Understanding Government Information

A Teaching Strategy Toolkit for Grades 7–12

by Connie Hamner Williams


Discover a dynamic, youth-centric approach for finding, evaluating, and using government information in your classroom or library.

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Cover image for Understanding Government Information

October 2017

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 266
Volumes 1
Size 8 1/2x11
Grade 6-12
Topics Children's and Young Adult Services/Reference Tools, General
  Reference and Information Services and Tools/Government Information Reference Tools

This book demonstrates how government information can be used to engage students through inquiry and project-based activities, thereby providing opportunities for creative investigation and discovery.

Many government agencies and institutions provide educators with curricula, lesson plans, data, and direction—all of it free. But to access this largely hidden world of government information, one needs an understanding of how this government information is organized and knowledge about how to best utilize the finding aids, databases, and other search mechanisms to help guide effective research. This guidebook shows you how to locate high-quality, effective lesson plans developed by the nation's best educators, access reliable government data, and find curated lists of free government sources that are theme-based and reference national standards in social studies and health.

Understanding Government Information: A Teaching Strategy Toolkit for Grades 7–12 is ideal for middle school and high school librarians and teachers in all subject areas, public youth services librarians, as well as parents teaching their students in home school based programs. You'll learn how to access expert-developed lesson plans, documents, images, and other primary sources along with suggested activities. The book also includes a teacher toolkit that details strategies for lessons and student activities that can be used across the curriculum.


  • Supplies curated lists of free theme-based government sources
  • Provides examples of strategies and lesson plans recommended for using government documents, artifacts, images, and data
  • Includes highlighted lesson plans for use in secondary school curriculum as created by agency educators
  • Suggests unique and thought-provoking primary sources and activities that can be used to motivate, captivate, and inspire student engagement
  • Discusses the inquiry, research, and question-building processes as well as tips for web searching for government information using Google or other browsers
Author Info

Connie Hamner Williams was formerly a National Board Certified Teacher Librarian at Petaluma High School. She writes and blogs about libraries, primary sources, government information, and serendipity. She is past president of the California School Library Association, current cochair of ALA's Government Information for Children Committee, and a member of the California State Library Services Advisory Board.

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