STAR_Net Explore Traveling Exhibitions


Note: The deadline for the Explore exhibits has passed. View current grant opportunities.

The ALA Public Programs Office, in collaboration with the Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning, the Lunar and Planetary Institute and the Afterschool Alliance, invites public libraries to apply to host one of three science- and technology-focused traveling exhibitions.

The exhibitions — which are ideal for small libraries, requiring only 200 square feet of display space — are designed to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning opportunities for all ages.

Applicants may apply for one of the following exhibitions:

  • Explore Earth: Our Changing Planet will focus on local earth science topics — such as weather, the water cycle and ecosystem changes — as well as a global view of our changing planet. The primary message of the exhibition is that the global environment changes — and is changed by — the local environment of all host communities.
  • Explore Space: Our Solar System and Beyond helps visitors answer the age-old questions: Where did we come from, and are we alone? The exhibition will teach audiences about our universe, including how stars and planetary systems form and the role that gravity plays in our universe.
  • Explore Tech: Engineers Make a World of Difference shows how engineering provides solutions to better meet human needs and develops sustainable innovations for the future. It features hands-on and multimedia components that allow exhibit visitors to interact with content in a dynamic way, encouraging new perspectives about engineers and their vital work.  

Full guidelines and an online application are available at The application deadline is Oct. 8, 2015. Each exhibition will travel to 13 or 14 public libraries from 2016 to 2018.

All grantees will receive:

  • one exhibition for an eight-week display period; shipping is free for grantees;
  • a cash grant of $1,000 to cover the cost of public programming related to the exhibition;
  • a publicity kit and media resources for a STEM @ My Library public engagement campaign;
  • an orientation webinar that will include information about content and science themes, a presentation and demonstration of hands-on science activities by the Lunar and Planetary Institute, and presentations and interactive discussions about programming resources;
  • periodic webinars on timely STEM topics to support programming in libraries;
  • an Explore teacher guide, family guide and hands-on activities for different age groups to help libraries develop programs and support classroom visits; and
  • access to the STAR_Net Online Community and a national network of STEM-oriented organizations.

Grantees will be required to plan public programs related to the exhibition and to participate in the STAR_Net Online Community throughout the exhibition period.

The Explore exhibitions are made possible through the support of the National Science Foundation. The exhibition and its educational support materials and outreach opportunities are part of the STAR (Science-Technology Activities and Resources) Library Education Network (STAR_Net), a hands-on learning program for libraries and their communities developed by the National Center for Interactive Learning at the Space Science Institute. For more information, visit