Thanks for a memorable 2017 and Happy New Year. The STAR Library Network (STAR Net) had a fantastic year in 2017 anchored by the solar eclipse event in August. With support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, NASA, and NSF, SSI’s National Center for Interactive Learning distributed 2.1 million safe viewing glasses to 7,000 library locations including public library branches, bookmobiles, tribal libraries, library consortia, and state libraries. This was the largest single distribution of free glasses in the entire country and reached more people with glasses and information than any other educational effort for the 2017 eclipse. Kudos to all the libraries that participated. Click here to download a copy of the Library Eclipse Final Report.
In 2017, the STAR Net team continued to develop its STEM Activity Clearinghouse. Please use this valuable resource and provide reviews on its activities (numbering over 150). In partnership with ALA and other organizations, 75 libraries were selected in May to become NASA@ My Library partners (supported by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate). We also delivered 15 webinars last year. STAR Net participated in many library conferences such as ALA, ARSL, CALCON, and MPLA. Our partner, Afterschool Alliance, released a report in September about how afterschool providers are working together with public libraries (Libraries and Afterschool Partnerships). We have 2 research programs that were active last year: 1) NSF supported Project BUILD – STEM learning preferences for youth in grades 2-5 (led by Dr. Robert Tai) and 2) NSF supported STAR Net Phase 2 – a STEM Readiness Scale for libraries (led by Dr. Robert Jakubowski). We will be reporting on these research projects in the next few years.
In 2018, we plan to release a version of STAR Net’s Community Dialogue resources that all libraries can benefit from. These dialogues can help libraries shine a light on the importance of STEM learning for their community. We also plan to promote some exciting STEM events such as Engineers Week, Earth Day, International Observe the Moon Night, and Lights on Afterschool. As always look for us at library conferences. Lastly, we encourage you to become an active participant in the STAR Net community through writing blogs, helping us grow the STEM Activity Clearinghouse, and following us on Facebook and other social media outlets.