2019 Teen Summer Intern Program: Grant benefits library, teens

“I feel like I accomplished something today.”
– A summer teen intern after a particularly busy day of STEAM programming

Our library received a YALSA Summer Teen Intern Grant this year. We used the $1,000 grant award to provide a $500 stipend to each of our two summer teen interns assisting us with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) programming. Before our summer’s start, we laid out the follow goals or learning outcomes for our interns:

  • Participate in a real-world job seeking situation, including completing an internship application and sitting for an interview with our library’s interview committee;
  • Gain greater self-confidence and self-esteem while improving on social interactions in a work setting with people of all ages;
  • Enhance customer service skills by working with a diverse group of people with varying needs;
  • Improve problem-solving skills as STEAM activities require analytical thinking;
  • Gain work experience which will be helpful later when competing in the job market; and
  • Gain a greater appreciation for, and (we hoped) an interest in STEAM learning.

At our library, we have been emphasizing STEAM programming for children and teens for the past few years. This year, we found in the beginning that our teen interns had little experience working with the kind of STEAM resources that our library offers, but they quickly learned and began to appreciate them.

During their time with us this summer, each of our interns worked 50 hours assisting with STEAM programming, each interacting with library staff members and hundreds of children, teens, and adults. As we revisit our pre-summer learning outcomes for our interns today, we believe (and they believe) we were mostly successful in meeting these goals together. In the exit survey we asked interns to complete, they responded favorably to the question, “In which areas do you believe this internship has helped you,” checking off most of the above outcomes and adding some of their own that we hadn’t included, such as developing more patience. We are pleased with this outcome.

We’ve been fortunate enough to receive a YALSA Summer Teen Intern Grant on three occasions within the past couple of years. During the years, our approach to this grant and our interns has changed. In the very beginning, our interns were here to help us, we thought, (i.e., setting up a room, handing out program evaluations, and other necessary, but menial tasks) and to get a paycheck for themselves. 

The truth is that we as a library staff can handle these tasks on our own; this program is to benefit these teens. Our interns have much to offer and are not here solely for a paycheck. I refer to the above quote as evidence of this point. Yes, the stipend is nice and appreciated by our teens, but they also want to be engaged in meaningful work, and they appreciate the opportunity to interact with others, to learn new skills, and to be productive. 

These days, and for a long while, our summer teen interns (when we are fortunate enough to have them) help our staff members lead our STEAM programs, and they also provide us with valuable feedback on our programs and how we can make them better for people like themselves. Our library and our interns both benefit from this experience.

In closing, we offer some parting comments from our interns on the impact of their internships: 

  • “I learned that I’m a people person and that people flock to me. It made more positive and helped me to learn more about people.” 
  • “I realized I am a good multi-tasker and am an easy-going person. I have good patience with people’s requests and communicate well. I also realized I am an open-minded person.”

 

Katina Gaudet is an Area Librarian at Lafourche Parish Public Library – South Lafourche Branch.

STEAM Zone: an Afternoon of Mechanical Engineering at Miami-Dade Public Library

The Miami-Dade Public Library hosted a series of innovative, technology-based programs for center city youth that focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (a/k/a STEAM). 

A Mechanical Engineering class at the North Central Branch was attended by over twenty students. The class is the brainchild of Carol and Brianna Frachtman and is one of many offered by their school Engineering For Kids Broward. It focused on the creation of two hands-on projects that introduced a variety of engineering concepts and skill sets to a highly enthusiastic group of youth.

“We like to build on children’s natural curiosities and unlimited imaginations by offering inquiry-based, collaborative lessons that spark enthusiasm. It’s about discovery and play and having fun while learning,” said Carol.

The first lesson centered on the creation of a Candy Catapult. Carol explained how these simple machines were used to hoist weapons abCandy catapultsove the high ramparts of medieval villages. The youth were given all the supplies needed to create their own catapult, the foundation of which is a box of DOTS gumdrops. When several students asked if they might consume some candy, Carol quickly explained how that would compromise the volume and weight of their catapult’s foundation—the box of candy—and they might not be able to get enough tension to hurl their projectiles where they wanted.

To foster team building, the students broke into small groups and assembled their catapults. Once the catapults were completed, the concepts of accuracy and precision were discussed.

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Don’t Forget About Art

Ballerino

Ballerino. Photo from flickr user Scooter Lowrimore via Creative Commons license

The other night I dropped my son off for his first dance class. It was heart warming to see him so fully engaged in something new, a positive activity that will undoubtedly help him build self-confidence and an appreciation of art. I had a fun reminder of his enthusiasm for the performing arts this morning when I saw a post by the Teen Librarian Toolbox about books for dance lovers, and I made a connection between my experience as a parent and what we do as librarians. The TLT blog author points out that we shouldn’t forget the arts in the mix of all the new STEM projects we host at the library. In fact, I have heard many librarians refer to the acronym STEAM which throws art in the mix, right beside the hot topics in science, technology, engineering and math. As you build your programs for this fall and winter, don’t forget about art. Continue reading

Idaho Libraries Shake Up the Maker Movement: Creating makers, then spaces (part three)

Just in time for Teen Tech Week planning, the third in a four-part series detailing how one state library commission facilitated a culture of learning and experimentation through the maker movement in a variety of library settings.

