What is STEM and What Does It Have To Do With The Library?

I am sure many of you are hearing about STEM but you might not know what it is. As part of the “Educate to Innovate” initiative put in place during 2009 under President Barack Obama, STEM education is dedicated to providing students “with the skills they need to excel in the high-paid, highly-rewarding fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).”  (“Educate To Innovate”, 2013).

Over the past forty years, the United States has seen a huge decline in the number of degrees pursued in STEM fields. The number of doctoral degrees once awarded to U.S. Citizens in STEM fields was 84% in 1966. In 2004 that number was only 59% (YALSA, 2013).

The hope of educators is that by providing these types of course, students will have an increased interest in these topics. Wanting to take classes and learn more about these subjects rather than just having to take them. By linking and joining together in-school and out-of-school learning, the expectation is that more and more students will become interested in these fields and enjoy learning more about them, and that is where the library comes in. More information can be found on the California Department of Education website here.

Public Libraries across the country are places where the community gathers, either for a specific need such as books or for the programs the library provides. Libraries are already half way there when it comes to helping and nourishing this initiative. Our shelves are filled with books on all these topics and we provide access to several databases where an endless amount of information is within reach. The question is now, how do we spark that interest? Well, fun and engaging programs that support and demonstrate STEM ideas is how!

Beginning this fall, the children’s department of the Santa Clarita Public Library system will be providing lots of programming for children with an emphasis on STEM. Some of these programs include: Diggin’ for Dinosaurs, Paleontology Workshop of Tweens, LEGO build days, and Marshmallow Engineering just to name a few. Please check out our events calendar here for more fun programming!

 

“Educate to Innovate.” The White House. The White House, n.d. Web. 20 Aug. 2014.

“Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics.” – Science (CA Dept of Education). N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Aug. 2014.

YALSA STEM Resources Taskforce. “STEM Programming Guide.”
Young Adult Library Services Association. March 1, 2013. Young Adult Library Services Association, Web.


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