Contact: Jill Martorano, Youth Services Manager 630-260-1550 x 340;

Glendale Heights, Ill. – Glenside Public Library District has been awarded a grant from the Chicago section of IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. The purpose of this grant project is to provide funding to Chicago-area public libraries for the creation of circulating science kits. By creating these kits, the grant project hopes to encourage hands-on and self-directed educational opportunities in math and science to pre-university students. The funds will allow the Glenside Public Library District to create circulating science kits comprised of hands-on learning objects and other supporting materials. A representative from the IEEE will present the grant to the library at the Mousetrap Machine Science Show presented by Smarty Pants at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, at Glenside Library District, 25 E. Fullerton Ave., Glendale Heights.

Children experimenting

Kindergarten through 3rd graders explore electronics and circuitry at weekly STEAM-based program, Tinker Thursday, in January 2016. Glenside Public Library District Photo

The library’s ongoing effort to create more opportunities for hands-on exploration in an informal and fun learning environment was the inspiration for seeking this grant. Before securing this grant, the library surveyed local teachers on how these kits could possibly enhance their curriculum. Elizabeth Forkan, Youth Librarian who collaborated on the creation of the kits said, “Libraries have always been a space that encourages curiosity and wonder.

And we wanted to take it a step further by specifically fostering curiosity through STEM exploration.” The library realizes that making these increasingly important fields of science, technology, engineering, and math as fun, accessible, and interactive possible is the best way to encourage enthusiasm in these areas. Because STEM has become a central educational initiative within the Glendale Heights community with area schools now including STEM labs for students, the library wanted to be a part of that STEM innovation. Jill Martorano, head of Youth Services, explains, “We want to support learning in our community by going beyond the programs that we already offer. These kits will provide opportunities for our patrons to take STEM exploration into the home and classroom with materials that they may not have access to.” The Glenside Public Library District is thrilled to be able to provide this type of intellectual engagement because of the funds awarded by the IEEE.

The Tinker with It: Hands-on STEM Kits will contain a variety of items ranging from a human body model to a telescope to robotics to dinosaur fossils all with the goal of allowing patrons to explore the science of the world around us. Every kit will come with a hands-on object, instructions for use, a book, possibly a DVD, and suggested activities or experiments. These kits will be available for library-card holders in April 2016 and some will be on display at the library’s first annual STEAM Fest scheduled for April 9, 2016 from 1-4 pm that is inviting area organizations and businesses to showcase some of the latest innovations in science, technology, engineering, art, and math.

The IEEE-Chicago Section’s Science Kits for Public Libraries Grant is funded by the generous donations of its 4000+ local members as well as additional funding provided by Motorola Solutions, Inc. and S&C Electric Company. For more information, contact Gene Cottini, Grant Manager, Science Kits for Public Libraries, at

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Glenside Public Library District, 25 E. Fullerton Ave., Glendale Heights, Ill 60139