Lesson Planning 4

Researching Primary Source Materials

Teachers begin day with instructions on accessing different library departments.

BPL Primary Source Research Day

November 8, 2011
9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Johnson Building Lobby
Meet outside the Johnson Building entrance on Boylston St. by 8:51 am.(see below for directions)

Please Read: Research To Do Before You Go!

For those going to other Partner Sites for Primary Sources, discuss with your Center Director your plan.

Primary Source Resource Log Request for Digitization

Your visit to the Boston Public Library (or other Project Partner Site):

bpl_researchday_martin_microtext.jpgYou have been introduced to a variety of both primary sources and secondary sources during the summer institute and the historian content seminars. Perhaps you have made your final determination of the sources you will be using in your lesson. But most likely you are still seeking out those special documents or artifacts that will make your lesson come to life. Here is where the Boston Public Library may come into play. The purpose of the Primary Source Research Day is to ensure that you become familiar with the American history holdings of the BPL or other partner site so that you can identify the primary sources that you will need for inclusion into your American history lesson.

The librarian liaison, Elizabeth Tousignant, will have prepared lists of potential sources for you to investigate based upon your communication with her and the information that is found on the Units Team 2011 wikipage. This research session provides an opportunity for you to review items on that primary source list, as well as to discover your own primary sources as you search the library. By December 1st, you will have identified the primary sources for your lesson and will have communicated your choices to the BPL or other Partner Site through the librarian liaison.

For additional details on the day's plan, please check the BA Blog.
One of many primary source documents researched and photographed.

Closeup of Boston residents marching to Sculley Square during Sacco and Vanzetti's funeral.

Food advertisements from Fannie Farmer's first cookbook.

What to bring with you:

  • If you have a digital camera you may want to take photos of resources that you may wish to include in your lesson.
    When taking pictures, remember to copy down call numbers, book/image name, author/artist, etc. on your Primary Source Log and Digitization Forms.
    This information is vitally important for your reference, or for requesting professional digitization.
  • Notebook
  • Pencil
  • Lunch or lunch money
  • Photo ID and BPL eCard number or BPL library card.


Boston Public Library, Johnson Building

- photo from wikimedia commons


We will be meeting outside the doors of the Johnson Building entrance, on Boylston Street at 8:50 am.

By subway

Green Line to Copley Station.
Orange Line to Back Bay/South End Station. Walk down Dartmouth Street to Copley Square.

By car

Interstate 93 (from north or south) Take Storrow Drive exit. Take Copley Square exit off of Storrow Drive. The exit deadends at a signal light. The cross street is Beacon. Take a right on Beacon Street. While on Beacon Street, you will cross Berkeley, Clarendon, and Dartmouth Streets. The next street is Exeter. Take a left onto Exeter (it is a one-way street). While on Exeter, you will cross Marlborough Street, Commonwealth Avenue, and Newbury Street. The next cross street is Boylston. The Library is on the corner of Exeter and Boylston Streets.
Mass Pike (Interstate 90) Come all the way into the city on the Mass Pike. Take the Copley Square exit (the sign will read: Prudential Center, Copley Square). The exit road will split, follow the Copley Square (right) lane. You will exit the tunnel onto Stuart Street. You will be on the right hand side of the street. Move to the lane furthest left. Take the left at the next light, Dartmouth Street (approximately 500 feet from the tunnel exit). The Library is on the left of Dartmouth Street, after the next light (approximately 500 feet).

(from the BPL library: http://www.bpl.org/general/hours.htm)

Map of BPL Departments


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