At-Home Learning

We want to help parents, caregivers, students, and lifelong learners with at-home resources prepared by The Library of Virginia. Below you’ll find a range of resources for all age groups!

For Educators & Students:

Questions? Email

Virginia Public Library Resources

Don’t forget that Virginia’s public libraries are a one-stop resource for digital content even if you cannot get into the building! While each library will have different offerings, there is plenty to read, learn, research, and do with your library card and your library’s website. Don’t have a library card? You may be able to get one online—visit the website or call. The links below go directly to the services provided, accessing the services via your public library’s website may be easier since you will most likely have to input your library card credentials. If you are unsure where your local public library is located, please visit our public library directory or check out this interactive map of all the Virginia public library locations. Or explore this list of public library websites.

Whether you are looking for ebooks, digital audiobooks or magazines, or streaming video, you will find something to watch, read, or listen to at your public library. In addition, all public libraries have access to a set of online resources from the Library of Virginia. Find It Virginia is a carefully curated selection of authoritative databases, online learning products, and other digital content for Virginians of all ages. All resources are free and available with a public library card anywhere in Virginia. Most Virginia public libraries offer additional online resources to supplement Find It Virginia.

Many Virginians don’t have broadband internet access at home and may not be able to access these as a result. Some public libraries are loaning wireless hotspots that will provide home internet, with the caveat that if cell phones don’t work at home, neither will the hotspots. However, most public libraries keep their wifi on 24/7 and it is usually accessible in the parking lot, allowing access to digital resources whenever it is convenient for you.

Virginia History for Any Age

Virginia Changemakers
Biographies of men and women who have changed Virginia’s history. This resource can be browsed alphabetically, by region, by historical era, or by themes such as Arts and Literature or Civil Rights and Reform.

The Dictionary of Virginia Biography
(DVB) is an ongoing biographical reference project covering all centuries, regions, and categories of Virginia’s history and culture. The DVB highlights many women, African Americans, Indians, and others whose lives have never before been studied in depth.

Document Bank of Virginia
Images of primary historical sources ready for use in the classroom. These documents can be browsed by a specific historic era, by theme, or using a simple search. DBVa provides historical context along with suggested questions, teaching students to be critical thinkers as they analyze original documents and draw their own conclusions about Virginia’s past.

Online Classroom
Guides for teachers. Shaping the Constitution and Union or Secession are two online resources created with educators and students in mind. Historical text, narratives, images, links and the occasional video come together in these sections to bring history to life for your students.

Virginia Women in History Digital Trails
You can visit (virtually or in person) sites associated with history-making women across the state through our Virginia Women in History Digital Trails, thanks to a collaboration with American Evolution, Virginia’s 2019 Commemoration.

Digital Collections

The UncommonWealth
Check out all the Library of Virginia’s new blog has and learn about what we do, why we do it, and how our efforts relate to current issues and events. In addition to our intriguing collections and groundbreaking projects, we spotlight public libraries, staff members, and specialized professions.

Digital Collections Discovery
Explore the Library’s Digital Collections through our online catalog.

Virginia Chronicle
From the Abingdon Virginian to the Richmond Planet, Virginia Chronicle provides free access to over a million newspaper pages from the commonwealth and beyond. These full-text searchable and digitized images give glimpses into the lives of Virginians from 1787 to 2023, outlining everything from community happenings to notable moments in American history. Volunteers help correct the text of articles. Yesterday’s news is tomorrow’s research! Register for an account.

Virginia Untold: The African American Narrative
The Library’s African American Narrative project aims to provide greater accessibility to the pre-1865 African American history and genealogy found in the rich primary sources in its holdings. Traditional description, indexing, transcription, and digitization are major parts of this effort. This project also seeks to encourage conversation and engagement around the records, providing opportunities for a more grassroots and diverse narrative of the history of Virginia’s African American people.

Virginia Digital Yearbook Collection
Virginia’s public libraries have banded together to collect digital scans of public high school yearbooks from across the Commonwealth hosted on Internet Archive. Take a trip down memory lane or look up family members by using the full-text search.

