In September of 2015, a call went out to Public Libraries in the Chicago area to apply for IEEE-Chicago Section science kit grants. By the November 15th deadline, 17 grant applications were received. In December 2015, a committee of 2 Chicago Section members and 6 Youth Librarians reviewed the applications and determined that 9 of the 17 met the criteria for a grant award. At that time, funds were only available to support 6 grants. Here is some feedback from some of those libraries:
Cook Memorial Public Library District, “Of particular note is the story one patron told us regarding their discovery of the kits: The parents had been struggling to find a way to engage their child in science, and to lessen the reliance on screen time for amusement. Ideally, they wanted something that could be done together as a family. As they contemplated what they should do, they happened across one of the library’s email newsblasts advertising the new Science Explorers to Go Kits. They immediately went to the library to check out a kit, and it was the perfect solution to their problem. The whole family loved working on the science kit together, and now look forward to trying out all of our many kits. It is stories like this that truly demonstrate the value of this important collection. “
Helen Plum Memorial Public Library District, “Receiving the IEEE Chicago Section Science Kits for Public Libraries Grant has allowed us to focus on developing our Technology and Engineering resources within this collection. These kits have also helped bring materials that were previously only used during library programs into the homes and schools of our community.”
Hodgkin’s Public Library, “This grant brought more hands on STEM activities to our patrons. Many looked forward to taking a kit home bringing it back and then getting to choose another. The most positive aspect of this experience was observing the children enjoy the thought of being able to check out something new and different at our library. One family in particular made sure to check out a different kit each time they came to the library.”
Villa Park Public Library, “The grant allowed us to create “take home” science kits for our young patrons and educators. Many of our elementary and middle school patrons cannot attend some of our programming for various reasons, but they can still have a hands-on opportunity with materials otherwise not available to them.”
Your continuing donations to the Chicago Fund now allows the funding of grants for the remaining 3 libraries: Lemont Public Library, DesPlaines Public Library and Franklin Park Public Library. These libraries will now be able to create science kit collections that will circulate just like a book.
A reminder that the call for grant applications for 2017 has been issued. Refer your local library to ieeechicago.org for application and budget forms, and grant guidelines.
The Science Kits for Public Libraries Grant is made possible due to donations from the members of the IEEE-Chicago Section. Thank you for your support.
To donate https://ieeefoundation. org/ieee_chicago
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Thank you again for your support
John A Zulaski
Director, Science Kits for Public Libraries project