TPS Fest 2023 – July 18, 19, 20

This event webpage is the main public access point for sharing information about the schedule, updates, and all things TPS Fest 2023.

Do you teach with primary sources, or want to share and learn with other like-minded people with all levels and types of experience? Join your colleagues for an informative and fun event, with a variety of attendee-driven sessions or happenings, covering all aspects of Teaching with Primary Sources!

Event Products

TPS Fest produced a shared notes document, which includes links to presentation slides, as well as some youtube recordings (as requested by presenters).

Find our shared notes document at

Find our video playlist on youtube.

Event Details

When: July 18-20, 2023 (see session times below)

Where: Zoom — it’s an all-virtual event in 2023

Who: You! If you teach with primary sources, or want to learn to teach and share with other like-minded people with ALL levels and types of experience. Your interest is your qualification! Grad students and recent grads: this includes YOU. This event welcomes all levels of folks who will learn from each other about all things TPS.

Session Notes: All participants will be welcome to add to a collaborative note-taking document; this is our primary method for recording sessions.

Recordings: Some sessions were recorded. Check below in each session description.

Registration: Is free! Each session has it’s own zoom registration link; sign up for everything you think you might like to attend.

Post-event notes: Approximately 330 people attended at least one session.

Schedule for Tuesday, July 18

11am ET/ 10am CT / 9am MT / 8am PT:
Lobby for Question & Info Drop-In
(open for 2 hours)

TPS Fest volunteer helpers will be available for any questions or thoughts you have. All levels of confusion are welcome! Or just come by to warm up for the day.

Zoom info was available 11am-2pm ET

12pm ET/ 11am CT / 10am MT / 9am PT:
Finding a teaching idea for your item (45-60 minutes)

with Marian Toledo Candelaria and Joe Lueck

Have an item or collection you wanna promote but haven’t the foggiest how to do it? Wanna build a lesson around specific underused items or collections? In this drop-in session, brainstorm with colleagues and gather ideas on how to build sessions and lessons around these items! Or, simply watch and learn as you consider your own collections and teaching goals.

Bring your item or collection to this collaborative discussion! Bring an image or catalog record and brainstorm lesson plans, learning objectives, and outreach strategies to get that item in front of a class.

2pm ET/ 1pm CT / 12pm MT / 11am PT:
Article Reading Discussion (60 minutes)

with Katie Banks & Randi Beem

In this session, we will be discussing the article “Learning in Place: The Teaching Archivist and Place-Based Education” by Carey Beam and Carrie Schwier (2018) in Archival Issues 39(1), 7–25. It is freely available online at this link: This will require attendees to read the article beforehand. In the session, we will hold an informal discussion about the article and how it relates to our work teaching with primary sources. We will also be joined by both authors (Carrie Schwier and Carey Champion), so come ready with questions to ask them as well!

2pm ET/ 1pm CT / 12pm MT / 11am PT:
Outreach to Faculty and Campus Community — Success, Struggle, and Sustainability (60 minutes)

with Yuqiao Brigitte Cao, Evan Spencer, and Emily Beran

Recording of presentations available on youtube.

Unsure how best to reach out to faculty about potential instruction sessions? Have a foolproof method for bringing classes in? Concerned about handling all the instruction requests you have? Join the conversation about our work in terms of outreach to faculty and campus community members! The facilitators will share examples related to three facets of this work – Struggles, Successes, and Sustainability – as a starting point for you all to share your thoughts, questions, ideas, and experiences!

4pm ET/3pm CT/2pm MT/1pm PT:
The Future of the Archives & Special Collections Reference Desk & Reading Room: Open for Walk-Ins, By Appointment Only, or Other? (60 minutes)

Facilitated by Miriam Intrator

Most of us closed our reading rooms during the pandemic lockdown, and many of us are now in various stages of re-opening, often with smaller staffs and less resources. This session will provide a forum to discuss ideas, brainstorm possibilities, and share what is or is not working. Do we still need a staffed reference desk? If we are only open by appointment, who are we missing or not serving? How can we best serve our patrons? What provides the best user and researcher experience? What do the reference desks and reading rooms of the future look like?

Schedule for Wednesday, July 19

11am ET/ 10am CT / 9am MT / 8am PT:
Lobby for Question & Info Drop-In
(open for 2 hours)

TPS Fest volunteer helpers will be available for any questions or thoughts you have. All levels of confusion are welcome! Or just come by to warm up for the day.

