For the last three years, Attleboro Public Library has been supporting local STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) efforts through programming, staff training and materials purchasing. The public library has great potential for STEM programming because it taps into children’s natural interests while also facilitating informational learning. The library has the capability to introduce families to a wide range of science concepts and show them how science is used in the “real world”.
Krystal Brown, the Attleboro Library Children’s Librarian, has been a member of the Attleboro Community STEM Team since its inception. She has presented at three STEM resource fairs and will make a STEM presentation at the Massachusetts Library Association’s annual meeting in the spring of 2014. She has worked with various organizations in the Attleboro community to bring STEM to families with a variety of programs. Mrs. Brown applied for and received one of the first STEM LSTA grants from the state of Massachusetts so that the APL could bring hands-on workshops for kids in grades 3-6 to the Library.
From January 2012-September 2013 eleven separate STEM related programs were held in the library. During that time period, 116 DIFFERENT people attended the STEM programs with a total attendance of 251. Since September 2013, four monthly Science Saturday programs have been held for children in preschool and kindergarten with a total of 56 children in attendance. A monthly LEGO club has been held at the APL for the last 2 ½ years and it is still going strong.
The APL would like to continue to stir excitement about STEM in the community. The hope continues to be that by bringing a variety of STEM based workshops and materials to the Attleboro community, more people will understand that STEM concepts are everywhere and are a part of our everyday lives. Generating interest in STEM concepts is a goal of the APL. There are many STEM career based opportunities, and it is important to show future generations how they can take something that they are interested in and connect it to a STEM field.