Browsing historic photo albums showing areas and items of interest in Virginia, you can spend hours immersed in visual history here.

Look What We Got
Check out this Tumblr page highlighting the latest additions to the Visual Studies Collection.

Curious Catalog
This Tumblr page features items from the Rare Book collection (early printed titles, sheet music, and broadsides) and the Map collection from the Library of Virginia.

Google Arts & Culture
With 21 visual stories made up of over 820 items, the Library’s Google Arts & Culture collection is a wealth of online exhibitions.

History Pin
The Library’s History Pin collection includes over 1500 map pins so you can see where history happened!

Browse our boards, with mini-collections that hold a combination of visual fun and educational impact. Some highlights include African American HistoryPostcards for St. PatrickVictorian PetsColor Our Collections, and Vintage Motel Postcards.

Online Exhibitions

New Virginians
Produced jointly by the Library of Virginia and Virginia Humanities, the exhibition highlights the changing demographics of the commonwealth on the eve of the 2020 federal census through a series of interviews with first-generation immigrants and refugees who arrived in Virginia after 1976. Check out the filmed interviews that were featured in the exhibit.

True Sons of Freedom (WWI)
These uniformed young men are ready for war—brave, loyal, and prepared, though perhaps either a bit reserved or cocksure. Soldiers knew that these portraits, made outdoors or in makeshift studios, would be mementos for sweethearts, families, and others proud of their service and anxious for their safety. Yet the intimacy of such pocket-sized original prints belies a larger context: in an era replete with stereotypical imagery, here were African Americans presented as they wanted themselves seen.

Poe: Man, Myth, or Monster
Edgar Allan Poe created a new form of psychological tale in which the character’s descent into madness becomes the central theme. In spite of his numerous contributions to lyric poetry, science fiction, and mystery, Poe’s reputation as the master of the macabre remains secure. More than merely continuing in the tradition of Gothic literature with its roots in the British Horace Walpole and the German E. T. A. Hoffman, Poe replaced the supernatural element in Gothic literature with the demons of the character’s tormented imagination. Poe discarded the moral lesson, the happy ending, and the theme of virtue rewarded in favor of creating an emotional impact on the audience. He brings the reader into the mind of the insane and, decades before Sigmund Freud, explores the darkest recesses of the subconscious. Learn with this collaborative exhibit from the Library of Virginia and the Poe Museum.

To Be Sold: Virginia and the American Slave Trade
To Be Sold: Virginia and the American Slave Trade offers a frank exploration of Virginia’s role in the business of the second middle passage—the forced relocation of two-thirds of a million African Americans from the Upper South to the Cotton South in the decades before the Civil War. Anchoring the exhibition is a series of images created by English artist Eyre Crowe, who in March 1853 witnessed the proceedings of Richmond’s largest business. Crowe turned his sketches and experience into a series of remarkable paintings and engravings that humanized the enslaved and spoke eloquently of the pathos and upheaval of the trade. The story of the American slave trade is one of numbers, but it is also the story of individuals whose families were torn apart and whose lives were forever altered.

Remaking Virginia
What challenges did African Americans face in their struggle to achieve what they believed freedom would bring them? What obstacles blocked African Americans’ efforts to gain citizenship? How did white Virginians react to the end of slavery—the underpinnings of their economy and culture—and the changes that free African Americans expected in this new Southern world? How successful were African Americans after the Civil War in achieving their objectives? Did the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution significantly aid African Americans in their struggles? Remaking Virginia offers a look at the changing world that all Virginians faced during the post–Civil War years.

We Demand: Women’s Suffrage in Virginia
While you are unable to come in and visit our gallery, please enjoy using the online additions to our current exhibition. Virginia suffragists were a remarkable group of talented and dedicated women who have largely been forgotten. They were artists and writers, business and professional women, and educators and reformers who marched in parades, rallied at the state capitol, spoke to crowds on street corners, staffed booths at state and county fairs, lobbied legislators and congressmen, picketed the White House, and even went to jail. At the centenary of woman suffrage, these remarkable women are at last recognized for their important achievements and contributions.