Zoom info was available 11am-1pm ET

12pm ET/ 11am CT / 10am MT / 9am PT:
Going Beyond Think-Pair-Share and Document Analysis: Unique Activities for Teaching with Primary Sources (60 minutes)

Facilitated by Anu Kasarabada with Sarah Andrus, Megan Atkinson, Miranda Rectenwald, and Blake Spitz

Recording of presentations available on youtube.

This session encourages dialogue and sharing about teaching with primary sources that get beyond traditional techniques (such as document analysis worksheets). There will be several short presentations on successful activities implemented in archives classes that engage students, are unique, and have learning objectives that fall outside of the standard show and tell or analysis of a single document. We will then discuss with all attendees the ways we execute twists on traditional TPS activities or brainstorm, create, and experiment with unique or unconventional activities or assessments. Please come prepared to discuss, and even share your own activities with the group!

2pm ET/ 1pm CT / 12pm MT / 11am PT:
“Brown Bag Lunch” for Graduate Students and Early Career Professionals

Facilitated by Kelsey Brown, Joe Lueck, and others from the TPS Outreach group

A semi-structured conversation session for graduate students and early career professionals to discuss the fest, Q&A space for interested graduate students and current teachers with primary sources, and to foster connections with peers. Learners, lurkers, leaders all welcome! (BYO snacks!)

2pm ET/ 1pm CT / 12pm MT / 11am PT:
Getting the most out of tours

with Yuqiao Brigitte Cao, Evan Spencer, and Mandi Shepp

Recording of presentations available on youtube.

A TPS email thread in March 2023 brought us together to think about how we help learners get the most out of tours as primary source educators.

What types of tours should I offer? What are the “tour-worthy” elements in my institutions? How do I handle different tour requests?… The discussion facilitators will share their views on tours and open up the floor for everyone to share their questions, practices, and new ideas. Educators from any background with any level of experience are welcome to join!

4pm ET/3pm CT/2pm MT/1pm PT:
Digital Scholarship Tools Coffee Talk/Happy Hour (45-60 min, but flexible depending on number of attendees and interest)

facilitated by Kira Dietz

Register here

Join us for an informal chat about your favorite digital scholarship tools–tools you’ve used, tools you’ve thought about using, or even just tools you’ve heard of. With some prompt questions, we’ll have a conversation about the kinds of tools available; how to get started; the challenges of open source, paid, and proprietary; and think a little about how you can take some first steps, if you’ve never jumped into the sea of web-based digital scholarship tools! 

Schedule for Thursday, July 20

11am ET/ 10am CT / 9am MT / 8am PT:
Lobby for Question & Info Drop-In
(open for 2 hours)

TPS Fest volunteer helpers will be available for any questions or thoughts you have. All levels of confusion are welcome! Or just come by to warm up for the day.

Zoom info was available 11am-1pm ET

12pm ET/ 11am CT / 10am MT / 9am PT:
Knight Lab Digital Scholarship Tools Mini-Workshop (90 minutes)

with Kira Dietz

Watch a recording of this session

This will be a short demo of 2-3 Knight Lab [] tools. Join Kira to talk about these tools and think about how you (and students or faculty partners) can use them! If all goes according to plan, there will also be a test site set up for attendees to try out a tool or working with parts of some of the tools. 

12pm ET/ 11am CT / 10am MT / 9am PT:
Teaching with non-print primary sources (60 minutes)

with Allison McClanahan, Emily Beran, and Caterina Agostini

In this session, presenters/facilitators will share short “lightning talk” case studies about their work, why we work with non-print, and how we include these formats in our instructional practice. Topics will include materiality and material culture, differences in approaching non-print materials, audiovisual materials, art, and photographs. We will spend the majority of the time in group discussion with some guided questions, but we hope that others who have used or included non-print materials in their instruction will share their own experience, practice, tips and tricks, and perspectives.

2pm ET/ 1pm CT / 12pm MT / 11am PT:
Liaison Librarians and Teaching with Primary Sources (45 minutes)

with Melissa Chim and Sara Kearns

Liaison Librarians is an informal discussion focusing on the role that liaison librarians play in teaching with primary sources. Whether your role is a history department liaison or archivist or anything in between, come share how you promote primary sources to your faculty. Let’s share our tips, tricks, and experiences!