By Teresa Lipus, Public Information Specialist, Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) with significant input from Erica Compton and Sue Walker, ICfL project coordinators.

Project evaluation

Compton and Walker designed tools to help evaluate the program on two levels:

1. Library users: To evaluate the effectiveness of the makerspace activities and programs, they developed a survey tool to poll actual participants as a group before and after an activity. It is designed to record changes in skills, attitude, and behavior. So far there has been mixed success, but the survey is being modified as it is used and tested for effectiveness.

3D printing Continue reading

Idaho Libraries Shake Up the Maker Movement: Creating makers, then spaces (part two)

Just in time for Teen Tech Week planning, the second in a four-part series detailing how one state library commission facilitated a culture of learning and experimentation through the maker movement in a variety of library settings.

By Teresa Lipus, Public Information Specialist, Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) with significant input from Erica Compton and Sue Walker, ICfL project coordinators.

Timeline

Pilot libraries were selected in December 2012. Three webinars and three face-to-face trainings were held from January through November 2013.

Materials and tools

ICfL wanted to provide a variety of STEAM materials and tools so libraries could explore many different programming ideas. Selected tools:

  • supported project objectives,
  • aligned with Common Core Standards,
  • allowed for complex projects,
  • introduced motorized designs,
  • included curriculum and project ideas, and
  • included trainers or local support when possible.

materials

Materials from PCS Edventures!, Reuseum, Maker Media/MakerShed, and RepRap MendleMax 3D Printers were chosen.

Training

It was essential to enlist an experienced trainer to work with the team, and PCS Edventures provided Kellie Dean to lead the workshops. Dean is an expert on experiential learning and helped build the foundation needed to implement the pilot.
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Idaho Libraries Shake Up the Maker Movement: Creating makers, then spaces (part one)

Just in time for Teen Tech Week planning, the first in a four-part series detailing how one state library commission facilitated a culture of learning and experimentation through the maker movement in a variety of library settings.

By Teresa Lipus, Public Information Specialist, Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) with significant input from Erica Compton and Sue Walker, ICfL project coordinators.

Makerspaces bring people together to collaborate, create, design, and share resources and knowledge. With increasing frequency these makerspaces are being started in libraries. By providing materials, instruction in the use of new technology and an environment that supports the creative process, libraries are powerful equalizers that level the playing field for their users who may not otherwise have access to these hubs of community engagement.

makeit

Makerspaces were launched in five public libraries across Idaho through Make It at the Library, a pilot project implemented in 2012-2013 by the Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL).

These pilot libraries represent diverse geographic regions as well as rural and urban communities:

  • Ada Community Library, with branches in four locations
  • Community Library Network, with branches in eight locations
  • Gooding Public Library, a one-room library in a rural community
  • Meridian Library District, with branches in two locations
  • Snake River School/Community Library, a public library located within a public high school

Though the project initially focused on engaging teens through maker activities to draw them into these innovative spaces, the makerspaces will eventually be available to the entire community as the project evolves.

The “Make It at the Library” project provides the necessary materials and training for pilot library staff to implement creative, STEAM-based (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) programming for tweens and teens. The project also includes training on leveraging partnerships, involving community, and evaluating outcomes.
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Idaho Libraries Shake Up the Maker Movement: Creating makers, then spaces (part four)

Just in time for Teen Tech Week planning, the last in a four-part series detailing how one state library commission facilitated a culture of learning and experimentation through the maker movement in a variety of library settings.

By Teresa Lipus, Public Information Specialist, Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) with significant input from Erica Compton and Sue Walker, ICfL project coordinators.

Project evaluation

Making it work

The libraries are doing an exceptional job implementing programs at their libraries. Below are some examples of how the pilot libraries have integrated the maker culture into their libraries and embraced making in all forms.

  • Some libraries implemented weekly open making time. Others have a variety of programs offered throughout the week—each with a specific topic or focus.
  • Not all programming is at a specific time and place. Stealth challenges prove to be a good way to expand the makerspace idea and allow participants to be creative on their own time schedule. Daily or weekly challenges are set out and require little or no staff time to implement. Some libraries tethered digital cameras near the challenge so kids could snap a picture of the finished project and enter it into a weekly contest.
  • One library is looking at creating an outdoor makerspace where gardening, nature, and other related activities can be implemented. Continue reading

STEM Made Easy: Gathering Ideas for Next Summer’s Cooperative Reading Theme


I didn’t know much about STEM programming before this post – or at least I thought I didn’t. Then I did some research. Turns out, I’ve been doing STEM programming without realizing it.

Those marshmallow catapults for The Homework Machine book club and the Rube Goldberg machines both for 4th and 5th graders were STEM programs. Those bottle rockets and the lava lamps for teens were STEM programs. Best of all, they were all super fun and the kids and teens had a blast!

Rube Goldberg Machine

A machine built at Otis Library

The theme for next summer’s collaborative reading program is all about science: Fizz, Boom, Read! (for kids or as general theme for the entire library) or Spark a Reaction for teens. Both of these themes can easily support a wide range of STEM programs. Continue reading