STEM at the ALA Annual Conference

Editor’s Note: June is all about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) here at Programming Librarian, and we’re kicking things off with a comprehensive list of STEM-related programming at the 2013 ALA Annual Conference. Just click on each link to find our more and add the event to your scheduler. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, June 29

Affiliate Event: Learning Labs Ignited!
8:30–10 a.m.
Hilton Chicago, Williford B

Join us for a lively session of Ignite Talks by teams from the across the country representing the Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums projects, funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Institute for Museum and Library Services. Teams will give updates on their projects as they plan, design and pilot new interest-driven learning activities and spaces for teens inspired by YOUmedia at the Chicago Public Library. Teams will highlight diverse approaches to collaboration, teen engagement, space design, new staffing models, evaluation and outcomes, and funding strategies

Poster Session: Blossoming the STEM: Libraries Working as STEM Education Partners
10:30 a.m.–noon
McCormick Place Convention Center, Hall A, Exhibit Floor

Library faculty at the University of Memphis have recently become very involved in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. To acquaint ALA attendees of ways the library can partner in this field, the poster will first define STEM and list its areas of academic study, federal agencies, and corporate supporters. A second column will list ways that public, school, and academic libraries have successively collaborated throughout the country based on library literature.

Poster Sesssion: From Seeds to the Stars: Three STEM Storytimes
12:30–2 p.m.
McCormick Place Convention Center, Hall A, Exhibit Floor

This poster will show three storytime experiences with embedded STEM (science, engineering technology, and math) concepts and learning goals. A cohesive storytime plan will show children’s librarians what books and stories to pair with songs and rhythm games to present engaging and innovative science storytimes. Examples from high-quality, nonfiction picture books will be presented alongside rhymes, finger plays, and innovative, open-ended questions that expose young children to science concepts and help children’s librarians build STEM concepts into story programs. In addition to the sample illustrations, there will be photographs of these programs in action and an evaluation checklist librarians can use to embed STEM concepts into existing programs. 

Program: Humanities in the Digital Era: Mashing Up Public Programs with MOOCS, Media, and More
1–2:30p.m.
McCormick Place Convention Center, E350

Think the Humanities are dead? Think again. Organizations such as the Library as Incubator Project and That Camp are mixing technology, art, and performance with the hero’s journey, attracting new audiences and elevating classical literature to the peak of social status. Hear from Princeton Public Library about how they are using their NEH challenge grant to make the humanities come alive through Sonnet Slams and Revolutionary Readings, and discover how you can reintroduce the humanities to a generation hungry for their timeless message.

Program: What’s Hot in STEAM Education: How Using ECRR2 Supports Literacy, Common Core and School Success
1–2:30 p.m.
McCormick Place Convention Center, S501B–D

What is the latest research on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math)? What is the early learning relevance and what are the common core connections? How does Every Child Ready to Read fit in to this picture? Dr. Judy Cheatham, VP of Literacy Services for Reading is Fundamental will discuss these issues and a panel of librarians will share their real experiences with STEAM and ECRR’s curriculum. (I could not find out what ECRR stands for).

Conversation Starter: Idaho Maker Spaces—Engaging Teens with STEM
1:30–2:15 p.m.
McCormick Place Convention Center, S102D

Thought about starting a Maker Space in your library? Idaho has joined the Maker Movement by launching Maker Spaces in five public libraries across the state. The State Library has implemented a pilot project that includes training on tools and technology, leveraging partnerships, involving community, and evaluating outcomes. The results include formal and stealth programming that incorporate engineering, robotics, and other STEM topics to draw teens into these innovative spaces! Come hear what Idaho is doing, what we are learning, and what’s next. There will be time for discussion, questions, and sharing. The pilot project is initially focusing on engaging teens through Maker Spaces, but our goal is that these spaces will be available to the entire community.

Poster Session: Connected Kids: Technology Programs to Inspire Creative Exploration
2:30–4 p.m.
McCormick Place Convention Center, Hall A, Exhibit Floor

Learn how technology serves as an important tool to generate new programs that enable children to share stories and create media while in an informal learning environment. These programs give children the opportunity to explore their interests, allowing them to have fun and freely experiment without the boundaries of an assignment. Programs range in complexity from simple—light painting and animated storytelling—to more complex—Scratch and Mindstorms. The success of a program is evident through the registration statistics and patron feedback. Additionally, the paintings, movies, and stories created are all posted on the Barrington Area Library “tech” blog. The participants’ willingness to visit the blog after the program can be quantified through web analytics, thus measuring, in part, the emotional investment and pride they feel for their finished product. Through demonstration and examples, librarians from the Barrington Area Library will share the ideas and techniques that have made their programs successful.

