National History Day (NHD) is an exciting academic enrichment program that helps students learn about historical issues, ideas, people, and events. The Library supports the program by annually hosting over 500 middle school students for tours and research visits. In addition to organizing and hosting the research tours, staff members from Archives, Youth Services, and Reference also act as judges at local and regional competitions and give one-on-one coaching to any student interested in improving their project for higher level competition. In May of each year, the library hosts its own contest, offering cash prizes for projects that demonstrate exceptional primary source research.
If you would like to bring a class for a research visit, email Teen Librarian Linda Jerome. We'd appreciate at least a week's notice.
Research and Primary Sources
Primary sources are the foundation of an outstanding NHD project. You can find print primary sources by searching our catalog with the words [primary source] + letters, diaries, journals, speeches, correspondence, and interviews. Books with primary source material are clearly marked with yellow tape in the Reference collection.
Recollection Wisconsin is treasure trove of primary source material from across the state of Wisconsin, include materials from the La Crosse area. You'll find pictures, maps, directories, letters, oral histories and more. This resource is free and available to anyone.
The following resources are paid for and available to La Crosse city residents who have a valid library card:
- New York Times Historical
- American National Biography
- Historic Map Works
- Reader's Guide Retrospective (This is an index to older articles in magazines. You will not find actual articles in this resource.)
The following resources are available to all State of Wisconsin Residents who have a valid library card.
- History Reference Center
- Military and Government Collection
- Newspaper Archive
- Explora for Middle & High Schools
For students working on local history projects, you can browse or search for primary sources on local topics on the Archives Collections page and at La Crosse History Unbound. If you are unable to find materials locally, you can request books or other materials through Interlibrary Loan.
There is a wealth of primary source documents to be found online.
- United States primary sources from the National Archives
- World history primary source documents
- Try this website if you need help understanding primary sources
If you would like to improve your project before moving on to state or nationals, you can make an appointment with a librarian. Call the Reference Desk at 608.789.7122.