Auraria Library is closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 health emergency. For information and updates please visit Auraria Library COVID-19 Information page.

Close Menu

History Flashpoints: Primary sources enrich and inform your classwork and research!

A Nobel Prize acceptance speech? News reports on rescued kittens? Your birth certificate? A photo of a victim of violence? All primary sources.

Primary sources provide first-hand accounts or information on a topic or event. They were created by someone present during an experience or living in the time period of an occurrence. These sources offer an insider’s view. A primary source could have been created an hour ago in a research lab, or on 9/11 as the towers collapsed.

Primary sources also include recollections of an event by an event participant. They can be writings, media, images, documented experiments, unfolding news events, presentations, speeches, data, physical items, fiction, and performances.

The Library has a ton of these fascinating items in its online collections, books, articles, and videos. You’ll also find them through Web searching, in libraries, museums, special collections, and in places like your basement!

Below are sample primary source titles and collections from Auraria Library and the Web. See the Primary Sources research guide for more strategies.

The Monthly Featured Resources of September Contributors: Ellen Metter, Sasha Castillo, and Indiana Mezta.

Ask Us Chat

Use this chat box to ask a librarian for research help. We’re available 24/7!


Text us your questions to 720-438-4446. We’ll answer from 9 am to 6 pm during the week and reply to after hours questions the next morning. (Your provider rates will apply.)


  • Visit the Ask Us Desk
    Stop by the Ask Us Desk for help. The Ask Us Service Desk is located on the first floor of the Library.

  • Research Tutoring
    Research tutoring is for quick questions, tips, and strategies on finding and evaluating information resources.  Research Tutoring is located in the Knowledge Market on the first floor and is available Monday–Thursday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. 

  • Research Consultations
    Research consultations are for in-depth and lengthy discussions about research questions. Please use Schedule a Research Consultation Form to request an appointment.  Due to the level of preparation needed, appointments should be made 48 hours in advance. If you need immediate help, please use Research Tutoring.  


For general library information, as well as for questions about borrowing, renewing, or returning library materials, call 303-315-7763.

For research help, call 303-315-7711, Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. If there is no answer, please leave a message and someone will return your call within 24 hours (Monday – Friday).

  • Friendly Man with a checklist

    Let's get started with using the library tools!

    Take a quick tour to learn about the research tools on this page.