Public libraries serve as repositories for a movement described as cultivation of the Library of Things. In the wake of COVID-19, the West Lafayette Public Library enhanced its existing Library of Things collection through the creation of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) kits. Since 2017, the West Lafayette Public Library has held regular free STEAM programs for the community; those programs were put on hold during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which concurred with a library renovation. These kits provide the community with the ability to learn STEAM concepts at home engaging, hands-on activities that may otherwise be cost-prohibitive. Through this program, the West Lafayette Public Library facilitates accessible STEAM education activities for those of all ages without direct librarian supervision. Since the library’s reopening, the program has only expanded.
Generally, feedback on the program has been positive; however, more diverse offerings as well as robust advertising may be necessary for wider community impact. The STEAM kits were made with the assistance of student employees and volunteers whose expertise was essential to the success of the program. Likewise, the program was significantly strengthened by community partnerships with local organizations that shared similar goals. The purpose of this essay is to inform other education professionals about the process required to facilitate a STEAM kit program as well as the successes and difficulties the authors faced along the way.
Fauber, Daphne and Fletcher, Ashley
"Library STEAM Kits: Developing Circulatable Curriculum for Community STEAM Learning,"
Purdue Journal of Service-Learning and International Engagement: Vol. 10
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/pjsl/vol10/iss1/13
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