Title

A PLACE for Service Learning: How a STEM grant program can model service learning opportunities

Start Date

10-8-2018 1:30 PM

End Date

10-8-2018 2:15 PM

Description

In the spring of 2017, the Bryan + College Public Library System received a $1,000 grant from NOAA & NSF to produce three informal STEM programs for adults centered around climate change and extreme weather events. The programs, which revolved around the discussion of a pre-selected topical book and a theme-based science cafe dialogue, were bolstered by the presence and expertise of a science partner (faculty member) from Texas A&M University’s Atmospheric Science Department. At the program’s conclusion, the authors found that these sessions had led to engaged discussions with community members, a strengthening of ties between the university, the public library, and the community, and to larger and more diverse patron attendance at adult programs. Due to these successes and the positive feedback these programs received, the authors believe that informal learning through STEM programming can be applied as an inexpensive and effective avenue for service learning. In this presentation, the authors will argue that academic librarians and students should consider public libraries, with their strong community connections and service-oriented values, as a natural fit for service learning opportunities, and that collaborative ventures between universities and public libraries should be encouraged for the many beneficial results.

Short bio of the presenter(s)

Jennifer Wilhelm is an Assistant Professor and Business Librarian at Texas A&M University, where she researches collaborative librarianship and serves students and faculty within the Mays Business School. Prior to Texas A&M, she worked at the Bryan + College Station Public Library System as an Adult Reference Librarian.

Jessica Jones is a Branch Manager for the Bryan + College Station Public Library System. She has been working in libraries for more than ten years with experience in both academic and public sectors, serving in technical services, reference, faculty, and management roles.

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Aug 10th, 1:30 PM Aug 10th, 2:15 PM

A PLACE for Service Learning: How a STEM grant program can model service learning opportunities

In the spring of 2017, the Bryan + College Public Library System received a $1,000 grant from NOAA & NSF to produce three informal STEM programs for adults centered around climate change and extreme weather events. The programs, which revolved around the discussion of a pre-selected topical book and a theme-based science cafe dialogue, were bolstered by the presence and expertise of a science partner (faculty member) from Texas A&M University’s Atmospheric Science Department. At the program’s conclusion, the authors found that these sessions had led to engaged discussions with community members, a strengthening of ties between the university, the public library, and the community, and to larger and more diverse patron attendance at adult programs. Due to these successes and the positive feedback these programs received, the authors believe that informal learning through STEM programming can be applied as an inexpensive and effective avenue for service learning. In this presentation, the authors will argue that academic librarians and students should consider public libraries, with their strong community connections and service-oriented values, as a natural fit for service learning opportunities, and that collaborative ventures between universities and public libraries should be encouraged for the many beneficial results.