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As a child, I was very curious, annoying my family with my constant questions. In adulthood, that curiosity led me to librarianship. I am constantly trying to learn new things.
Libraries are key to expanding people’s curiosity, not just about the world, but about each other. For your library to truly be open to all, a place where everyone is welcome to learn about each other, you need to engage all segments of your community — not just those that you are intrinsically a part of.
Makerspaces foster creativity and encourage out-of-the-box thinking, but they often require physical space that a library doesn't have. But even if your library doesn't have a dedicated makerspace, you can still incorporate maker elements into your day. Our school library transforms our lunch period into maker time with STEAM activities such as our Mystery Maker Challenge.
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.
Girls in Engineering, Math and Science (GEMS) is a weekly STEM workshop series for teenage girls offered at five of our library system’s locations during the month of June. Participants get to meet influential women in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, learn about STEM opportunities and get hands-on experience with STEM technologies.
Each two-hour session consists of a presentation from a female professional in a STEM field, followed by a one-hour activity that explores and builds STEM skills among the participants.
Build a Better World with Magna-Tiles was one session of our STEAM and community engagement-focused summer reading program. This session used Magna-Tiles (clear plastic 2-D geometric shapes that are lined with magnets and can be combined to create 2- and 3-D designs) in a hands-on, student-led program.
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.