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Science programming as library services

Page history last edited by Jay Mann 11 years, 9 months ago

Science programming as library services

Julia Gelfand / facilitated discussion


Programming as expansion of public services.


Outreach to younger students

Science grades are low. There is a need to encourage more students to be interested in and become scientists.

·    Summer programs like COSMOS


         promote science at a young age.

·    Diversity fairs – start early.

·    STEM programs are popular with foundations like Mellon and Kaitz – the library should be committed to them.


Christopher (Colorado School of Mines)

He has had success going to 4th grade classes (when they typically take geography).  He gives a 15 minute talk and then let the kids "pour over the maps".

Lisa from CSM brought 2 buckets of rocks into 3rd grade classes, showed them the various colors, how some can scratch a penny, etc. and then let them take home googly-eyed rocks, e.g. http://tinyurl.com/4f7yzr

Sometimes it might be easier to talk to the teacher directly because the county (school district?) might not call back.


It can be difficult to contact homeschoolers even thought it seems like a good fit with the library.


·  The Denver Public Library had an astronomical event which they turned into a sleepover.  There were telescopes and they covered the floor of the library in sand? and had some Martian rovers.  Was very popular and had to turn people away.

Can advertise for events though Boy Scouts, or the Boys & Girls Club.


·  University of Arizona (Maliaca)                    

Junior Scientists Kids’ Day is held on homecoming day and has been very successful; it is a family oriented day.  Faculty are very happy to be out there representing their departments with hands-on activities for the children.  It is held in the middle of the day with pizza afterwards (the parents appreciate the hand-washing stations).

It can be more difficult to get the library administration (which argues “they are not our primary user community”)  involved then the community and faculty - they value the event highly.  They found alternate funding sources / partners.  Sometimes they come to you.


Student Organizations

Food works wonders.

Reach out to student chapters on campus (e.g. IEEE)

Throw parties (they may pay for them!), consider having them after hours.

IEEE, ASCE are student groups that might be interested in a  journal reading clubs.

Julia takes her laptop over to the engineering house – go and hang out where they are.


Web 2.0 and currency

Having big screen monitors allows you to show current things which is what students are often looking for.

Can build programs around larger trends – e.g. 2009 was “Year of Darwin.”  You can build a resource list, hold talks about him, etc.


Library as Space

Make science fun and interesting to attract people.

Exhibits – show the posters of students who have presented in the library .

There might be some local organizations (e.g. CO Scientific Society) that is always looking for places to visit / talk.  They may be an older crowd but can be a good source of potential donors.


Café Scientifique

Started in France http://www.cafescientifique.org/

“Cafe Scientifique is a place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. Meetings take place in cafes, bars, restaurants and even theatres, but always outside a traditional academic context.“

 Scientists are only allowed to talk for so long before they are cut off.  People often bring their families too.  Partner with the science museum or children’s museum; have a strong web presence.


University of Arizona

·         Tuesday talk at the library services.  Made it work in the common reading area; people nearby often become interested in a join.  Solicit researchers and try to tie it in to national events if possible.

·         Movies without rooms – sometimes can get around space constraints.

·         Given the economy, your administration might say, “We aren’t addressing the University’s needs – how can you justify the cost of the program?”

Partnering can help; seek out community members.


Julia? - Tie programs into popular culture – e.g. Professor Perkowitz's, Hollywood Science: Movies, Science, and the End of the World.


Novel Roles

Helen (Stanford) – they partnered with the career center (after the library’s career books were weeded out).  They found that they could help job seekers research jobs / fields via their databases.

CSM – once they “got their hands dirty” with the Metallurgy contest they got more respect from the faculty.


Some takeaways

Tension between the administration and the consumer.  The library might not value X as such as the consumer does.  The library often considers line item costs rather than the larger picture and benefits.

It is an exciting time to try new things.


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