About Science Kits for Public Libraries


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Science Kits for Public Libraries

A program of the IEEE-Chicago Section, “Science Kits for Public Libraries” seeks to make STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) learning available for children regardless of race, gender, or income. Understanding that not all children have access to high quality science educations due to underfunding, resource allocations, poverty, or any other social or economic condition, the Science Kits for Public Libraries program raises capital to provide grants to public libraries to purchase science kit collections and offer them as a lending service to their communities just like a book.

Click here to see a list of past Chicago area grant recipients. Past Grant Awards


Video from Mount Prospect Library

In The News


  • Bradley Public Library District  http://www.bradleylibrary.org August, 2018BPLD has been promoting the kits to teachers and is hosting evenings of “Little Steamers” in September. A one time Up Up and Away event was hosted with ~75-80 people attending. http://www.bradleylibrary.org/content/childrens-programs
  • Roselle Public Library http://www.roselle.lib.il.us/about/events.php July, 2018Presentation at RoselleRepresenting IEEE were Norman Phoenix, grant distributions manager, and his colleague Connie Kelly, education chair, who participated in a grant check presentation ceremony during the library’s Committee of the Whole Meeting. Representing the library were John Rimer, Young Adult Librarian, Christy Snyders, Circulation Department Manager, and Tami Mellert, Youth Services Assistant. In attendance were Samantha Millsap, Director of the Roselle Public Library, and the Roselle Public Library District Board of Trustees.RPL reports excellent circulation of their kits. They are adding more as well as RasPi. The library had 3 Tech Toy Tuesdays in July. Snap Circuits has recently become part of their collection.
  • Des Plaines Public Library  https://calendar.dppl.org/events  June 2018DPPL still has there original 16 kits and are planning on adding more this year. Their target is for around 30 total. They incorporate the kits into various STEM programs that they put on throughout the year. Snap Circuits have also been added to their collection.They are going to host a “Curious Kids” program twice a week from Sept to Nov for ages 3+. Three Family Play Labs are also planned for the summer. Past events have been Family Fridays, with about 30 people attending. The venue is a mix of art and STEM. They have also had several maker and RasPi events which have been limited to 20 people.
  • Cary Public Library Newsletter (pg 7) – November 2014
  • Daily Herald Article – 2012
  • IEEE Life Members Newsletter Article – June 2012
  • The Journal Article – May 18 2012


Nine year-old Leila had already checked out the Simple Machines kit and enjoyed it so much that during another trip to the library, she asked her mother if she could check out another. “Pleeeeease, Mom?!” While talking with her children’s librarian, Leila also said “I love science and math, and math is cool!” She also made it known that she enjoyed both the books and the activities that come with the kits. The family, pictured here as they check out another kit, are frequent users of the Rogers Park branch.SKFL Leila family
SKFL circuits kit“As a teacher and grandparent, I enjoyed and Appreciated working with my children with the Electricity and Circuits Discovery Pack. It is a colorful and easy to use set of Materials that all elementary school age children can use and have fun learning. They can read the included books, but the materials will help them discover circuitry without reading directions.”
“My 7 1/2 year old son checked out the Bridge Discovery pack and he loved it! He followed the directions from the K’nex booklet and only needed help with a few pieces. Once the first "easy" model was built, he was ready for the higher challenge — the drawbridge. It was awesome!”SKFL bridge kit

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Chicago Section Fund

The IEEE-Chicago Section Fund was established in 2009 as a restricted fund of the IEEE Foundation. This non-profit 501 3c Fund operates under the umbrella of the IEEE Foundation which is responsible for the administration of the Fund. While the funds are managed by the IEEE Foundation, the Chicago Section Executive committee controls the distribution of funds. Donations made to the Chicago Fund are tax deductible.

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