Online Talks/Videos

The Library of Virginia records a number of author talks and presentations. Check out our Youtube Page or explore some of the videos in the links below.

“The Ballot in Our Hands” The Campaign For Women’s Suffrage : Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment! Join us for a talk with the authors of The Campaign for Woman Suffrage in Virginia, a new book that explores the remarkable achievements of women who fought for the right to vote in the commonwealth. Brent Tarter, Marianne E. Julienne, and Barbara Batson—whose research unearthed new information and discovered women who have never before appeared in history books—are also the curators of the Library of Virginia’s exhibition We Demand: Women’s Suffrage in Virginia, running through May 28, 2021, in the Exhibition Gallery.

Public Records, Public Trust: Records Management in Government : What makes a record a public record? What rules apply to the management of public records? When does a public record become archival? What is the role of records management in government transparency? In honor of Archives Month, explore these questions and more with Michael Strom, State Archivist and director of Government Records Services, and Chad Owen, records management coordinator. Under the authority of the Virginia Public Records Act, the Library of Virginia’s Records Management section assists state and local government in ensuring that public records are maintained and available throughout their life cycle. Records Management supports the efficient and economical management of public records by publishing records retention and disposition schedules, presenting workshops, monitoring the disposal of nonpermanent records, and assisting with the transfer of permanent records to the Archives.

17th Century Maps of Virginia, Maryland, & the Southeast,1590-1720 : Cassandra Britt Farrell, senior map archivist in the Library’s Manuscripts and Special Collections Department, presents on 17th-Century Maps of Virginia, Maryland & the Southeast, 1590–1720. Farrell specializes in maps of Virginia and colonial American history. Captain John Smith’s map of Virginia—considered the “mother” map of Virginia—influenced many European mapmakers as they printed maps of the colony for inclusion in atlases. However, it is not the only 17th-century map of the colony worthy of study by historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, and other researchers of colonial Virginia. This talk will review those maps published between the years 1590 to 1720 that are not derivatives of Smith’s famous map and will explore the differences between the “states” published for each. Learn about the individuals who published these maps and in which atlases and books the maps were originally included.

2020 Library of Virginia Literary Awards : The 23rd Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards were celebrated virtually this year with a week of author conversations and special events—all free and accessible to the public and available for viewing on the Library’s Youtube Channel. Sponsored by Dominion Energy, Award–winning Virginia author Adriana Trigiani again served as host for Saturday evening’s awards celebration and US Presidential Historian and best–selling author, Douglas Brinkley, was the featured speaker; Mr. Brinkley was also honored for his outstanding contributions to American history and literature. Celebrations began Tuesday, October 13, 2020 and culminated with the Library of Virginia Literary Awards Celebration on Saturday, October 17 where the following finalists were announced as the award winner in their respective categories:

Art in Literature: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award : This unique award, established in 2013, is named in honor of Mary Lynn Kotz, author of the award-winning biography Rauschenberg: A Life. The award recognizes an outstanding book published in the previous year that is written primarily in response to a work (or works) of art while also showing the highest literary quality as a creative or scholarly work. The judges selected Philip J. Deloria’s book Becoming Mary Sully: Toward an American Indian Abstract as this year’s winner.

Nonfiction Discussion Panel: Traci Thomas, host of the podcast The Stacks, moderated author conversations with Nonfiction Award finalists Tressie McMillan Cottom (author of Thick: And Other Essays), Mary M. Lane (author of Hitler’s Last Hostages: Looted Art and the Soul of the Third Reich), and Andrea Dennis and Erik Nielson (authors of Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America).

Fiction Discussion Panel: Bethanne Patrick, writer, editor, and freelance book reviewer for the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times, moderated a panel with the Fiction Award finalists Angie Kim (author of Miracle Creek), Tara Laskowski (author of One Night Gone), and Christopher Tilghman (author of Thomas and Beal in the Midi).

