New Hours for Student Mentors

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New Hours for Student Mentors

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A library can be a bewildering place. For many middle and high school students, they are a labyrinth of stacks, databases, and jargon. Those with homework or projects requiring research often ask: Where do I start?

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP), one of the largest special collection libraries in the country, has the answer: Here.

Part of its renewed commitment to education, HSP is pleased to announce the expansion of its student mentor program. HSP’s Student Mentors are now available Tuesday through Thursday afterschool to help students one-on-one with their research or National History Day project.

These trained volunteers work with students to identify sources for their research in HSP’s collection of over 21 million items. With personalized attention, mentors guide students in all aspects of research: how to search for items, analyze and evaluate sources, develop an argument, and create bibliographies. Mentors also help students to transcribe documents and edit papers to ensure historical accuracy and clarity.

No appointments are necessary. First-time students will be paired with a mentor and given a tour of the library and a research orientation. Students with specific questions or those wishing to get extra help may contact Alicia Parks, HSP’s Education Manager, anytime. 6-12 grade students are welcome to research in HSP’s historic Library and Archive free of charge.

With new expanded hours, HSP hopes to draw students from across Philadelphia.
Located at 1300 Locust Street, HSP’s collections span 350 years of history, with materials ranging from Martha Washington’s cookbook to photographs of our country’s most recent immigrants.  Students researching at HSP are able to view materials firsthand, to hold our shared documentary heritage in their hands. This tactile connection to the past cannot be underestimated. 

"HSP and Enterprise Holdings Foundation share an ongoing commitment to spark student’s interests in history through hands-on experiences and exposure to a variety of records and documents,” said Beth Twiss Houting, Senior Director of Programs and Services at HSP. “We are proud to work with the city’s students to share the joy and utility of historical research.”

Other resources for students and educators, including unit plans, primary sources, and professional development opportunities, may be found online at

What: Free one-on-one research assistance for students at HSP’s Library and Archive.

Where: The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

When: No appointments are necessary.

  • Tuesday: 2:30 – 5:30
  • Wednesday: 2:30 – 8:30
  • Thursday: 2:30 – 5:30