Monroeville Public Library

The Monroeville Public Library would love to be part of the Remake Learning network.  It fits well with the mission of libraries in general – to offer equal and equitable educational opportunities to the community.  The mission of the Monroeville Public Library is to be a welcoming, inclusive hub where members of the community can connect, discover, and imagine.  We also embrace the values of the Remake Learning network and make them a focal point of our programming, services, and collection development.

The following examples of the work of the Monroeville Public Library highlight the organization’s relevance to the Remake Learning Network:

STEM Story times: These story times tie in classic picture books, both old and new, before providing a STEM activity based on the stories they’ve heard. This program combines a love of reading and storytelling with engagement of hands-on STEM challenges and experiments. Linking the two together makes each more memorable and approachable for the community’s 4 through 6-year-old participants.

3D Design Classes: Adults use SketchUp, a Google-based program, to learn the elements of 3D design; challenges are given for such tasks as creating a nameplate, providing them with a solid foundation in using the software. Children are given challenges to solve with the use of Tinkercad, an online program, which allows them to practice both 3D design tools as well as problem-solving and creativity.

Lego Club: All ages gather once a month to engineer unique structures and designs with LEGOs. A popular programs, it allows participants to work together through creation and play.

NASA @ My Library Programs:  In 2017, the library received a grant from the American Library Association, in partnership with NASA, to offer unique STEM programs at the Library. The grant includes two kits of supplies and instructions to offer NASA-designed science experiments, a $500 programming stipend, and specialized training for a staff member. In the past year, the library has held a stargazing party, a solar system “walk,” and an eclipse party, as well as taking various science lessons from the kit into local schools.

STEM Outreach to Local Schools: Throughout the 2017-2018 school year, the library has offered recurring STEM outreach at local elementary school, middle schools, and high school, to special needs classrooms. Topics have included magnetism, LEGO building, astronomy, circuitry, and robotics.

Science Adventure Lecture Series: This series, with a focus on adults but open to all ages, began in 2017 and has brought in a variety of scientists, instructors, and experts from a variety of STEM fields. This very popular adult program has featured topics including CRISPR, astronomy, quantum physics, and biology.

STEM Summer Camps: Summer 2017 featured three STEM week-long summer camps for ages 8-12. Our Moviemaking Camp included writing an original script, using art design to create a set, and editing their films through the iPad iMotion’s app. Participants had the opportunity to create their own movies to share with family, friends, and the community at the end of the camp. Astronomy Camp provided children the opportunity to imagine themselves as astronauts while engaging in hands-on science experiments and challenge activities designed to spark their imagination and challenge their creativity and innovation. Code Camp taught children the basics of coding through hands-on activities such as: binary systems through beaded bracelets, algorithms through planting seeds, and robotics through our Dash robots. Having mastered the basic concepts through physical challenges, the children moved on to computer coding through software such as Scratch and Puzzlets, working both independently and in teams to complete their challenges.

Tech Tuesdays: These programs feature independent, hands-on play, allowing families of all ages to explore unique technology (which would otherwise not be available to them at home) in a safe and guided environment.

Kids Code: As this program is geared towards children ages 5-7, the focus is on providing children with the basic fundamentals of coding. Coding is done offline, through group games in which children “program” one another through a set of instructions. The boardgame Robot Turtle and Code-apillars are used similarly to provide children with an understanding of coding even before they are ready to tackle online coding software.

Beyond Books: These programs are unique opportunities for children ages 8-12 to try their hands at science experiments within the library. Activities such as bridge engineering challenges, crime scene investigation, and a chemistry lab session provide challenges for participants to form hypotheses which they can test through experimentation, giving them a chance to try the scientific method for themselves.

Museum visits: Since 2014, visits from the Carnegie Science Center, Natural History Museum, and local animal shelters have given families of all ages a hands-on approach to science, history, and nature. Children have participated in a variety of science experiments and learned about local and world wildlife through meeting animal ambassadors within the Library walls.

Teen Afterschool program: This daily program hosts such activities as movie viewings, discussion groups, board games, and outdoor activities. This winter, the teens worked together with three library employees to build, from scratch, their own gaming computer. Participants learned about the components of computer hardware, worked together to create the finished product, and were able to install virtual-reality software that offered them games with educational challenges.

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