In this week’s guest post, Margaret Daley Leanne Good of Lincoln P.L.tellu s how they have introduced Science, Technology, Engineering and Math programming at their library!
At the Lincoln Public Library, we have been hearing a lot about STEM this past year. I had a parent ask me, “What is this STEM”? I explained that it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. “You work in a library and you are offering these types of programs; I am impressed” was the parent’s response.
Leanne Good, Children’s Services Coordinator, started Lincoln Public Library’s journey into STEM programming with Squishy Circuits. Leanne also created a STEM Challenge for our Saturday Fun programs. This is a passive program that runs one Saturday a month and incorporates all aspects of STEM. So far there have been engineering challenges with clothespins, binder clips and craft sticks, and projects with mini catapults, tinker toys, pattern blocks, parachutes, paper bridges and kaleidoscopes.
STEM has been a definite learning curve. One of the programs I was interested in offering was coding. I had never taken coding before so I took a webinar about Hour of Code, Coding for Girls and Google CS First. I also read a few books on How to Code. The first coding session was offered at our weekly tween program called The Hangout. I signed up with Google CS First. I had moderate success. Some of the participants had coded before at school and this course was for beginners. I decided to discontinue coding during The Hangout and planned to have a separate program just dedicated to coding. I launched this during March Break. We offered Hour of Code and beginner’s Scratch. I had a participant evaluation form and one of the questions was: “Would you like to see a weekly program or club?” Everyone’s evaluation came back with a resounding yes.
This summer, we will be offering Coding Clubs as well as other STEM programs such as Makey Makey, Ozobots, wiggle bots and more. The Lincoln Public Library is catching the STEM wave and answering a need in our community.