STEM Programming at Your Library, No Excuses!
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Posted by: Melanie Blau McDonald
In today’s American Libraries Direct, Meredith Farkas puts some important pieces together for those of us who wonder why and how we’re going to incorporate ‘making’ into library programming. She points out that the U.S. is behind in all sorts of international comparisons relating to math and science educational results. She mentions that women and minorities in the U.S. are underrepresented in STEM-related fields. She shares that the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) support programming in this area because they know how behind we are. And you could add to the list that the IMLS has gone so far as to create an industry specific version of the Framework for 21st Century Learning. The ‘why’ seems both obvious and compelling.
But then Ms. Farkas gets to what I think is our real stumbling block. The ‘How.’ If you have a limited amount of time, it is difficult to develop a program that will fit your schedule and the age group you’re trying to reach. What’s new is that there are more and more websites featuring library-appropriate programming incorporating all kinds of STEM-related topics. Many feature household items but promise a lot of fun. Take Simply STEM’s “Family MESS” (Math, Engineering, and Science Sundays) by Leah Kloc. Even the title makes me smile. Make it @ your library is another site loaded with library-ready STEM and STEAM programming ideas for all ages. What girl wouldn’t want to make an electric light hula hoop?
Ms. Farkas lists many more references, websites and suggestions and we all know about Pinterest right? There are really too many ideas on the STEM and Engineering for Children Pinterest board, but hey, that’s part of the fun of Pinterest. Why not look at the site with your kids? Why not let them pick the next activity?
Finally, if you’re in our region, you can borrow technology from us and even have us come out and put on a program with you. Our tech-to-lend keeps growing and Nathan is ready to hit the road with our technology, or a program chosen by your kids (or you)!
Folks, the maker movement is far enough along that there are hundreds of programming ideas available to us; they’ve been cut down to size and will work in our libraries. I mean, if they’re having a maker faire on Capitol Hill, the idea cannot be that revolutionary.
Looking for hands-on help? Contact Nathan@swonlibraries.