Top Library Resources for Women’s History Month

Library Resources | March 12, 2020

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March is Women’s History Month, a time to honor women in history who have fought for equal rights.

This year’s Women’s History Month theme is “Valiant Woman of the Vote,” and the Library of Congress has created a virtual exhibit dedicated to the women’s suffrage movement. A search of the web also reveals a variety of relevant classroom activities, lesson plans, background reading and more.

Libraries subscribing to EBSCO resources will also find a wealth of content to support and promote student research and classroom instruction related to women’s history.

Reader’s Advisory and Collection Development

NoveList® Plus can help librarians find a variety of fiction and nonfiction celebrating female characters and culture. Check out the Recommended Reads Lists, including Extraordinary Women and Historical Women. Use the “strong female” appeal term to find fiction with fierce female protagonists.

For libraries looking to add new books by and about women to their shelves, Core Collections™ has great recommendations. Here are just a few:

  • “A Computer Called Katherine” by Suzanne Slade; illustrated by Veronica Miller Jamison
    This picture book biography can help elementary school students learn about NASA mathematician and Hidden Figures heroine Katherine Johnson.
     
  • “Dissenter on the Bench” by Victoria Ortiz
    Appropriate for middle school students, this biography details Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s storied life and legal career.
     
  • “Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World” by Penelope Bagieu
    Cartoonist Bagieu presents short biographical sketches of famous and less-famous women worldwide and their various achievements. Ideal for high school students and older.

Books Displays and Programming Ideas

Promote books by or about women, focusing on different contributions each week. Start with books about famous writers, singers and performers. Honor women in comedy with a display of nonfiction by funny females such as Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Ali Wong, Tiffany Haddish and Ellen DeGeneres. Other weeks can feature books by or about famous political figures, such as Eva Peron, Indira Gandhi and Hillary Clinton, and female scientists such as chemist Alice Ball and conservationist Rachel Carson.

Looking for Women’s History Month programming ideas? American Libraries magazine offers a round-up of special events, activities, movie nights and other ideas for honoring female trailblazers.

Resources for High School and College-Level Research and Instruction

Written by witnesses to history, firsthand accounts of women who made an impact in the world can be found in magazine archive issues of Life, TIME, People, Ebony, Vanity Fair and Bloomberg Businessweek. Students can explore coverage of the first woman in space, the first woman to run for president, the first woman to become a supreme court justice and more. In addition, students will be able to follow the evolution of women in advertising images as well as their representation in the media through the years.

Meanwhile, Literary Reference Center Plus and Poetry & Short Story Reference Center are great sources of biographies for authors such as Emily Dickinson, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Kate Chopin, Amy Tan, and Sylvia Plath. Students and educators will also find literary criticism on works such as:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson
  • “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker
  • “Hope is a thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson
  • “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou

In addition, The Paris Review Poetry Showcases on Poetry & Short Story Reference Center offer an in-depth look at poets and their works. Each showcase includes a biography, several poems and an interview with the poet, as well as audio recordings of the interview and of the poet reading her work. Featured poets include Cecilia Vicuña, Jorie Graham, Mónica de la Torre, Anne Waldman, Monica Youn and Tracy K. Smith.

EBSCO Connect offers lesson plans that integrate school databases, including Literary Reference Center Plus and Poetry & Short Story Reference Center. Invite students to explore characterization with gothic literature and evaluate the plausibility of a perfect world.

To promote women writers, be sure to download, customize and hang this colorful poster in your library.

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