Have you seen all the amazing photos and articles about the Discovery Center in Queens, NY? It’s a library that is all science, all the time. Amazing! The folks from the Queens Children’s Library Discovery Center gave a program at ALA emphasizing that no matter what your space and budgetary constraints, you can mix science into your library. A few ideas from the well-attended session:
- Connect hands-on science stations or science activity sheets in the branch with the Dewey stacks. For example, next to a butterfly activity, have a sign leading to the 595s. Similarly, have a sign by the butterfly books suggesting children do the activity.
- Focus on doing science with children, as opposed to instructing them. It’s not school! Be hands-on.
- Reinforce skills associated with science: observation, measuring, estimation, etc. Activity examples include having kids track the development of a growing plant over the summer or having them estimate the number of books on a display.
- Get teens to help–children are excited by young people who enthusiastically share science with them.
- Need ideas for programs? Look to educational standards for age-appropriate topics and the internet for hands-on activities.
My library has an airplane science program coming up later this summer, and in the meantime I intend to think of informal ways to add science activities in the branch. Right now I’m thinking of science signage in the nonfiction stacks and take-home science activities (instead of just take-home crafts).
What are some of your successes and/or ideas for science at the library?
I am the Children’s Librarian at the Corporate Parkway Branch of the St. Charles City-County Library District in Missouri. I am active in ALSC, and I blog as the Show Me Librarian at http://showmelibrarian.blogspot.com/.