LOC Collections

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
LOC Collections App Poster Image
Full Library of Congress literally in the palm of your hand.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Rich resource of primary source materials. Kids may need some guidance in how to navigate the massive collection.

Ease of Play

Browse and search functions are user-friendly, and kids can mark favorites for easy retrieval.


Historical photos and other depictions of war, dead bodies, and torture.


Pretty much everything under the sun is here, including some images of nudes and articles about sex.


Materials span centuries and include profanity, including the "F" word, and racially-charged depictions, including words currently considered derogatory like the "N" word.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some images include smoking, drinking, and drug use.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that LOC Collections is the entirety of digital materials in the Library of Congress, made browsable and searchable in an app. The collection is also available online. Links to the items can be shared via email, text, or other social media on the device, taking the recipient to the item on the Library of Congress website. The app is rated for 12 and up in the app store due to some collections containing mature content, including profanity, nudity, and outdated stereotypes and practices, and the "N" word. Because these are primary source documents presented without commentary or context, it's a good idea to guide a younger teen's experience if they're lookng up sensitive topics. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

In LOC COLLECTIONS kids can access the millions of items available in the Library of Congress digital collections through LOC Collections which includes photos, maps, books, films, music, papers, and manuscripts. They can search by keyword or browse by collection. Collections include historical artifacts, like presidential papers; letters and diaries of iconic figures like Susan B. Anthony and Rosa Parks; and more recent materials like speakers from the National Book Festival for Kids & Teens; and special interest materials like baseball cards. Kids can share items, including a link to the collection, via text, email, or other social media.

Is it any good?

Extensive digital collection of materials -- from handwritten letters and published newspapers to music and art and films across genres -- is a gold mine of information. Kids can browse or search special interests or assigned topics and discover culture and history in primary source documents. Most documents are clear and kids can zoom in to see details. Videos are a mixed bag of production quality. Parental suggestions may help kids find the most interesting content -- like a collection of videos from Captain Underpants author/illustrator Dav Pilkey showing how to draw comics. Since mature and potentially upsetting images and language are readily available, an adult should provide some context and discussion, especially for younger teens. The Library of Congress website is more approachable for families because it has suggested activities and this-day-in-history features that would make great additions to the app.



Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about their special interests (baseball cards, jazz music, etc.) and browse related collections with LOC Collections.

  • Discuss media and history textbook bias with kids and why access to primary source documents is important.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love history and reference apps

Themes & Topics

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