Fourteen state library agencies were selected to receive resources, training and support through NASA@ My Library, a STEM education initiative that will increase and enhance STEM learning opportunities for library patrons throughout the nation. They include Alaska, Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Montana, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia. They will be active throughout 2019 and provide support for the summer learning event called “Universe of Stories.” These 14 state library agencies will join Michigan, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Washington who were the original sites who helped pilot the project during 2018.
NASA@ My Library is funded by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD). Visit https://science.nasa.gov/learners to learn more about NASA@ My Library and the 26 other cooperative agreements SMD selected via a national competition to engage the public in space and earth science. Key partners for NASA@ My Library include the Space Science Institute and its National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL), the American Library Association, Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, Cornerstones of Science, Lunar and Planetary Institute, and other organizations.
NASA@ My Library aims to engage diverse communities in STEM learning, including communities that are underrepresented in STEM fields. The educational support materials and outreach opportunities provided are part of the STAR Library Network (STAR Net), a hands-on learning program for libraries and their communities (www.starnetlibraries.org). “The NASA@ My Library program advances public libraries as community centers and critical hubs for lifelong learning,” said Project Director Paul Dusenbery (Director of NCIL and STAR Net). “It also helps fill a gap in STEM education and engagement in rural and other underserved areas by increasing opportunities for hands-on experiences for learners of all ages.”
Sharon Morris, Interim Assistant Commissioner, Director of the Colorado State Library, said, “I am thrilled that we can join with NASA in bringing hands-on informal science education materials to library patrons throughout our state.” Over the next 12-months this grant will support the Colorado State Library in the following ways:
- Professional development –Staff will participate in periodic webinars and monthly calls and will offer advice, share insights, best practices, and lessons learned from participating in the NASA@ My Library initiative with library staff across Colorado. Staff will increase their interest in, knowledge about, and confidence in promoting earth and space science programming.
- Enrich library experiences – Staff will engage space science expert volunteers in public library programming through NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors and Night Sky Network; and
- Hands-on Activities – Staff will promote and circulate multiple copies of two different NASA@ My Library earth and space science kits to Colorado’s public libraries. These are designed for people of all ages with a focus on underserved STEM communities.
The Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL) (www.nc4il.spacescience.org) is dedicated to developing and implementing projects and initiatives that improve formal and informal STEM education and the evaluation/research foundation on which they are based. NCIL works with national partners to develop STEM exhibitions for public libraries, science centers, and museums; conducts professional development for informal educators; and creates educational games and apps that can be deployed on websites, mobile devices (e.g. smartphones and tablets) and multi-touch tables and kiosks. NASA@ My Library is an initiative of the STAR Library Network (STAR Net), a hands-on learning network for libraries and their communities across the country (www.starnetlibraries.org). STAR Net focuses on helping library professionals build their STEM skills by providing “science-technology activities and resources” (STAR) and training to use those resources. Over 8,000 library and STEM professionals have joined STAR Net to access its STEM Activity Clearinghouse, blogs, webinars, workshops and meet-ups at library conferences, partnership opportunities, information about upcoming national STEM events, and the STAR Net online newsletter. Partners include the Afterschool Alliance, American Library Association’s Public Programs Office, American Society of Civil Engineers, Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, Cornerstones of Science, Education Development Center, Lunar and Planetary Institute, and many others.
NASA@ My Library is based upon work funded by NASA under cooperative agreement No. NNX16AE30A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the NASA@ My Library initiative and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.