Building Upon the STEM Movement: Programming Recommendations for Library Professionals

Annette Shtivelband, Lauren Riendeau, Robert Jakubowski


A growing body of evidence is showing that youth develop their interests in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through participation in activities across the informal and free-choice learning environments found in libraries.1 Many libraries have joined a national movement in which libraries deliver STEM programming to youth.2 Public libraries are a place for STEM learning,3 and children’s librarians are uniquely positioned to promote a love of STEM learning among youth through such programs. The benefits of STEM programming in public libraries are promising.4 For example, participating youth can become proficient in key STEM content and skills, such as critical thinking and engineering design processes.

It is critical to youth and community success that these existing STEM programs continue to grow and expand. Public libraries are an ideal location for these programs. They provide a familiar and trusted learning environment for diverse and underserved families.5 Providing children’s librarians with a “six strand” framework will help guide the successful expansion of these fun and engaging STEM programs.6 This article provides specific recommendations and resources to help prepare and support librarians feel in adopting and implementing STEM in their programming.

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