The Colorado State Library (CSL) is so excited to participate in NASA@ My Library! This project connects NASA, public libraries, state libraries, and their communities to increase STEM learning opportunities for millions of library patrons nationwide, particularly those under-served in STEM education. The National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL) at the Space Science Institute, in partnership with the American Library Association Public Programs Office, the Pacific Science Center, Cornerstones of Science, and the Education Development Center, offers this excellent program, which is funded by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
As part of NASA@ My Library (one of 18 state libraries to partner with the initiative), CSL is thrilled to circulate two kits—the Sun-Earth-Moon Connections kit and the Be a NASA Detective kit—to public and military libraries throughout the state! Libraries can check out these kits for 6 weeks at a time on a first-come, first-served basis. They’re available through AspenCat, even though your library does not have to be an AspenCat library to borrow them. Currently there are 2 copies of the Be a NASA Detective kit and 1 copy of the Sun-Earth-Moon Connections kit, but by summer there will be 3 copies of each available to borrow.
To see the kit contents go to https://cslkits.cvlsites.org/stem-discovery-kits/#nasa. You can reserve a kit from the CSL ApsenCat Online Catalog. Please contact Kit Support at email@example.com or 303-866-6907 with questions about checking out a kit.
There’s a great amount of info on this site, including the kit manuals (under the Downloadables tab on each kit), video demos of some of the activities, and lots of further resources which will continue to grow.
What’s great about these kits? Everything! Subject matter experts in astronomy created the kits so they have a solid science background and designed them specifically for use in libraries. All of the activities are highly engaging and interactive (a tabletop telescope! Sunoculars which allow you to view the sun safely! binoculars for moon viewing! and so much more!). And there’s plenty of background material–presented in plain language–to allow library staff to easily prep for and implement each activity. The kits are also super flexible–present one, a few, or all of the activities in each kit while you have it; adapt them to different age groups; take them out for outreach programs; and duplicate some of the activities for your library to keep (many of them are inexpensive and simple to reproduce!). Basically, they’ll let you provide really engaging, rich STEM activities very easily. The kits are designed for elementary aged kids, but are very adaptable and of great interest to ages 6 to adult!
Through NASA@ My Library, CSL staff will also provide training on the kit activities, as well as on reaching audiences under-served in STEM education. In addition, we’ll engage space science expert volunteers in public library programming through NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors and Night Sky Network, and link this project to the 2019 summer program, A Universe of Stories, and One Book Colorado, which is giving away a book about a penguin who goes to the moon.
Watch in the coming weeks for highlights from each kit and more info on NASA@ My Library. In the meantime, go to https://cslkits.cvlsites.org/stem-discovery-kits/#nasa to learn more about the 2 kits available, and check one out for your library!