Poster Session: Tween Super-Users: Lessons for Online Programs in the Library
2:30–4 p.m.
McCormick Place Convention Center, Hall A, Exhibit Floor

Why do some tweens become prolific users of online communities while others opt out? Using the data from the Sci-Dentity program, Developing STEM Identities Through Sci-Fi Storytelling and Online Peer Networks, qualities of high-contributing tweens (super-users) are compared to their less involved peers to determine if there are best practices in online communities that could be replicated in other contexts to encourage increased participation from all users. Sci-Dentity is a three-year research project of the School at the University of Maryland College Park, funded by the National Science Foundation. In Sci-Dentity, tweens from middle schools in an urban, Mid-Atlantic school system attend afterschool science-fiction writing sessions designed to engage and assess their interest in science technology, engineering, and math. Participants are part of a private online community where they share their writing, videos, images and other artifacts, and are actively encouraged as co-designers to suggest changes to both the site and program content.

Program: Creating Game-Based Makerspaces
3–4 p.m.
McCormick Place Convention Center, S106A

Interested in turning game players into creators? The GameRT will provide you with some great program ideas for libraries to use to help game-loving patrons tap into their creative side. Host Scott Nicholson, from the Because Play Matters game lab at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies, will lead a panel of experts focused on different ways of blending games and play with the power of creation and makerspaces.

Program: Beyond Crafts: Digital Literacy and New Media Programs for Students
4:30–6 p.m.
McCormick Place Convention Center, S105D

It is important that youth services librarians include new media programs on their calendars next to traditional arts and crafts. This presentation is designed to give them knowledge of twenty-first-century skills and resources as they relate to digital literacy. Projects discussed will include light animation, robotics, sand animation, claymation, and digital photography, among others. Sample budgets and hands on lessons will be included.

Sunday, June 30

Program: Creating Out-of-This-World Children’s Science Programming with NASA Materials
8:30–10 a.m.
McCormick Place Convention Center, S106A

Undertake library tested hands-on science activities and receive NASA space science resources, all developed specifically to enable you to easily infuse them into your programs with children ages eight to thirteen and their families. Hear how the Explore: Life on Mars? module of activities and resources is being used in library programming to transform inexpensive materials—such as craft materials, Play-Doh, and re-purposed soda bottles—into windows to another world!

Ignite Session: STEM: Save the Library, Save the World
11:30 a.m.–noon
McCormick Place Convention Center, S102D

Is STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teaching and programming really the mission of a public library? Absolutely, and it just might save libraries, communities and the world. This Ignite session shows how libraries can absolutely fulfill their mission by teaching and programming science.

Poster Session: Partnering with Your Community: DIY Steps to Construct a Successful STEM Curriculum Center
12:30–2 p.m.
McCormick Place Convention Center, Hall A, Exhibit Floor

Less than 300 academic curriculum centers remain nationally. Of those remaining, many still struggle to remain relevant to their parent institutions and area communities. Teaching faculty from the Biology Department and Murphy Library at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UW-L), have collaborated since 2003 to revitalize the PK–12 Alice Hagar Curriculum Resource Center (AHCRC); specifically in the area of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Poster Session: Explore: Fun with Science in the Library
12:30–2 p.m.
McCormick Place Convention Center, Hall A, Exhibit Floor

The Lunar and Planetary Institute’s Explore program invites librarians to open doors to the universe to children—no prior experience in science is required! For each of eleven different Earth and space science topics, Explore provides step-by-step instructions for a selection of hands-on activities, as well as facilitator background information, correlating National Science Education Standards, and lists of related books, websites, handouts, and other resources. All materials can be accessed online for free. The activities are featured in periodic in-person and online trainings for library professionals.

Program: Get STEM Connected: Bring Free Education Resources into Your Library Programming
1–2:30 p.m.
McCormick Place Convention Center, S106A

Many libraries want to introduce STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) into their programming to attract new audiences and help stimulate patrons’ interest in science and technology. Representatives from established STEM learning initiatives, including the STAR Library Education Network (STAR_Net), NASA, and other organizations, will offer a variety of tested STEM resources and opportunities libraries can use. Learn new ways to engage in STEM on a national and local level through exhibits, activities, information networks, and collaborations. Join the STAR_Net Community of Practice aimed at creating innovative STEM programs in public libraries across the country. Speaker: Amy Hirotaka, National Girls Collaborative Project; Keliann LaConte, Informal Education Lead, Lunar and Planetary Institute Lisa Curtis, Space Science Institute Paul Dusenbery, Space Science Institute Stephanie Shipp, Manager, Lunar and Planetary Institute; and Susan Brandehoff, American Library Association

Poster Session: 3D Printing: A New Dimension in Service
2:30–4 p.m.
McCormick Place Convention Center, Hall A, Exhibit Floor

