Guest Blogger

Taking the leap from STEM to STEAM

Photo by Stephanie Blackwell of Glen Ellyn Public Library
Photo by Stephanie Blackwell of Glen Ellyn Public Library

I personally am happy to see the “A” added to STEM. Art should be regarded equally with other academic subjects. Fine arts promote visual learning which can be more effective than traditional methods with some students. It can help develop motor skills and language learning as well as creative thinking. Music can increase comprehension with mathematics and improve your memory.

Many STEAM topics can be suited for any age, since they are based on interest rather than ability. Family programming is a safe investment. Children can learn by example from their parents. Families can bond and enjoy activities together, possibly discovering a new group hobby. The program may spark subjects in conversations, or even inspire a teen with a career goal. Adding art to the mix enhances your programming and allows more collaborative projects within the family. Art can be combined with other letters too. Glass blowing can focus on the science of melted glass as well as the piece of art created. Mixing paint to get different colors can highlight fractions and ratios.

There are a multitude of workshops available for librarians offering tips and tricks for STEAM themed programming, but you must know what will work for you, your library, and your community. Be sure to include other local organizations. Utilize an already established partnership, or use this motivation to make a new connection. Look at each local business and think of their duties in regards to STEAM. Assign each organization a letter based on the activity you think of, and how this can be translated into a hands-on or instructional program for your community. This practice will help you think outside of the box for activities and the variety of your programming. Of course, you can offer related book selections to your program’s attendees.

STEAM themed programming will undoubtedly breathe new life into your library. As STEAM is such a popular topic, you are showing the community that you can stay current. Bringing more variety brings more people – more relationships within your area, as well as more library users. Remind the community that your library is a beacon for inspiration and knowledge beyond just what’s inside a book.


ChristinaOur guest blogger today is Christina Keasler. Christina is the Middle School Librarian at Glen Ellyn Public Library in Glen Ellyn, IL.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at

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