Public Libraries as Places for STEM Learning: An Exploratory Interview Study with Eight Librarians

November 30th, 2013 | RESEARCH

The public library as a venue for learning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is seen as having great potential for implementing informal STEM education. There are 17,000 public library locations in all 50 states; at that scale they can provide citizens in each community opportunities to engage in lifelong STEM learning. With such broad reach at a local level, public libraries are an exciting prospect for engaging the Nation in STEM learning. Broadly, the question that this paper seeks to address is, in what ways do libraries support the development of STEM learning? To answer this question, we can learn from librarians who have led initiatives that foster STEM learning at public libraries. We can draw on their experiences, their observation of change, what worked and what did not as a result of their STEM initiatives. Evidence was taken from exploratory interviews with eight librarians. Some of these librarians have been involved with the federally-funded projects, while others have developed STEM programming on their own. This small sample represents a broad perspective on these issues that can inform the informal STEM education community about the characteristics of libraries that support the development of STEM learning.


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Team Members

Space Science Institute, Contributor
Paul Dusenbery, Principal Investigator, Space Science Institute
John Baek, Author, Space Science Institute


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Funding Amount: 2495325

Related URLs

Full Text
STAR Library Education Network: A Hands-on Learning Program for Libraries and Their Communities


Audience: Educators | Teachers | General Public
Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM
Resource Type: Reference Materials | Report
Environment Type: Library Programs | Public Programs