Blogger Eva Mitnick

Family Science Programs

Library grants  – love ’em and need ’em!  But let’s face it, the process can be

LAPL librarians learn about balls, ramps and rollercoasters at the CA Science Center.
LAPL librarians learn about balls, ramps and rollercoasters at the CA Science Center.

time-consuming and exhausting, from applying to reporting.

How refreshing, then, to partner occasionally with other organizations that have received their own grants.  They do all the sweaty work of budgeting, planning and evaluating, while the library and our community reap the benefits.

The Los Angeles Public Library is getting a name around town as an eager and flexible partner and as a result, we’ve been having a blast working with museums and after-school organizations.

Here is one of the two STEM programs we’re currently offering, thanks to our partners:

The CA Science Center – Preschool Science Kits

Seven bursting-at-the-seams science kits, each on a different topic!  Seven library branches!  Seven all-day staff training workshops offered at the renowned CA Science Center (home of the Endeavour)!  And none of it is costing us a dime.

The CA Science Center’s grant required them to train preschool

"Most rocks sink, but some float!  Why?"  Central Library
“Most rocks sink, but some float! Why?” Central Library

teachers from four preschools in low-income areas – and to include one library system as well.  Our enthusiastic “yes!” reply went out minutes after we received the query email.

There are 6 themed kits:  I am a Scientist; Habitats; Balls, Ramps and Rollercoasters; Build It!; From Seed to Plant; and Insects.  A 7th kit is stuffed with technology from kid-friendly digital cameras to iPads to digital scales and microscopes.

From Seed to Plant kit

The kits are intended to teach preschoolers scientific concepts by engaging them in a variety of hands-on activities and experiments.  In staff workshops, we learn how to encourage preschoolers – and their parents – to use the scientific method (Observe! Predict! Check!) to investigate everything from rocks to plants to insects.

Age-appropriate handouts and worksheets allow children to draw observations and predictions, which parents can then label.  Kids and parents learn new words and concepts as they learn by playing and doing.  The accompanying books work well for science storytimes or for parents to share with their children.

We’re only half-way through the training workshops and so have

"How many teddy bears does this rock weigh?" Goldwyn Hollywood Branch
“How many teddy bears does this rock weigh?” Goldwyn Hollywood Branch

received only 4 of the 7 kits.  However, two branches have already begun to offer preschool science programs, with more programs planned for May and June.  After the 7 pilot branches are completely trained and have had a chance to try out the kits, they in turn will train the rest of our children’s librarians.

And then – we’ll apply for our own grant to purchase more kits for all our 72 branches and Central Library!  I’m already preparing my budget (argh).

Next month – Iridescent Learning and Family Science Courses.


  1. Pingback: Family Science Programs – part 2 | ALSC Blog

  2. L Thacker

    Our library district has themed literacy kits, but science kits is a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

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