Poetry Discussion Panel: Poet Laureate of Virginia Luisa A. Igloria moderated a conversation with Poetry Award finalists Lauren A. Alleyne (author of Honeyfish), David Huddle (author of Hazel), and Benjamin Naka-Hasebe Kingsley (Colonize Me).


The Library of Virginia houses a vast collection of materials and records documenting the lives of Virginians. Delving into those records to explore your family’s history can be an immensely satisfying and rewarding experience. To start organizing your search, here are some tips!

Be sure to check out these online presentations for more tips!

■ To trace your family history, begin with yourself and work backward, one step at a time.

■ Carefully record the important facts of your own life and what you know about your parents and grandparents.

■ Consult other members of your family and close family friends and collect the information they know or have gathered. You may find that a family member has saved family papers, newspaper clippings, obituaries, family Bibles, or other treasures.

■ Compile a genealogical chart showing the names of your immediate ancestors with their birth, marriage, and death dates, including the places where each event occurred.

■ Look for family names in books on local and family history. The Library of Virginia has a large collection of published family histories.

■ Search for family records such as census, birth, death, or marriage in online genealogical resources.

■ Go to a local library, courthouse, or state archives, or to the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C. In order to document the history you have heard from relatives or the claims you have found in published and online genealogies, you must search for original records.

■ Always record the source of any information found.

Check out our collection of research guides and databases that can help with genealogical research. Reminder: Effective 1 May 2020, out-of-state patrons will not be able to remotely access the commercial databases the Library offers due to licensing restrictions with those vendors.

Want a template for your own family tree? Check out our pinterest board or download one from the Library for illustrating your family history as your work through your genealogy at the Library of Virginia!

Here are more helpful handouts to help guide you on your genealogy journey!

We also offer an ongoing series of in-person and virtual workshops to help you with your quest. Geared to all levels of expertise, the workshops explore our collections and offer advice on how to organize your research.

Finding Your Virginia Roots
The Library’s genealogy Facebook group, provides resources and information for professional genealogists and family historians.

Connect with Us!

Crowd-Sourcing Projects
Help us preserve history for future generations from the comfort of your own home. Check out this blog post to learn more about Transcribe, Virginia Chronicle, and From the Page.

Civic Conversations
The civic conversations series involves small group discussions on a variety of topics, normally conducted in-person at the Library. We’ve compiled questions and resources around some of these topics so that a wider audience can participate. Feel free to utilize these resources to have your own family or community discussions or to aid in educational research.

The Virginia Shop
We have new books (have you read the brand new book on Suffrage in Virginia? It’s excellent!), merchandise from Studio Two Three, and lots of Virginia-inspired products at The Virginia Shop online.

Explore the back issues of our magazine to learn about our collections, staff, events, and some amazing photographs.

Primary Source Resources

Teaching your child or children from home can be a challenge for any parent/caregiver. We want to help parents and caregivers with social studies resources prepared by The Library of Virginia. Below you’ll find primary source activities for students to engage with as well as a range of resources for all age groups on many topics in the Social Studies and History categories.

Download our Education flyer, which highlights content relevant to educators and students.

Download our NEW RESOURCE FLYER, African American Education Resources at the Library of Virginia. 

Join our Education Facebook Community!

Brown Teacher Institute Educator Resources

The Library of Virginia’s eleventh annual Brown Teacher Institute, held virtually in August 2020, focused on legacies of slavery and racism in the Commonwealth. This page offers tools, resources, and content to aid educators in teaching these topics in the classroom, as well as recorded videos of the featured guest speakers and live Q&As.

The 2020 Brown Teacher Institute keynote speaker, sponsored by Virginia Humanities, featured Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries in conversation with Norfolk 4th grade teacher Chris Mathews. They discussed the work Dr. Jeffries has done with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Hard History initiative, which has designed a framework for teaching slavery in K-12 classrooms.