3D printing is a technology that brings three-dimensional computer models to life as a tangible physical object. Recent reductions in the cost of this technology have made it a hot topic for DIYers and the “maker movement.” In an academic library, it is apparent that disciplines as wide-ranging as Art & Design, Business, Engineering, and many more can make use of this technology as a tool for creation, prototyping, modeling, and other activities and research limited only by imagination. The library has always been a center for gathering, processing, and transforming information and thus is the natural home for a service that facilitates creation and sharing of information in ways not previously available. Since launching a 3D printing service in September 2012, Lovejoy Library has seen interest from students and faculty in several disciplines. Usage statistics and feedback from users have been collected, and web statistics for the service’s web pages indicate even more interest than can be seen in the usage statistics. A survey is being developed to collect additional information from potential users to investigate the discrepancy, and ongoing improvements to the service are planned.

Program: Librarians in the Driver’s Seat: Leading Your School through PBL
3–4 p.m.
McCormick Place Convention Center, S106B

Project based learning is gaining momentum in schools across the country, and librarians need to take the lead in training, implementing, and recruiting teachers, curriculum directors, and administrators in adopting project based learning throughout K–12 and higher education. A commonly used practice for several years in STEM and vocational classrooms, project (or problem) based learning has been shown to provide significant gains in achievement in other areas.

Monday, July 1

Special Event: Maker Showcase
9 a.m.–2 p.m.
McCormick Place Convention Center, Hall A1, Special Events Area

Join us Monday morning for the Maker Showcase on the exhibit floor to meet local makers and experts from Chicago-area institutions that have already implemented makerspaces, fab labs, and the full spectrum of maker programming from crafts to robotics. Join in some hands-on activities, learn about interesting projects local makers are working on, talk to the community about how libraries can help them, and take back ideas you can implement at your own library. There’s no schedule, so stop by as many tables and talk to as many different people as you can. This is your chance for one-on-one discussions and interactive fun.

Ignite Session: Experimental Music at the Library
11:30 a.m.–noon
McCormick Place Convention Center, S102D

What happens when you bring sound artists, circuit benders and other experimental musicians into a public library and invite them to make lots of noise? Starting last August I decided to find out with a monthly performance series called Experimental Music at the Library. In this brief talk I’ll fill you in on what happened, what I learned, and how a ridiculous idea evolved into a wildly successful series. I’ll also provide tips on developing your own experimental music program (and why you totally should).

Program: Mark Frauenfelder and Maker Monday
1–2:30 p.m.
McCormick Place Convention Center, S106A

We have a rich history of making in our country and lately we have witnessed a return to that culture. During the last five years people have begun making new tools and technologies, enabling anyone to be a maker. Creating access to these tools and materials as well as the opportunity to share and collaborate with others is essential to the maker experience. Starting with a brief but colorful history of 19th and 20th century making, Mark Frauenfelder will present the new tools and technologies that are driving innovation and giving individuals and small groups the ability to create amazing things that would’ve been out of their reach a few years ago. He then will present new, inexpensive, and effective ways to conduct research and development, design prototypes, and set up manufacturing at home, and in makerspaces, libraries, schools, companies, and other spaces.

ALSC President’s Program: Think with Your Eyes!
1–3 p.m.
McCormick Place Convention Center, S106B

This Association for Library Service to Children special program presents a powerful method of engaging with pictures—and then exploring the value of using the technique with children. Whether the images are masterpieces on a museum wall, part of a picture book narrative, or photographs and charts in a science text, understanding and appreciating what we see is a skill that can be developed. Elizabeth McChesney and Mary Erbachwill discuss the 20-year partnership between their institutions that has placed the intersection of visual and print literacy at the heart of their programs. They will be joined by Bryan Wunar, Director of Education at the Museum of Science and Industry, giving them the opportunity to describe how they are responding to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “Summer of Learning” initiative in which STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programming transforms to STEAM by adding Art!

Conversation Starter: Going Up the Down Slide: School and Public Libraries Partner to Reduce Summer Slide
2:45–3:30 p.m.
McCormick Place Convention Center, S102D

This facilitated discussion sponsored by the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation brings together enthusiastic moderators from all three divisions to engage participants in focused conversations around the theme of “summer slide”—the loss of academic skills, motivation, and knowledge that happens to students of all ages during the summer months. This session will highlight the enormous benefits of forging partnerships between school and public libraries by encouraging participants to ask questions, share struggles and strategies, showcase successful programs, and exchange ideas. Conversations will emphasize the intersection between STEM, Common Core, summer reading assignments and programs and “summer slide,” as well as the possibilities and implications for librarians who work with children, teens, and young adults.

Category: