I am excited to announce that Idaho has been selected as one of 14 states to partner with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to bring the “NASA @ My Library” program to public libraries throughout the Gem State. Program goals are focused on populations and geographic areas underrepresented in STEM fields, and include enhancing STEM literacy of library patrons and staff while connecting them with local space science experts.

Beginning in February, two facilitation kits will be circulated to public libraries. The kits are to be utilized by library staff to enrich their programming related to earth and space science. The themes of the traveling kits are “Sun-Earth-Moon-Connections” and “Be a NASA Detective.”

Each kit comes with step-by-step directions for each activity, (almost) all of the materials you’ll need, and links to further resources. These kits align with the Collaborative Summer Library theme of “A Universe of Stories” and the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, which is July 20, 2019.

Public libraries may request a kit via the reservation form, or contact me at 208-639-4156 or via email at: deana.brown@libraries.idaho.gov. Kits are available to borrow for up to two weeks during the “NASA @ My Library” initiative, which runs through December 2019.

The kits contain:

Kit #1 – The “Sun-Earth-Moon Connections Kit” focuses on activities and experiences that help patrons better understand their place in space and how the sun and moon impact our planet. Major content areas in this kit include:

  • modeling both lunar and solar eclipses with easy-to-use tools
  • detecting ultraviolet light in a creative way
  • using sorting cards to explore concepts relating to size, distance, and temperature
  • an experiential activity that allows for a greater understanding of the vast scale of our solar system

Kit #2 – The “Be A NASA Detective: Expanding Your Senses Kit” focuses on activities and experiences that help patrons be more comfortable using tools of science and making predictions based on their observations. Major content areas in this kit include:

  • modeling the vast distances in our Solar System using a fun paper folding project
  • creating the shapes of the moon’s phases with some “tasty” resources
  • exploring science through art with planetary image analysis
  • investigating the insides of planets by using hands-on objects
  • using scientific tools, such as a telescope and infrared thermometer, to observe the properties of objects that are difficult to see with our eyes.

Throughout the year, staff of the Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) will receive training and learn best practices related to earth and science programming. We will pass this knowledge along to the Idaho library community. In addition, local space science experts have been contacted, and they are excited to support public library programs through NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors and Night Sky Network.

Want to be in the know?

Register your library with STAR Net’s Summer of Space! Get a monthly newsletter with valuable resources and opportunities, automatic entry for a chance to win one of two FREE Orion StarBlast Telescopes, and have your library added to the Summer of Space map. And I want to give a “shout out” to the following libraries that have already registered:

  • Clearwater Memorial Public Library
  • District Library of Weippe
  • Grangeville Centennial Library
  • McCall Public Library
  • Emmett Public Library
  • Eagle Public Library
  • Nampa Public Library
  • Mountain Home Public Library
  • Snake River School/Community Library

And there is an upcoming webinar:

Craft, Engineer, and Make & Take Activities for “A Universe of Stories
Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 2 p.m. (MDT) / 1 p.m. (PDT)

Looking for cheap, easy, accessible, and FUN hands-on experiences for your patrons this summer? Are you trying to spice up your normal craft and make-and-take activities with a space science theme? If so, then this is the webinar for you! Join us as we take a look at several different activities from the STEM Activity Clearinghouse Universe of Stories Collection. They are hands-on, easy to facilitate, and sure to inspire curiosity. If the webinar registration is full, don’t worry! We live stream all of our webinars at: https://goo.gl/McmYsh.

I’ll be sharing more learning opportunities and resources throughout the year, but feel free to contact me anytime! Something fun you can do right now is download the NASA selfi app!

This program is brought to you by the Idaho Commission for Libraries and was made possible, in part, by STAR Net and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.