STEAM Programs Foster Critical-Thinking, Creativity, and Problem-Solving
What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word “library”? A common first response is “books”, but libraries are so much more. Libraries are a place of exploration, so it is no surprise that STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) programs are in high demand.
Our library has been offering STEAM programs for almost a decade. (Some people might remember our award-winning Math Mites program.) But several years ago Judy Dobies (“Ms. Judy”) was hired as our first Youth Services STEAM Coordinator, and the programming blossomed into an ever-expanding catalog catering to children of all ages. From Preschool STEAM to Crazy 8s Math Club, from Family Science Nights to Science in the Summer — there is something for everyone.
Even as the library staff shifted from in-person to virtual programs and take-and-make kits throughout the last year, STEAM concepts continued to be a key focus. STEAM Challenges are some of our library’s most popular YouTube videos, from periscopes to cloud science and pollinators, Ms. Judy is always ready with new hands-on activities children can try at home. Meanwhile, take-and-make kits are self-contained kits featuring a variety of consumable activities and materials. The GLOW Party kits were particularly well-received, featuring glow playdough and glow bouncy ball science experiments as well as glow stick geometry. Take-and-make kits are usually available at the beginning of each month while supplies last.
This past June, Nature Explorers marked the Children’s Department’s enthusiastic return to in-person programming. The program, which lets preschoolers explore nature through their senses, met at Boy’s Home Park on 5 consecutive Mondays. “Even though we are starting off slow, it is especially rewarding anytime our families get to spend time with one another,” says Ms. Judy. The program, like the library’s other STEAM programs, was a big hit.