Dec. 7, 2018

MONTGOMERY – The Alabama Public Library Service (APLS) was selected as one of fourteen state library agencies to receive resources, training, and support through NASA@ My Library, a STEM education initiative that will increase and enhance STEM-learning opportunities for library patrons throughout the nation.

NASA@ My Library is funded by NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD), and aims to engage diverse communities in STEM learning, including communities that are underrepresented in STEM fields. The educational support materials and outreach opportunities provided are part of the STAR Library Network (STAR Net), a hands-on learning program for libraries and their communities. "The NASA@ My Library program advances public libraries as community centers and critical hubs for lifelong learning," said Project Director Paul Dusenbery, director of National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL) and STAR Net. "It also helps fill a gap in STEM-education and engagement in rural and other underserved areas by increasing opportunities for hands-on experiences for learners of all ages."

APLS Director Nancy C. Pack said, "I'm thrilled that we can join with NASA in bringing hands-on informal science education materials to library patrons throughout Alabama."

Over the next 12 months, this grant will support APLS in the following ways:

  • Professional development – Our staff will participate in periodic webinars and monthly calls. We will offer advice, share insights, best practices, and lessons learned from participating in the NASA@ My Library initiative. Our staff will increase their interest in, knowledge about, and confidence in promoting earth and space science programming.
  • Enrich library experiences – We will engage space science expert volunteers in public library programming through NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors and Night Sky Network; and
  • Hands-on Activities – We will promote and circulate multiple copies of two different NASA@ My Library earth and space science kits to our public libraries. These are designed for people of all ages with a focus on underserved STEM communities.

In addition to Alabama, other state libraries chosen to participate in NASA@ My Library include Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Montana, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia. Participating agencies will be active throughout 2019 and will join Michigan, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Washington who were the original sites to help pilot the project in 2018.

Key partners for the project include NCIL, the American Library Association, Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, Cornerstones of Science, and the Lunar and Planetary Institute. Visit https://science.nasa.gov/learners to learn more about NASA@ My Library.

The Alabama Public Library Service is the state agency whose mission is to provide information services to all citizens, local public libraries, and state employees.