The Idaho STEM Action Center provides funds to the Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) to award up to 70 public, school, or academic libraries $500 each to help pay for materials or presenters to support STEM outreach efforts during the summer. The ICfL also provides a toolkit for learning activities, a branded yard sign and other resources. The Summer STEM from Your Library program has three primary goals:
- Increase access to fun, engaging, hands-on STEM activities for underserved youth beyond the normal library programming efforts
- Increase children’s access to books over the summer months
- Increase the number of children who minimize learning loss during the summer
Applications for the 2023 Summer STEM Grant will open on February 21, 2023:
Resources and Info
Who can apply:
Publicly-funded school, public, tribal, or academic libraries in Idaho that are compliant with Idaho’s grant eligibility guidelines (found here: https://libraries.idaho.gov/grants-funding/grant-eligibility/)
- Provide outreach activities for a minimum of five weeks during the months of May – August, 2023; public libraries must hold at least 40% of their programs away from the library. Providing grab-n-go STEM kits or virtual STEM programs are considered outreach activities during this grant year.
- Provide ICfL with the final number of people who engaged in Summer STEM activities and a summary of STEM experiences funded with the grant.
- Acknowledge the Idaho STEM Action Center and ICfL for their support of the Summer STEM program during each Summer STEM activity.
- Expend all grant funds on allowable expenses by end of grant period.
- Complete a summary report on how the STEM resources enhanced the library’s summer outreach (photos of programs are also encouraged).
Applications that meet the grant requirements will be awarded funding on a first-come, first-served basis. All types of publicly-funded libraries in Idaho may apply, but only libraries providing activities outside of their normal service models will be considered.
- Planning your Summer STEM outreach programs: Use the new STEM Toolkit to plan great activities and check out our STEAM Learning Resources page for lots of great ideas for your programs.
- During your programs, briefly explain the STEM concept that you are introducing.
- Make sure to include new vocabulary words for kids to learn during your activity.
- Partners: Consider partnering with a summer nutrition program; if you are a school or academic library, try partnering with your local public library.
- Location: Provide outreach activities in the park, at a Boys & Girls club, farmer’s market or other location outside of the library; open the school library during the summer to provide access to books along side STEM activities; try a virtual STEM program using your library’s social media page(s).
- Books: Try to provide access to books at your events – take bins of Little Libraries for kids to take & return, get gently used books from their Friends of the library group to hand out during outreach programs, etc.
- Assessment: At the end of each Summer STEM program, you should ask the participants “What did you learn?”
- If you have time to write down (or take a video!) of some of their answers, that would be awesome. No worries if you don’t get a record of their actual answers. If you do take pictures and would like us to publish them in The Scoop or on social media, here’s a handy photo release form.
- We’re doing assessment this way for a few reasons:
- Giving participants the chance to explain what they learned helps them better understand the STEM concepts introduced during your activity
- It helps younger children develop narrative skills and try out new vocabulary words
- Record statistics: You should track the following at every program for your summary report (we need this info when we are preparing our report for the STEM Action Center, who is generously providing funding for this program – we even made a fancy tracking sheet to make it easier):
- Date of your program
- STEM Activity
- How many people participated
- Were the children and teens who attended your program able to tell you what they learned?
- Were you able to reach underserved populations in your community?
- SPEND ALL YOUR GRANT FUNDS: Your grant award of $500 can be used to purchase supplies for your STEM program, manipulatives or books; bring in awesome presenters; and up to 10% can be used on promotional materials.
- Save your receipts. You will need to submit receipts that show all the expenditures for your Summer STEM purchases with your summary report. If your receipts contain multiple purchases for other programs, help us out by clearly highlighting Summer STEM expenditures or creating a separate spreadsheet of expenditures and submitting it along with your receipts. You can scan and upload your receipts when you submit your final report, or contact Jennifer to make alternate arrangements (email@example.com)
- Be afraid to try something new: Learning STEM is all about trying, failing, and trying again. This grant is a great opportunity to stretch yourself and learn something new!
- Forget to record your statistics: We’re not asking for a lot of information, and it’s crucial for future funding requests.
Important Dates & Info
- Application period: February 21 – March 20, or until all 70 grants have been awarded
- After you apply, a confirmation email will be sent to you and to your Director (public and academic libraries) or School Principal (school libraries).
- Distribution of funds: begins on April 10 (and maybe earlier!)
- Summer STEM programs: May 1 – August 31
- Summary Report due: September 15
- ICfL Support: In addition to $500 to fund your Summer STEM programs, we will also send each participating library STEM books.
- Summer STEM Experiments from 2019 grant recipients
- STEM Outreach Activities Toolkit
- STEAM Learning Resources
- Summer Reading Outreach Guidebook
Before Submitting Your Report
Gather the following info (if you have been using our tracking sheet, this won’t take long):
- The total number of people who attended your Summer STEM programs
- The total number of staff or volunteers who helped conduct STEM programs
- The number of weeks that you held Summer STEM programs
- The location(s) of your Summer STEM programs
- A list of the STEM activities that you did during your programs
- Be able to describe the response to your question at the end of each program: What did you learn today?
- The names of any organizations that you partnered with
- Be ready to briefly describe successes, challenges, suggestions, and the best thing that you purchased with your grant funds
- Scan your receipts for Summer STEM purchases and be ready to upload them in your report. If you are unable to scan your receipts (or take a picture of them), contact Jennifer to make alternate arrangements: firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitting Your Report
After you have completed your last Summer STEM program, fill out the Summary Report by September 15, 2023.
Want to know more about the evolution of the Summer STEM grant? Check out this article.