STEM and STEAM Kits Support Library Services and Community Learning*

Libraries across the country utilize facilitation kits to provide activities and materials to enhance their STEAM programming plans, and check-out (or take and make) kits to help their patrons use the experience at home.

Whether you’ve never used a kit before, or consider yourself a kit pro, these resources will provide you with prototyped and tested activities and resources.


Non-book Items


Circulate STEM
Specific Activity Kits**

* Results collected and analyzed by the Education Development Center and reported to the National Center for Interactive Learning in December 2018. Sixty-seven library professionals participated in the survey. ** Preschool ages through high school and families.

Top Three Circulating Items*

Mobile Devices
Other Technology
STEM Specific Activity Kits

Check-out Kits

The following materials have been made available to library patrons to borrow, either for a short period of time (e.g., within the library) or to take home.

Anchorage Public Library, Alaska

Kendalville Public Library, Indiana

Ridgeville Library, Ohio

Harford County Public Library, Maryland

  • LEAP Kits
    Access materials on each of this library’s many STEM kits, which cover topics from building, to circuits, to health, and more!

Facilitation Kits

The following sets of materials are curated for library professionals to use in facilitating programs and outreach. They are not intended for home use.

NASA@ My Library Program (funded by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate)
These NASA STEM kits include easy and cheap hands-on activities, as well as activities that require charismatic science tools you may already have in your library!

Pioneer Library System
Explore how this library system catalogs and lends their kits for libraries.
Learn more >>

Washington State Library STEM Kits
Explore kits designed to serve 15 kids in a library program and follow tutorials for using the equipment.
Learn more >>

Example tutorial: LEGO® Mindstorms® EV3 Programming Basics, with instructional videos available on YouTube

Contact Washington State Library staff if you are interested in learning more!

Customizing Kits

There are so many STEM educational sets available commercially – how to choose? Here are some resources from the education field to consider in making your own purchasing decisions:

Purdue University
Access the 2018 Engineering Gift Guide from Purdue University, filled with fun toys, games, books, and applications to engage girls and boys ages 3-18 in engineering thinking and design.
Learn more >>

University of Wyoming Learning Resource Center
Access resources for teaching and exploring a variety of STEM educational technologies.
Learn more >>


We choose the [STEM programming] kits based on the following criteria:
• Ease of use (people who don’t think of themselves as STEM-minded could use the kits and confidently put on a library program)
• Durability
• Difficulty for our libraries to obtain the items in the kit (either it is too expensive or in some cases the supplies are too difficult to get for our rural libraries)

Hope Decker, Member Library Liason, Pioneer LIbrary System, New York

Cataloging Materials

View a presentation slide set to help you catalog STEM materials, and explore several library catalogs to see different approaches for how this might like in practice.

Slide Presentation:

Where The Wild Things Are: Cataloging STEM Materials, Kits, and Curriculum Resources
View on SlideShare >>

Examples from Library Catalogs:

Eastern Lancaster County Library

Kendallville Public Library

Middle County Public Library

Whitman County Library

Ridgeville Library

Traverse Area District Library

Fines and Fees

For patrons with limited economic resources, fines and fees can be a barrier to using STEM kits. In considering how to make STEM kits available to all members of your community, explore how some libraries have eliminated fines and fees.

Eliminating Fines and Fees on Children’s Materials to Create a Win-Win for Your Library and Community (Presented at the 2018 Public Library Association Conference)

Beth Crist, Youth & Family Services Consultant
Colorado State Library , CO

Terri Spaulding, Collection Resources Manager
High Plains Library District , CO

Judiane Koch, Librarian
Centennial Park Library , Greeley , CO

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