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Library Awarded Hands-on Technology Grant

New collection of children's engineering and coding toys available soon
Library Awarded Hands-on Technology Grant
An engineering & design toy

We are pleased to announce a grant award of up to $1,000 to provide science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educational toys and materials for area children.  A variety of engineering, coding and technology games and toys are being incorporated into the library’s ongoing partnership with local Sports ‘n Shorts park programs, and will be made available for in-library use once those programs end.   This project is funded with a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services administered by the Library of Michigan.

 The funds have been used to create several STEM totes.  They include such things as electronics and circuit exploration kits, coding games and toys, construction kits, and logic games.  In addition to receiving a free book and other Summer Reading rewards each week when a library representative visits, kids at the popular park programs have been given a different STEM tote to explore.  The response has been very positive.  As one child put it, in evaluating the Keva Planks (an architecture toy consisting entirely of identical small wooden blocks), “At first I thought it would be boring, because there weren’t any connectors and all the planks were exactly the same.  But it wasn’t boring! It was awesome!”

 A mini-maker space is being created in an under-used study room near the children’s corner of the library.  This space will be dedicated to the use of the STEM totes when they become available for in-library use.  Kits must be checked out on a valid library card while being used within the library.  Most of the kits are geared primarily for elementary-age students, and a few may also require some adult assistance.

 The library has also added 4 children’s tablets, including two Launchpads, for in-library use.  These, too, must be checked out on a valid library card, and can be used throughout the building.  Each tablet is pre-loaded with themed educational games and activities for young children, preschool through grade two.  One of the tablets features STEM programs for preschoolers, while another is full of ways for K-2 students to explore people and cultures around the world.