Back to School at DPLA

By DPLA, August 31, 2016.
Published under:
What’s on your checklist at the start of this school year?

✓ Blank notebooks

✓ Sharpened pencils

𝤿 Free, online ready-to-use education resources

Check! ‘Tis Back-to-School season and here at DPLA, we are eager and excited to dive into another year of innovative teaching and learning with a great lineup of new resources to use in your classroom this year.  

Primary Source Sets


DPLA’s free education poster, available for your classroom or library.

Published last year, our 100 Primary Source Sets, each with an accompanying teaching guide, are ready to use this fall – to adapt into a lesson to complement your curriculum, to inspire student researchers, and to deepen student engagement through inquiry-based analysis.  Designed for grades 6-14 and vetted by our Education Advisory Committee, the Primary Source Sets draw on DPLA’s vast collections of resources from libraries, archives, and museums across the country and feature diverse primary sources including letters, photographs, posters, oral histories, video clips, sheet music, and more.

The Primary Source Sets represent a broad array of US and World History topics, but they are not just for history class!

And we are eager to work with you to explore even broader implications of these resources for courses in sociology, women’s studies, American studies and more.

We have also been working hard to spread the word about DPLA and our education resources and grow our community of educators.  You can now find, save, and share the Primary Source Sets alongside your favorite online resources in PBS LearningMedia, OER Commons, Amazon Inspire and the Learning Registry’s Open Node.


Air Force Bainbridge, GA, DLG

Men posing in front of a US Air Force plane in Bainbridge, Georgia, 1944, featured in the Georgia’s Home Front: World War II exhibit.

Our digital exhibitions are another great resource for educators and students to keep in mind as the new academic year begins.  Like the Primary Source Sets, the Exhibitions represent a broad array of topics that complement history curricula like the first transcontinental railroad, the New Deal, and Prohibition.  Our partner-curated exhibitions also present an opportunity to explore history through a more local lens of a particular state or region, like Boom or Bust: The Industries that Settled Montana, Georgia’s Home Front: World War II, and Best Foot Forward: The Shoe Industry in Massachusetts.  

DPLA Collections

With nearly 14 million items from over 2,000 contributing institutions, DPLA’s research portal represents a rich and unprecedented mix of local, national, and international cultural heritage that offers nearly unlimited possibilities for exploration for you and your students.  And we’re growing!  In the past year, we’ve added millions of new records from our existing partners like the National Archives and Empire State Digital Network and from new state hubs from Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.  

Where to start? If you haven’t already, sign up for a free account with DPLA to be able to save your favorite items and organize item lists for each of your classes and topics of interest.  The save and share list feature is great for student researchers too.  Here’s a quick how-to guide for searching in DPLA and you’re off – happy discovering!

Open eBooksopen ebooks logo

The Open eBooks app contains thousands of popular and award­-winning titles that are free for kids from in-need communities and offers unprecedented access to quality digital content for early grades, middle school, and high school, including a catalog of eBooks valued at more than $250 million. The Open eBooks app is now available for Apple and Android mobile devices. Learn more and sign up at

Open eBooks is a collaboration between Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), First Book, and The New York Public Library (NYPL), with content support from digital books distributor Baker & Taylor.

Stay tuned!

DPLA is an ever-growing resource and we’ll be working to create exhibitions and primary source sets and develop new educational opportunities all year so let’s keep in touch!

  • Stay in the loop and get all the updates from the education department by joining our email list for education.
  • And let us know about your experience using the primary source sets or DPLA in your class by emailing  Your feedback will impact our future work!