2pm ET/ 1pm CT / 12pm MT / 11am PT:
Remixing the Archives: Current Students and Future Researchers (75 minutes)

with Mandi Shepp, Erica Donnis, Erin Rhodes, and Marieke van der Steenhoven

Watch a recording of this session

Special collections and archives collections, like the libraries that generally house them, are ever-evolving and growing, especially when student collaborations result in excellent future resources!  From time capsules to digital projects, student-created work can serve to enhance future appreciation of and access to the materials in our care.  This session will discuss special collections and archives collaborations with students enrolled in undergraduate classes that were heavily based on primary source research, with the resulting student work being added to special, digital, or archives collections for future researchers.  Following the initial project presentations, attendees will have the opportunity to highlight their own projects during the discussion, which will include project/idea matchmaking and a general Q&A session.

4pm ET/3pm CT/2pm MT/1pm PT:
Demonstrating impact in our work (60 minutes)

with Jen Hoyer

Session slides and jamboard activity

As we seek to find better measures for the impact of teaching with primary sources, this session will take a step back from “how” and ask questions about “why”: Why do we try to demonstrate impact? What does it really mean to measure and demonstrate impact? What problems do we face when measuring and demonstrating impact? Following a facilitated discussion, we’ll spend time reflecting on how we can be creative and authentic in the ways we demonstrate impact.

4pm ET/3pm CT/2pm MT/1pm PT:
Teaching Local History with Primary Sources: Outreach and planning for groups of all ages (60 minutes)

with Amalia Medina Castañeda, Meghan Courtney, and Kira Dietz

Watch a recording of these presentations

Teaching local history topics with archival collections brings the distant past to life: the places are well-known and the memories are, at times, very personal. Conducting outreach and designing a meaningful teaching event with these records, particularly for new users, can be both challenging and deeply rewarding. This session will feature 3 speakers sharing their experiences conducting outreach to the local community and designing hands-on experiences for groups of all ages. 

  • Amalia Medina Castañeda will discuss two projects–a local history workshop she prepared as part of a Girls Empowerment Summit for Inglewood and Compton high school girls, and a Compton history instruction session she prepared for undergraduate fellows of the non profit, Color Compton. 
  • Meghan Courtney will discuss the Bentley Historical Library’s work with area high schools as they explored race and gentrification, both at a national and local level. 
  • Kira Dietz will talk about the Virginia Tech Special Collections’ first time participating in the “Hokie for a Day” program for Title IX schools, as well as VTSC’s efforts to develop two 5-minute local history activities for 50-60 5th graders over the course of an hour. 

We encourage attendees to bring their own experiences developing activities or outreach for learners of all ages. We’ll have 10-15 minutes at the end of the session to share some ideas for learning outcomes and activities on a Jamboard that you can revisit later.

How can you get involved?

This event only happens because of volunteers like YOU. We need folks to lend a hand at TPS Fest with the following roles:

  • Zoom Helper – You do not need a zoom account to help with this role. Zoom meetings for each session will be set up in advance; zoom helpers will use shared login credentials to log in at least 15 minutes ahead of the session start; to ensure that the facilitators are set as co-hosts; to mute/unmute participants as needed; and to assist with troubleshooting zoom issues.
  • Chat Moderator – Keep an eye on the chat during the session and flag questions as they come in so that facilitators can answer them during the Q&A session; make sure folks are abiding by our community agreements; share any links/resources in the chat as needed during the session (if facilitators share these with you)

Willing to lend a hand with one of the above roles at any of the sessions on our schedule? Reach out to Jen Hoyer to sign up: tpsfest-at-tpscollective-dot-org

But what is TPS Fest?

TPS Fest is the latest experiment in creating a more open-community and decentralized approach to the TPS unconferences of the past couple years (see more of those here). Every year is different!

Join us to gather, share ideas, and learn together. TPS Fest usually isn’t a space for formal conference presentations; instead, we’re interested in opening up space for conversations and work that we don’t get space to do elsewhere. We’re hoping that this will create space for folks in our community to try new things and have conversations they’ve hoped for. Some of the things that typically happen include:

  • Facilitated conversations
  • Skill sharing workshops
  • Reading groups
  • Working groups
  • In-person local meetups
  • Something amazing we’ve never imagined before?!

TPS Fest 2023 is generously co-supported the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of ALA-ACRL, the Society of American Archivists, and many many volunteers from the thriving TPS Community.

SAA logo
RBMS logo