Site URL: Read.Gov
Content: The Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections. Its Web site seeks to promote reading and learning to citizens of all ages.
Design: As a product of the federal government, Read.gov is well funded, and this shows in the site’s design. It’s clean and pretty, in a very minimalistic way. With good use of imagery, the large amount of white on some pages never feels stark.
All of the links work as advertised, and the unique primary navigation (located in a small content box on the left side of every page) makes it easy to move between areas of the site.
Review: The Library's mission is to support Congress in fulfilling its constitutional duties and further the progress of knowledge and creativity for the benefit of the American people. To that end, Read.gov provides a plethora of resources to assist the cultivation of that knowledge and creativity.
Site sections such as Books That Shaped America and Classic Books add historical context to important tomes. Other areas are more practical, like Local/Community Resources, Author Webcasts and Booklists. All of this content can be useful to the savvy classroom teacher.
From a teacher’s perspective, the prize of the site is the Educators and Parents section. This area is teeming with classroom-ready resources. Here, educators will find lesson plans, organized activities, museum exhibitions and much more. These resources alone would make the site worth visiting, so they are just icing on the cake.
Bottom Line: Tools to help promote literacy and a great resource menu make The Library of Congress a tremendous site for teachers.