ALA Annual 2018

STEAM-y Library Programs at #alac18

STEM babies and toddlers program
STEM babies and toddlers program

You can’t be a children’s librarian today without being inundated with STEAM, STEM, STREAM requests from your admins, patrons, councilmembers, educators, and children themselves. It has been a buzzword for the last 10 years or so… but what does that actually mean at your library?

I really liked this program because it talked about the theory and why of STEM and how we were already doing a lot of it and just additional framework for how we can think and talk about STEM as we develop programs and empower parents. As one presenter put it– we want parents to feel like they have achieved things and accomplished things!

And then beyond the framework– there was a chance to interact and play with materials and PRACTICE discussing STEM questioning with ourselves and colleagues in the room. I mention that because as one of the presenters mentioned– this takes practice, there is no automatic and quick answer for suddenly becoming an expert in STEM and the best ways to implement it with young children. Just like anything else, it is a practice we must try and sometimes fail at.

We also got to hear about some really cool STEM programming at Everett Public Library in Washington where staff has used grants to create STEM Playstations with drop-in programming for 90 mins of exploration! And Brooklyn Public Library with their STEAM recipes- 30-40 designed programs that are pre-developed and can be done at any branch– I loved their Baby Disco program (which was really about mirrors, reflection, light, and dark) and their sensory mat- where the presenter had me at “you have to become a bit of a hoarder to create this mat…” and gave me lots of ideas to recreate it for my own new sensory program!

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