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It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Or an axle. Or a 24-tooth crown gear. Or all of them in one sitting.
That was the challenge we faced here at Mid-Continent Public Library as we planned to make LEGO WeDo kits available for programs at our 31 branches. How do you circulate 40 kits throughout the system without losing most of the pieces — and your mind?
In September 2016, our library learned that Laurens County would be in the path of totality for the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, and that a program from the Space Science Institute (SSI) and NASA was offering free eclipse glasses for libraries to distribute to their patrons. Our director thought it might be good to plan an event, especially since we have plenty of parking and a large lawn.
Science in St. Louis is an ongoing program series held at St. Louis County Library (SLCL). This program features local scientists and their research projects. While many of the topics discussed can be quite complex, the goal of this program is to present science in a fun and informal manner that encourages children and adults to become interested in science.
Since starting in 2015, there have been 16 programs with an average of 82 attendees per program. Topics have included Missouri’s Ozark dinosaurs, forensics at the St. Louis County Crime Lab, and 3D printing in medicine.
The Oceanside Library Science Café is a monthly series in which a scientist presents informally on a current science topic for approximately 10 minutes, followed by discussion and questions from patrons. We use the format created by NOVA, which focuses on presenting science topics in a relatable and engaging way, and in an informal setting. (We also serve coffee and really good cookies.) No PowerPoint or other formal presentation materials are used.
Art Lab is a recurring program focusing on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math), with a focus on art. It is held at 7 p.m. every Monday. The first and third Mondays of the month are planned lessons, and the second and fourth Mondays are open draw sessions for students to relax and meet other artists.
The information below focuses on the Art Lab lesson: Electric Painting, in which the students made an interactive sound device using paint.
This summer the Skokie Public Library offered a drop-in program entitled Meet at the Lodge every weekday for youth entering grades 3 through 5. Meet at the Lodge was timed to be in conjunction with the free summer lunch program we offer through the federally funded summer lunch program; our goal was to offer a convenient and free opportunity for kids to have a mini-camp experience from 12 to 2:30 p.m. every day (lunch lasted 60 minutes, Meet at the Lodge lasted 90).
The Telescope Lending Program is the result of a partnership between St. Louis County Library District (SLCL) and the St. Louis Astronomical Society (SLAS). The lending program makes 28 telescopes available for patrons to check out for one week; it is believed to be the largest telescope lending program at a single library district in the country. SLAS borrowed the concept from the New Hampshire Astronomical Society, which first introduced the lending model.
Those who know me know that I am quite the science fanatic. While I possess neither the technical skills nor the knowledge to actually pursue a career in science (I have the report cards to prove it), I do possess a deep-seated love and passion for scientific research and discovery in a variety of fields, including space, space travel and the search for potential life in outer space.