About Amy Holcomb

Amy manages the BOOMbox: Skokie Public Library's STEAM space that features a different theme every few months. She is a 2014 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and values the DIY (do it yourself) and DIT (do it together) approach to learning.

BLOOMbox All Summer Long

This summer the BOOMbox, our self-directed STEAM learning space, is looking at topics related to gardening, botany, and ecology and has been dubbed BLOOMbox for the duration of the rotation. We’ve focused on these topics previously and have found our community is really drawn to the hands-on learning associated with gardening alongside discussion topics related

By |June 30th, 2019|Categories: Elementary Aged, General, Informal Learning, STEM|0 Comments

Be the Scientist: Tie-Dye

One of my favorite STEAM programs is tie-dye. This can be presented as a family drop-in event, perhaps on the library’s front lawn, or as a grade specific program. For the last Be the Scientist, we featured tie-dye as a hands-on spring event for participants in grades 3-5. While the program is inherently entertaining, we

By |May 28th, 2019|Categories: Elementary Aged, General, Informal Learning, Uncategorized|2 Comments

3D Printing Boot Camp

Skokie Public Library has previously offered multiple day programs over school breaks to engage learners in a deeper dive of a specific content. Boot camp style programs tend to do well with higher tech topics like coding. This year during Spring Break, Ben, one of our Experiential Learning Specialists, designed a two day boot camp

By |April 28th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Community Video Gaming

Video games continue to be a source of community based learning and entertainment for youth and teens at Skokie Public Library. We have embraced this and provide multiple channels for youth and teens to participate either individually or as a group. But we really value group gaming as it supports collaboration, communication, and community, which

By |March 26th, 2019|Categories: Elementary Aged, General, Informal Learning, Middle School Aged, Technology|0 Comments

LED Light Up Cards

This month we combined card-making with circuitry for our latest Be the Scientist program for grades 3-5. We facilitated this program near Valentine’s Day thinking it would help spark interest. Here’s what we did. We started the program by talking about circuitry, asking participants what they knew about how a circuit works and what its

By |February 23rd, 2019|Categories: Arts, Elementary Aged, Informal Learning, Physics, Science, STEM|4 Comments

STEAM Kits

One way we promote self-directed STEAM learning at Skokie Public Library is through our STEAM Kit collection. We have about 30 kits that cardholders can checkout for one week at a time. Here’s how we create, circulate, and promote this specialized collection.   Kit Topics and Contents Our STEAM kits are carefully curated by staff

STEAM Engines

Youth Services Librarian Caitlin Savage took over STEAM programming for grades K-2 last spring at Skokie Public Library. Under her direction, the bi-monthly Science Club program became monthly and was re-branded as STEAM Engines. This program is becoming a destination for budding scientists and explorers, and serves a bridge to other STEAM opportunities at the

By |December 27th, 2018|Categories: Chemistry, Elementary Aged, Informal Learning, Science, STEM|1 Comment

Exploring Music

This fall our STEAM space, the BOOMbox, is exploring music. Every two weeks, we focused drop-in experiences on a different aspect of music, from physics to history to genres. We used a variety of tools and resources for hands-on learning, experimentation, and exploration, largely engaging learners in grades 2-7. Here are some of the focus

By |November 27th, 2018|Categories: Informal Learning, Physics, STEM|0 Comments

Science of Sound

This fall our informal learning space, the BOOMbox, is exploring all things music. The rotation is 16 weeks long and we’re focusing on a different concept related to music about every two weeks. This month’s STEAM program for youth grades 3-5 aligned with the rotation and we explored the physics of sound in a hands

By |October 26th, 2018|Categories: Elementary Aged, Engineering, Informal Learning, Physics, Science|0 Comments

STEM Learning in the Library

This month I had the opportunity to participate in the Working Group on Partnerships for Middle School and STEM Learning with the Urban Libraries Council. Professional Development Coordinator Keliann LaConte and Education Coordinator Brooks Mitchell, both team members for the STAR_Net program, were also in attendance where we discussed our views of STEM learning in

By |September 30th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments
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