This year, STAR Net partnered with the Afterschool Alliance to make library-afterschool partnerships a theme for Lights On Afterschool 2017, a nationwide event drawing attention to afterschool programs and their partners, and showing communities why it is important to keep their Lights On. And with nearly 150 registered events featuring a library-afterschool partnership, the voices of libraries were heard nationwide!

This year we saw libraries stepping up to show how they provide safe and enriching spaces for youth and families, and the resources they provide to the afterschool programs in their communities. Additionally, we also saw huge support nation-wide for STEM—out of the 8,000 events held, 2,428 were focused on STEM.

Here’s just a few examples:

  • The Mississippi Library, in Anoka county Minnesota, led students and families in an activity to make their own rockets. Combining science and the arts, these rockets were ready for blastoff!
  • The Madison County Library in Danielsville, Georgia, partnered with Colbert Elementary’s and Hull-Sanford Elementary’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool programs for a “Lights on Literacy” presentation. Library and afterschool program staff introduced students families to the literacy programs at the library, and unveiled their new 21st Century CampRAIDERS program – a new afterschool program with a focus on STEM, literacy, and health and wellness.
  • The Patrick Heath Public Library in Boerne, Texas, used Lights On this year to launch Book Bites, where children at the local Head Start program can come and enjoy books, games, crafts, and afterschool snacks.

In the upcoming year we hope to see more libraries and afterschool programs partnering up. The Afterschool Alliance surveyed afterschool providers in early 2017, and found a breadth of deep and successful partnerships, and a strong desire for them to continue and grow. Almost all afterschool programs saw a benefit to working with a public library, and almost one-third of all programs had worked with a public library on a STEM initiative. You can read the full report online.

Have photos from your Lights On Afterschool event? Send them to! Or, if you missed this year’s celebration, it is never too early to start planning for Lights On Afterschool 2018!