ORANGE CITY, Iowa — “STEM Lit and Lab in the Library” a summer internship program coordinated and sponsored by Iowa State University and the Lyon, Osceola, Dickinson, Sioux, O’Brien and Clay County Extension Councils, has recently wrapped up for the summer.
The program, which focuses on bringing additional science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) youth programming into local libraries reached nearly 500 Northwest Iowa youth residing in smaller communities.
Lori Hayungs, human sciences specialist in family life with Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach, shared that the program was offered in smaller communities where often the amount of library programming is less than that in a larger city.
“The local extension councils chose which libraries to partner with and offer the program at,” Hayungs said. “In most cases, ‘STEM Lit and Lab in the Library’ was offered in a library in a smaller community in the county. Although we may not have seen the numbers that larger libraries often see, the impact and the appreciation from the community was great.”
Mackenzie DeJong, Human Sciences Program Coordinator, supervised the “STEM Lit and Lab in the Library” interns. She explained that interns served as library assistants, as well as facilitated learning opportunities.
“In each lesson, the intern introduced a scientific concept, read a story related to that concept and led the youth in hands-on discovery of that concept,” DeJong said. “For example, in the Colors lesson, youth explore chromatology, or the study of colors, through the reading of ‘The Dot;’ discussion and creation of primary versus secondary colors using red, blue, and yellow paint on a color wheel; and exploration of solubility using washable markers, which when combined with water on a coffee filter, pulls out the primary colors to illustrate that colors are all made up of the primary red, blue, and yellow.”
DeJong said that interns also led library art lesson, story times and even coordinated an escape room for teenagers in one of the libraries.
Overall numbers for “STEM Lit and Lab in the Library” which took place primarily during June and July were as follows:
- Hull Public Library: 69 youth participated in 4 programs.
- Sanborn Public Library: 105 youth participated in 5 programs.
- George Public Library: 74 youth participated in 9 programs.
- Sibley Public Library: 47 youth participated in 4 programs.
- Everly Public Library: 25 youth participated in 4 programs.
- Milford Public Library: 141 youth participated in 4 programs.
“As a whole, we felt the program was very successful thanks in large part to the above-mentioned libraries; our summer interns Kodie Borchers, Whitney Jorgensen and Bradi Baschke; and the local youth who participated,” Hayungs said.
For more information on “STEM Lit and Lab in the Library” or similar programs available during the school year, contact Hayungs or DeJong at 712-737-4230.
— Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
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