The Best in Online Library Networks: A Reference Guide

Digital archives and online library networks, while still limited, are meaningfully improving the way we teach and learn. This guide will help teachers, students and all internet users get the most out of the vast array of online library resources.

International Libraries
At Europeana, students and teachers are invited to search Europe’s cultural collections including drawings by da Vinci, Darwin’s treatises and Beethoven’s scores. The Bibliotheque nationale de France offer Gallica, an online collection of books, manuscripts, images and maps.

Children can read books from around the world at the International Children’s Digital Library. At the National Diet Library, students and teachers can access Japan’s national collections including online access to books, magazines, newspapers and galleries.

Digital collections of books, photographs, literature, manuscripts, newspapers and articles are available from the Indonesian national library, the Perpustakaan Nasional Republik Indonesia.

National (U.S.) Libraries
Online learners of all ages will enjoy searching the Smithsonian’s Digital Library where they can find fact sheets, bibliographies, digital editions of works and online exhibitions.

The Internet Archive has a vast collection of web pages, video, audio and film archives, as well as over two million texts.

The U.S. Library of Congress offers a stunning array of online resources including the America’s Library for Children, rare collections of maps, early sound recordings, manuscripts, historic newspapers, rare books and texts of all laws and bills. There is even an extensive page of links to online content, broken down subjects, such as World History, Science, Technology, Business and Government, Politics & Law.

At the National Archives, students can view our nation’s most famous documents, including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, as well as search galleries and regional archives. The collection also has a variety of handouts and lesson plans for teachers.

State (U.S.) Libraries
The California State Library offers newspaper, journal and magazine articles, genealogy resources, e-books and more to California officials, employees and visitors.

Manuscripts, government documents, videos and a large collection related to the career and assassination of President Abraham Lincoln may be found at the Illinois State Library.

The State Library of Michigan operates its Michigan eLibrary and offers full text articles, photographs and historical data, as well as specialized tools for teachers at Michigan Online Resources for Educators.

The Texas State Library has online exhibits, historical maps, and records and information about Texas history and heritage.

Public Libraries
With silent films, sound archives and an extensive free online children’s library, the Boston Public Library is an excellent resource for teachers, students and parents alike.

Students and teachers can search encyclopedias, newspapers, magazines and reference books at the Chicago Public Library.

The Multnomah County Library offers homework databases and websites, and students can even text a specific question to a librarian.

The New York Public Library has free online journals, reference works, magazines, exhibitions, digitized maps and photographs and children’s resources.

Academic Libraries
The course materials for nearly every class offered at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is now available for free online at MIT OpenCourseWare.
Students and teachers can find and read over one million free books online provided by The University of Pennsylvania.

Stanford University’s High Wire offers free access to over two million free full-text articles.

The University of Virginia has over 19,000 free digital sources available through its VIRGO catalog search.

Presidential (U.S.) Libraries
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum offers eight interactive exhibits on subjects like the Cuban missile crisis and the moon race.

At the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library, students can view photographs and download transcripts of President Reagan’s most memorable speeches, while teachers can access lesson plans and other resources.

Students can search digitized collections of presidential documents, photographs and audio and video clips at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

Teachers, students and the public alike will be impressed with the comprehensive 9/11 Resource Guide available at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

Discipline Specific Libraries
The Yale University Divinity School has placed a variety of free resources for the study of Christianity online, including encyclopedias, texts and articles.

The Legal Information Institute at Cornell University offers a free, online law library.

Military scholars and aficionados will enjoy the free digital collections on the Military Education Research Library Network (MERLIN).

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has exhibits and digital projects on a wide variety of health-related subjects.

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