (Map from NYPL Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture)
    • Secondary source, I Came as a Stranger: The Underground Railroad. Written by a sixth generation resident of Buxton, Ontario this title chronicles the history of the Underground Railroad from the Canadian perspective, with an emphasis on Ontario; includes a time line and a listing of historic sites such as Uncle Tom's Cabin in Dresden, Ontario (the former home of Josiah Henson) to Harriet Tubman's Canadian base of operations in St. Catharine's, Ontario. Questions to consider: what does this secondary source tell us about the overall experience of slavery and the underground railroad? How does this information and source compare to the first person primary source narratives from A North-side View of Slavery?
    • Secondary source, Fleeing to Freedom on the Underground Railroad: The Courageous Slaves, Agents, and Conductors by Elaine Landau. An American secondary source that discusses the entire history of slavery in the United States, including vital information on pertinent historical events like the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act; also, includes biographical information on conductors of the underground Railroad. Questions to consider: does this secondary source provide different information on the time period? What information does this source provide that a primary source does not?

  • by Miranda J. McDermott

    Relentless physical agony for a few minutes of perfection; is this dance? A whirlwind romance with Jonathan, but will it last? Soledad is an 18-year-old woman who just finished high school. She is contemplating teaching dance during the summer or portraying Carmen in a competitive drum and bugle corps. She is not the prototype stick-thin ballet dancer; would Latin Dance work for her? It's about being free, finding your way in the world, and true love.

  • by Amie Wright

    Love history? Original archival documents? Looking for new ways to incorporate primary source materials into your lesson plans? 

    NYPL is searching for you!

    We are looking for innovative master teachers at the middle and high school level for a new 3 week collaborative summer exploration program based at The New York Public Library's flagship Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue.

    The Education Innovation @ NYPL Summer Institute will take place August 5-23 (Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. for 3 weeks).