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Our Quincy library has been selected as one of 12 libraries across the country to be awarded grant funding to offer science and technology programming and exhibits designed especially for Latinx communities.

The STAR Net STEAM Equity Project provides each library with $15,000 to buy STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) learning materials and to offer programs geared toward tweens and their families.

“We are thrilled to receive this substantial grant from the Star Net STEAM Equity Project. This award will help us connect our underrepresented community members to STEM fields and careers. Through this initiative and with the support of our collaborators, we are making STEM more accessible to individuals of all ages and backgrounds,” said Barbara Walters, Executive Director of NCW Libraries.

As part of the grant program, the Quincy library will host three traveling exhibits, facilitate three STREAM programs annually, create and lend three outreach kits, and develop an exploration space in their library, which is already set up. All programs and exhibits will be presented in English and Spanish.

Through the end of November, library patrons are invited to be a creative problem-solver at the Animation Studio, share their creativity at the Story Wall, and test their engineering skills at the Wind Tunnel.

The space and exhibits are open to all library patrons to explore while the library is open. 

“The kids and families of the Quincy community have been extremely excited to have this interactive exhibit in our library. After having a year without toys and activities due to Covid, they appreciate this even more. It’s been great to see their faces light up with excitement and to hear giggles while playing with it,” said Quincy Library Branch Supervisor Schiree Ybarra.

The library will get new STEAM exhibits in August 2022 and July 2023. In between the traveling exhibits, the library will develop its own.

“We are really excited and thankful to be part of this program,” Ybarra said.

We appreciate the generous endorsements from our community collaborators — Microsoft TechSpark, Washington State University Cooperative Extension and the Apple STEM Network — and look forward to working with these organizations to expand STEAM offerings in the region.

The STAR Net STEAM Equity Project is offered by the National Center for Interactive Learning at the Space Science Institute, the American Library Association, Twin Cities PBS, Institute for Learning Innovation, and Education Development Center, with funding from the National Science Foundation.

Public libraries are hubs for lifelong learning, especially in rural communities that may not have easy access to the scientific and academic centers in more urban locations, and they can bridge the gap to better prepare the next generation of Latino Americans for careers in STEM, the American Library Association said in a prepared statement. 

With more than 50 million individuals, the Latino population is now the U.S.’ largest ethnic minority group and the fastest growing segment of the rural population. However, Latinos earn only 9 percent of the STEM bachelor’s degrees nationwide and make up only 11 percent of the U.S. science and engineering workforce (and only 1.8 percent are Latinas), according to government statistics provided by ALA.

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