Documenting Pandemics: Exploring & Creating Historical Materials Activity

During this stressful and confusing time, we wanted to offer a primary source activity that parents/caregivers/guardians and students can do together to keep your history brains flourishing! This activity uses a primary source example from the influenza pandemic of 1918 as a way to introduce students to the process of documenting and creating historical documents. 

Fun fact: Primary sources are first-hand accounts of events! It is created when the event took place, or at a later time, by someone who was actually there and can range from letters to journals to speeches and more. Primary sources do not have to be old — that Tik-Tok video you made last night? It’s a primary source! Historical documents are incredibly useful for understanding how people thought, felt, and reacted to events and situations. 

Parents can guide or have their children explore independently the sources below to further understand how the influenza pandemic impacted Virginians in 1917. After investigating the primary sources (guiding questions provided), families can choose to create their own document regarding their unique experiences in 2020.

October 24, 1918 page 9, The World News

Click to see the full PDF of this page here!

More than 600,000 people died over the course of a year in what would be deemed the worst epidemic to hit America. According to the CDC, 20-50 million people worldwide died between 1918-1919 as a result of the flu.  The virus spread quickly, taking an enormous toll on densely populated areas such as Philadelphia, Boston, and San Francisco.

But what about its impact on small towns?

The Big Stone Gap Post of Big Stone Gap, Virginia and the Clinch Valley News of Tazewell, Virginia published regular updates about the comings and goings of the flu. Roughly 100 miles apart in the southwestern portion of the state, both towns currently boast modest populations of around 4-5,000 residents. One article in the Big Stone Gap Post  wrote that the Spanish Flu was considered a “crowd disease” but small towns in Virginia were not spared, with relative isolation making it difficult for the sick to get help.

From the Big Stone Gap Post, November 20, 1918, nine days after the end of the war: “It is hardly likely that the general public will ever realize the extent of the suffering and anguish caused by the Spanish Influenza in some of the more remote mountain communities in Virginia where the frightful malady raged with a degree of severity which is difficult to explain.”

As the war was ending, the local and national news seemed equally dominated by reports of influenza cases. World war may have even helped spread to influenza around the globe just as the spread of the flu impacted the war effort at home and abroad.

To see these newspaper clippings, visit this link:


  • Take a look at a Virginia newspaper from October 1918 (you pick which one!) or this newspaper page. What is it talking about? Do you see anything about the flu? If so, what does it say? What can you learn from this?
  • Write your own newspaper article about the current pandemic. What do you think others can learn from your article 100 years from now?
  • Write a letter to your future self. What has your day-to-day schedule been like? How are you feeling? Are you wondering about anything that you would like to share? Do you have any predictions for the future? Do you have any news to share about your parents, grandparents, or siblings?

Pre-K thru Elementary Resources and Activities

Along with many other libraries and museums, the Library of Virginia created coloring-friendly version of items in our collections for #ColorOurCollections week. You can select an image at or see the PDF.

Preschool to 2nd grade students will enjoy Early World from WorldBook, a learning platform filled with games, videos, stories, and a visual encyclopedia.

Grade school students will have fun with the Cricket Media Collection of videos and stories, as well as ebooks from Ebsco, as described above.

  • For both Elementary and Middle School students check out our book, To Collect, Protect, and Serve: Behind the Scenes at the Library of Virginia! If you would like a digital copy of the book and/or powerpoint to show your students or children, email and we’ll send it to you!

Students can explore some of the Library of Virginia’s collections and learn how they are conserved! The Library of Virginia is the oldest cultural institution in the state and the official archive (a place where history is kept) and library of the Commonwealth. In the book To Collect, Protect, and Serve: Behind the Scenes at the Library of Virginia, Archie the Archivist, Libby the Librarian, and Connie the Conservator guide young readers through a visit to the Library of Virginia.

The book lets children explore some of the Library’s most important holdings – an early copy of the Declaration of Independence, the Statute of Religious Freedom, and documents connected to famous Virginians like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, and Edgar Allan Poe. They will learn how archivists, librarians, and conservators battle against the threats to historical documents like the Archival Enemies – Mildred Mold, Bartholomew B. Bug, and Liquid Lenny – to keep Virginia’s history safe for the future.

