Not Just for Kids: STEM Programs Your Adult Patrons Will Love

Looking to add adult STEM programs to your offerings but aren't sure where to start? Join librarians from Princeton (N.J) Public Library and Phelps (N.Y) Community Memorial Library for tips on creating STEM programming adults are sure to love.

1 hour

Phelps (N.Y.) Community Memorial Library, a rural library with a small annual budget, creatively designed and integrated an 800-square-foot community space dedicated to education and inspiration. In this space, the library features adult STEAM programming that is almost exclusively community-driven in both topic and teaching. Library Manager Leah Hamilton will discuss what makes their programs successful, how unexpected challenges helped the makerspace grow, and the importance of collaborating with local organizations. Hamilton will also share how to recruit talented community volunteers to teach programs, ideas for instilling the maker philosophy with passive programming and the one type of promotion that works every time.

In spring 2016, Princeton (N.J.) Public Library introduced its broadly themed History of Science program series, featuring public lectures with local notables, two book discussions with Princeton University faculty and a recommended readings list. The highlight of the series was a conversation featuring world-renowned physicist Freeman Dyson. Public historian Hannah Schmidl and Public Programming Librarian Janie Hermann will share how they drew on their rich scholarly community to construct an engaging and well-attended series and offer advice on how this can be adapted to any community.

Leah Hamilton headshot

Leah Hamilton has a passion for making and an inability to keep quiet about the benefits of makerspaces. In 2013, as library manager in the small New York town of Phelps, she facilitated the creation of the STEAM Lab Makerspace, an 800-square-foot community space dedicated to making. Hamilton wholeheartedly believes in community building, collaboration and being courageous with library programming. She can be reached on Facebook here or by email here.



Hannah Schmidl headshot

Hannah Schmidl is a public historian committed to connecting the public to meaningful humanities content. She currently works at Princeton (N.J.) Public Library as the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, where she plans public programs, helps with collections development, coordinates an annual high school fellowship and acts as the library’s liaison to various community groups. Previously, she worked in programs and grants at Arizona Humanities, the state’s affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.



Janie Hermann headshot

Janie Hermann is a public programming librarian at the Princeton Public Library, where she oversees the 2,000-plus public programs put together by the amazing team she considers privileged to work with. Prior to this role, she was the technology training librarian at PPL, an academic librarian in upstate New York and a middle school teacher. She currently co-chairs ALA's Programming Librarian Interest Group, was named a Mover & Shaker by Library Journal in 2007 and is a frequent speaker at conferences on the local, state and national level.