Saturday, January 28, 2023

S-T-E-M is a Four-Letter Word! -Part 3, Program Ideas


Image by brgfx on Freepik

In Part 1 of this series I cautioned against the over-emphasis of Technology, particularly coding, and advocated for the value and importance of basic Science, Math, and Engineering in STEM programming. In Part 2, I gave some general tips and things to consider, ways to incorporate STEM elements in other programming, a few resources for ideas, and a brief discussion of STEM vs. STEAM vs. STREAM. 

To further encourage thinking and programming more broadly across the STEM fields, I'm going to throw out some program ideas and suggestions for each category,

Monday, January 23, 2023

S-T-E-M is a Four-Letter Word! - Part 2, Tips & Resources


Library STEM programming
Image by brgfx on Freepik

In Part 1 of this series I cautioned against the recent prioritization of the "T" in STEM, and in particular the extreme focus on coding I've observed in the last few years, which seems to imply that everyone must learn coding to be successful or that coding knowledge guarantees success; neither of which is true. I advocate for a more well-rounded approach, exposing kids to all areas of STEM. I'd like to follow-up with some general considerations when doing STEM activities, ways to incorporate STEM elements into other programs, a brief discussion of STEM vs. STEAM, and a few resources.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

S-T-E-M is a Four-Letter Word! - Part 1

Image by brgfx on Freepik

Depending on how much of this blog you have read, you might know that librarianship is a second career for me and that my first was in scientific research. Science was my first love, so I got my undergraduate degree in biology, with minors in chemistry and education, followed by a masters degree in microbiology. I worked several years in research, then was a stay-at-home-mom before finally ending up in libraries, where I love being able to use my science and education background in STEM programming and incorporating factual information in storytime.

Now, let's pause for a minute - What is the first thing you think of when you hear the words "STEM programming"? I'm guessing you're probably thinking of computers, coding, robotics, and electronics. Did you think of gingerbread houses, bread baking, or shopping for groceries? Probably not. Let's back up for a minute and examine what "STEM" really means.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

End of the Year Reflection & Setting Goals for 2023


Thankfully 2022 did not bring big changes as 2020 and 2021 had, but it was still a very challenging year. I had just started a new position as the YS manager at a small-medium sized, somewhat rural library, where I basically had to start over and re-build everything from scratch. Nothing was in place, and my predecessor had left me absolutely no information. I quickly realized that the collection had been *severely* neglected, there had been little to no programming for elementary aged kids, the department was very sterile, cold, and unwelcoming; families were not using the library at all, and I certainly had my work cut out for me.

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Favorite Reads - 2022


So even though I don't get to read as much as I'd like or feel like I should, I still thought it would be fun to put together a quick list of some of my favorite reads of this year. Just keep in mind that these are just my personal favorites from a relatively small selection, I'm not by any means suggesting these are necessarily the best of the best. Most of these came out in the last year or two, but there may be a couple of older titles in the mix.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Mini 'Gingerbread' House STEAM Program - 2022


Mini gingerbread houses, graham cracker houses

Back in 2019 I had the opportunity to do something I'd always wanted to do - a mini 'gingerbread' house program inspired by the graham cracker 'gingerbread' houses I used to make with my daughter. I eschewed what apparently has become common practice of pre-assembling the houses or using cartons/boxes to build them on in favor of an open-ended STEAM approach, allowing kids to fully express their creativity and empowering them to use their engineering and problem-solving skills. It turned out to be a huge success, and I was really looking forward to making it an annual program.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Dinovember 2022!



I finally had the chance to do Dinovember again! I had the opportunity first way back in 2018, and it was a huge success and a whole lot of fun (to see what I did then, go to my "Dinovember Reflection" post). Even though it was very successful, I wasn't able to repeat it until now due to not having a good social media partner, job changes, relocating, etc. This time, marketing youth services and materials is part of my job, and I am able to post to social media myself, so did not have to rely on convincing and coordinating with someone else to get the events publicized and get the stage photos posted, with the captions that I wanted.

For those who may be new to "Dinovember",

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Boo Bash & Spooky Stories Halloween Programs

I'm finally getting around writing up my Halloween programs from last month! I have been super busy and super exhausted for the last two months, and feeling rather uninspired. But, here they are, finally.

The programming survey I conducted at the end of the summer indicated that people really wanted more holiday and seasonal special programs, so I planned a "Boo Bash" for the 5 & under crowd. My co-worker was also doing a Halloween program for the teens and tweens, so I decided to add a "Spooky Stories" program for the elementary kids, so there would be something for every age.