What’s the BIG Idea?: Science and Mathematics for Children in Your Public Library

August 1st, 2005 - January 31st, 2010 | PROJECT

What's the BIG Idea? will infuse STEM content and concepts into librarians' practice in order to establish the public library as the site of ongoing, developmentally appropriate, standards-based STEM programming for young children and their families. This project will facilitate the infusion of STEM content and concepts into all aspects of library service -- programming, collections development, displays, newsletters, and bibliographies. Science educators and advisors will review and critique the project's STEM content. Building on prior NSF-funded projects, an experienced team of STEM developers and trainers will provide librarians with the content, skills and processes needed to stimulate innovative STEM thinking. Vermont Center for the Book (VCB) will train and equip librarians from three different library systems -- Houston, Texas, the Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System in New York and statewide in Delaware. The strategic impact of this project is ongoing STEM programming for children and families in large, small, urban and rural libraries. VCB will investigate these questions, among others: How can the public library become a STEM learning center? What information, knowledge, training and materials do librarians need to infuse appropriate science and mathematics language and process skills into their practice and programming? Who are the community partners who can augment that effort? How can the answers to these questions be disseminated nationally? Innovation stems from: 1) STEM content to incorporate into their current practice and 2) skills and processes to create their own STEM programming. In addition, the results will be transferable to a wide range of libraries throughout the nation. The Intellectual Merit lies in augmenting librarians' current expertise so that they can incorporate STEM content and materials into all aspects of the library, a universal community resource. The Broader Impact lies in creating a body of content and approaches to programming that librarians all over the country can use to infuse mathematics and science language and content into their interactions with peers, children, families and the community. This will allow inquiry into what and how new informal STEM knowledge and practice can be effectively introduced into a variety of library settings.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

What's the BIG Idea? Training of Trainers

Team Members

Sally Anderson, Principal Investigator, Vermont Center for the Book
Gregory DeFrancis, Co-Principal Investigator, Vermont Center for the Book


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 0514746
Funding Amount: 1606644


Audience: Elementary School Children (6-10) | Families | Museum | ISE Professionals | Pre-K Children (0-5)
Discipline: Education and learning science | Engineering | General STEM | Mathematics | Technology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Library Programs | Professional Development | Conferences | Networks | Professional Development and Workshops | Public Programs