Call for Advisors: Teaching with Primary Sources: Women's Suffrage & Libraries

ALA's Public Programs Office is seeking four librarian advisors to take part in an effort to create and widely disseminate a programming guide, based on Library of Congress digital collections, that will help library workers nationwide lead informal education programs about the U.S. women’s suffrage movement. 

Submissions are requested by November 3, 2021.

Text reads: Teaching with Primary Sources: Women's Suffrage & Libraries. Black and white photo of suffragettes outside of the White House. ALA logo. Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Consortium Member logo. Original Image Credit: Harris & Ewing. Penn[sylvania] on the picket line, [January 24,] 1917. Reproduction. NWP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (327.00.00)


About the project

History textbooks often offer a simplistic narrative of the nation’s experience of granting women the ballot, but a closer look paints a much more complex history of women’s voting rights activism.

With funding from the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program, ALA’s Teaching with Primary Sources: Women’s Suffrage & Libraries project seeks to shed light on lesser-known histories and perspectives from the women’s suffrage era and create user-friendly resources so libraries across the United States can lead impactful conversations about this important part of our nation’s past.

Advisor opportunity

ALA will select four project advisors to participate in this project during a 10-month term (November 2021 - August 2022). Most work will take place between December 2021 and May 2022.

Working with ALA Public Programs Office staff, the advisors will research and write a programming guide that will be shared, free of charge, with U.S. libraries. To do so, the advisors will use Library of Congress digital collections to create content that will (1) inspire library workers to host programs on women’s suffrage in their communities; and (2) provide library workers with activity ideas, program content, bibliographies, and other resources to help them execute their programs seamlessly.

Advisors will be selected for their experience in research, writing, and developing local programs for public audiences. Work experience in a library is required; an MLS is preferred but not required.

As ALA seeks to recruit a diverse group of advisors, applicants are invited, but not required, to share information about their racial and ethnic background, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or cognitive differences, and age within their statement of interest.

Advisors will:

  • Attend monthly virtual meetings from December 2021 to May 2022 with the Women’s Suffrage & Libraries advisor team. (Note that the advisor team may decide on more frequent pair or small-group check-ins as a work plan is established.)
  • Conduct research, independently and on their own time, using Library of Congress digital collections about the U.S. women’s suffrage movement (e.g., Search Results 1, Women's Suffrage Classroom Materials, Primary Source Sets).
  • Write programming guide content on four themes: (1) Promises and Limitations of Our Founding Documents; (2) Voting Rights and Citizenship; (3) Inclusion/Exclusion; and (4) Aftermath of the Nineteenth Amendment. These themes are selected to align with those of another ALA program, Let’s Talk About It: Women’s Suffrage.
  • Check copyright status of intended primary sources and draft appropriate credits.
  • Peer-edit the work of fellow advisors and offer constructive feedback.
  • Be receptive to constructive edits and feedback from fellow advisors, Public Programs Office staff, and members of ALA’s Public and Cultural Programs Advisory Committee.
  • Assist with sharing the programming guide through your library systems, state libraries, or other communications channels.
  • Be available to provide feedback to ALA staff, as needed, by phone (rare) or email (common).

Each advisor will receive:

  • A $3,000 honorarium, payable in two installments at the beginning and end of the project term
  • Acknowledgment in the finished programming guide

How to apply

To apply, please prepare the following materials. Applications must be submitted electronically in a single PDF document that includes:

  1. A brief statement addressing your interest in the position (600 words max). Please provide links or attachments that demonstrate prior experience with research, writing, and/or program development.
  2. Your resume
  3. One writing sample (3 pages max; if the document is longer than 3 pages, please send a portion)

The single PDF must be submitted via email by 9 a.m. Central on November 3 to B.B. Browne at Questions may be directed to B.B. at the same email address.

All applicants will be notified of their status by November 15.


Image Credit: Harris & Ewing. Penn[sylvania] on the picket line, [January 24,] 1917. Reproduction. NWP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (327.00.00)