Artist's book consisting of a long scroll and a can marked "Beans."

Teaching with Artists’ Books During the Pandemic

By Marsha Taichman / The Artists’ Books Collection at the Fine Arts Library (FAL) at Cornell University is fairly unique, as it is a teaching collection housed in the open stacks of the library. This means that anyone who comes into the library can go to the shelves in the reference section of the library, take the books, envelopes, and boxes of books off of the shelves and open them up, flipping through pages, pulling tabs, and unfolding fold-outs.

Photograph of a classroom from 1890

Teaching without Walls

By Ron McColl / The pandemic and the institutional mandates accompanying it have posed unique challenges for special collections librarians and archivists who teach with primary sources. At West Chester University Libraries Special Collections, our initial plans to host smaller classes and ensure safe handling practices were rendered moot when students did not return to campus in the fall.

Screenshot of one question from a Fall 2020 semester synchronous Close Looking primary source analysis activity using Zoom and Google Documents. Activity instructions in bold, with in-class student responses below.

Structured Close Looking: Modifying a Primary Source Analysis Activity for Asynchronous & Synchronous Remote Teaching

By Blake Spitz / Teaching primary source analysis is a major component of my job as an archivist and educator and often the focus of one-shot instruction for undergraduate students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I love discussing analytic and emotional frameworks for engaging primary sources because I believe those encounters are potent moments, as each new person’s reaction and dialogue with a source is unique to them.