Check out these To Collect, Protect, and Serve worksheets!

Middle and High School Resources and Activities

The Library of Virginia hopes that the Virginia Women in History program can be a part of your classroom curriculum. Each honoree’s page features a concise biography along with an image. These tools can help your students sharpen their analytical skills as they learn about and interpret the lives and contributions of each honoree.

Click here to see Middle School and High School student activities associated with Virginia Women in History!

The Library of Virginia hopes that the Strong Men & Women in Virginia History program can be a part of your classroom curriculum. Each honoree’s page features a concise biography along with an image. These tools can help your students sharpen their analytical skills as they learn about and interpret the lives and contributions of each honoree.

Click here to see Middle School and High School student activities associated with Strong Men & Women in Virginia History!

The Library of Virginia hopes that New Virginians: 1619–2019 & Beyond  can be a part of your classroom curriculum. Each interview’s page features a concise biography along with an image. These tools can help your students sharpen their analytical skills as they learn about and interpret the lives and contributions of each interviewee.

Click here to see Middle School and High School student activities associated with New Virginians!

  • These three projects use crowd-sourcing to help make historical materials at the Library of Virginia more accessible. Be sure to also check out our post about digital resources you can access at home from your public library, and our own digital collections.

Enhance access to collections documenting over 400 years of Virginia history, people, and culture by transforming historical documents into searchable text. This is the perfect opportunity for students to dig deep into our collections and transcribe historic materials from five to ten active projects at a time. From peace to wartime, court records to letters home, and conspiracies to political statements, there will be something for everyone.

New documents are published each week! We’re currently working on Virginia Untold: The African American Narrative and the Equal Suffrage League Records.

Get started: Create an account. We will email you with further instructions, so please be sure to use an email address that you check! Account requests answered within one business day. Quick tip: Click “Browse all” after the collection title on the Transcribe homepage. Within each collection, the documents which have not been transcribed will appear at the top of the page. Remember to save your work!


From the Abingdon Virginian to the Richmond Planet, Virginia Chronicle provides free access to over a million newspaper pages from the commonwealth and beyond. These full-text searchable and digitized images give glimpses into the lives of Virginians from 1787 to 2013, outlining everything from local politics to community happenings to notable moments in American history.

Not finding what you’re looking for when you search? You may have used Virginia Chronicle for research without realizing that you can help improve it. A computer program called OCR (Optical Character Recognition) has analyzed these historic newspapers to produce the searchable text.

However, OCR is not perfect. More modern typefaces are easier for OCR to recognize accurately. Some older papers may have other issues making it difficult for the program to read the text. Volunteers help correct the OCR’d text of articles. Yesterday’s news is tomorrow’s research!

Get started: Register for an account. After a quick online account creation, you can select a paper by title, date, or location, and click “Correct this text” in the left-hand window.


Our newest transcription platform, From the Page, allows volunteers to transcribe text from forms and questionnaires. Explore Virginia’s World War I Questionnaires, in which returning soldiers or their family members completed surveys about their lives before, during, and after the conflict.

Each questionnaire has four pages and may have additional attachments, such as other notes or photographs, as seen in the True Sons of Freedom exhibit.

Rather than typing all the text on a page, volunteers only need to fill in the blanks, just like the original respondents.

Remember, just like us, those filling out this form sometimes made mistakes or wrote things outside of the prescribed spaces. If you see anything like that, you can leave us a note in the “Page Notes” section at the bottom of each page. These questionnaires contain biographical, genealogical, and historical information—all of which is made more searchable and usable once transcribed.

Get started: Register for an account on From the Page. Easy online account creation! From the Page hosts collections from several different archives and libraries. View the WWI Questionnaires by county (we’re still adding more!) or view the whole collection. Quick tip: On the WWI Questionnaires collection page, click “Pages that Need Transcription” in the right-hand column to quickly locate documents to work on.