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University Libraries

Primary Sources Workshops: Creative Applications for Any Kind of Classroom

By Kayla Harris

Two interactive online workshops for faculty Aug. 3-4 will provide information about the University Libraries’ rich array of primary sources and ways to incorporate these materials into classroom experiences — live, online and hybrid.

The free 45-minute workshops, designed and taught by archivists and librarians from Roesch Library, the Marian Library, the U.S. Catholic Special Collection, and University Archives and Special Collections, start at 1 p.m. Eastern each day.

Teaching with primary sources in the classroom is an important component in developing critical thinking and analysis skills, says the Society of American Archivists. As the Guidelines for Primary Source Literacy explain, “Primary sources provide compelling and direct evidence of human activity and require critical analysis due to the creators’ intents and biases; the variety of contexts in which they have been created, preserved, and made accessible; and the gaps, absences, and silences that exist in the materials.” Engagement with primary source materials prepares students to successfully navigate a variety of information sources within many disciplines and courses.

Session 1: Assets in the University Libraries

The first workshop will focus on primary and archival sources available from the University Libraries. Extensive holdings across the University Libraries collections can have applications within many disciplines. Examples during the workshop will include:

  • Items in the Marian Library’s collection that connect to environmentalism and sustainability.
  • University Archives materials about the African-American experience at the University of Dayton.
  • Artifacts from the U.S. Catholic Special Collection demonstrating religious material culture.
  • Roesch Library databases that include documents showing how people dealt with plagues and pandemics.

Session 2: Pedagogy

The second workshop will explore pedagogical approaches to using these materials and ways that attendees can directly connect these sources with their areas of teaching and research. Attendees will learn about a variety of classroom opportunities such as experiential learning, instruction sessions or research projects, and they will consider primary source possibilities, like the Libraries’ work with pandemics.

After the workshop: Book a Librarian

Following the workshop, participants can schedule consultations to explore different types of materials available in the collections; discuss ways to incorporate them, e.g., a single class visit or a research assignment; and work together to achieve course objectives.



Heidi Gauder is a professor in the University Libraries and coordinator of research and instruction.

Kayla Harris is an assistant professor and a librarian/archivist in the Marian Library.

Kristina Schulz is a lecturer and the University archivist.

Stephanie Shreffler is an associate professor and a collections librarian/archivist for the U.S. Catholic Special Collection.

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