The STAR Library Education Network (STAR_Net) is a national program led by the Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning (www.nc4il.org). STAR stands for Science-Technology Activities and Resources. Core partners include the American Library Association, Lunar and Planetary Institute, and the Afterschool Alliance. Other partners include the National Girls Collaborative Project,, National Academy of Engineering, Engineers Without Borders-USA, IEEE-USA, the National Renewable Energy Lab, American Geophysical Union, Geological Society of America, LEGO, and many more. Phase 1 of the STAR_Net project was supported through a grant from the National Science Foundation. Phase 2 is funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the National Institutes of Health (SEPA Program).
STAR_Net education programs were created to inspire lifelong learning through inquiry and play. Phase 1 of the project developed two interactive traveling exhibition programs (Discover Earth: A Century of Change and Discover Tech: Engineers Make a World of Difference), coupled with a variety of education and outreach programs. Phase 2 continues to expand the program, with an extensive redesign of the Discover Earth and Discover Tech, and the addition of new exhibits such as Discover Exoplanets, Discover Health, Discover Space, Discover NASA, and smaller panel based exhibits (Explore Earth, Explore Space and Explore Tech).
Additional programming includes hands-on activities related to the content of the exhibits for different age groups. The project includes a training program for librarians, a comprehensive outreach program for classroom teachers and out-of-school instructors, and an Online Community of librarians and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) professionals (currently, over 500 members nationwide).
'Few things in my three decades as a librarian have been more rewarding to me than having my library serve as the inaugural site for the interactive library exhibitions developed by the Space Science Institute's National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL). 'Discover Earth' and 'Discover Tech' were embraced by library users, many of whom visited time after time." Beth Barrett, Director, Louisville Public Library, Colorado