Bring your class to the Division of Special Collections

This entry was posted in A.S. Williams III Collection, Amy Hildreth Chen, Pedagogy Series. Bookmark the permalink.

By: Amy Chen, CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow


Amy Chen, waiting to hear from you!

Every semester, the Division of Special Collections invites University of Alabama faculty members as well as local teachers and group leaders to bring their students to visit either the W.S. Hoole Library in Mary Harmon Bryant Hall or the Williams Collection in Gorgas Library.

Follow this link to find the form used to request a session. Or, go to Hoole Library’s website, where more information is located in “Visit,” the upper left-hand quadrant. (Note: Hoole Library’s “For Instructors” page provides the intake form for those interested in coming to either Hoole OR the Williams Collection.) If you want to discuss this opportunity at more length, feel free to email Amy directly at

Right now is the best time to request a section! Ideally, requests will be made at the beginning of the semester; at least two weeks’ advance notice will be required.

Read  more about instruction services offered by Amy Chen on behalf of the University of Alabama’s Division of Special Collections: 

We will tailor show and tells based on the subject matter of your class. Students will be able to see primary sources that pertain to the topics you are studying. Some show and tells from the 2013-2014 academic year included French literature, the history of the book, and civil rights in Tuscaloosa. You might be surprised to learn how many subject areas the Division of Special Collections can cover. When in doubt, ask! Don’t assume we won’t have materials on your subject.

Show and tells can incorporate in-class activities. These in-class activities will dovetail with the learning objectives of the course, the level of the class, and the materials selected to be shown during the session. Amy can design these activities in tandem with you and she’ll even be happy to provide examples of activities conducted in the past both at UA and at other institutions.

We encourage faculty to integrate primary sources into their assignments and projects. Show and tells can be interesting, but they do not allow students to realize the full potential of working with primary sources. When students are asked to integrate their time in the reading room into a research or reflection project, they gain valuable observational and analytic skills.

Amy Chen will help faculty members who want to integrate special collections into their syllabi. Together, we can troubleshoot the best type of project to use, select items to facilitate student work, and figure out a feasible timeline. Amy brings her extensive experience to the table; she worked with UA faculty members during the 2013-2014 school year, offering over twenty sessions to classes in seven different departments. In May 2013, she received her PhD in English from Emory University, where she won a Dean’s Teaching Fellowship for integrating primary source materials in the classes she taught through the English department and the Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library. Let her help enrich your class!

Please use the form to request a session or email Amy directly at if you have questions. Amy is particularly interested in working with UA faculty members who want to bring students into the Williams collection; those who are interested in having their students generate online exhibitions or physical displays using special collections material; and bringing local K-12 classes onto campus.


This entry was posted in A.S. Williams III Collection, Amy Hildreth Chen, Pedagogy Series. Bookmark the permalink.

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