For the past two years, the Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA) has been hard at work developing a new advocacy plan that would be ready for the next Pennsylvania Governors administration.
The PaLA Board endorsed the plan in August 2010 and is now beginning to use the plan to launch a new era for library services in Pennsylvania. (Copies may be obtained at http://palibraries.org/literacy.)
The initiative, dubbed Libraries and 21st Century Literacies, refocuses and reinforces the ways in which libraries, the Peoples University, support Pennsylvanians in leading successful, productive lives. This initiative redefines the library's role in our Commonwealth within the context of five essential literacies that Pennsylvanians must attain in order to succeed as citizens, parents, students, employers, employees, and consumers.
21st Century ALA Science Literacy Links
Thomas Jefferson said, “Democracy demands wisdom and vision in its citizens.” That is at least as true in the context of science and technology as in any other context, as judged by the need for humans: (1) to build understanding in the 21st century about how big scientific issues and events influence and shape their lives, in matters of civics and health for example; (2) to learn how they must come to terms with the global implications of scientific and technological achievements.
For access to the ALA/NSF-sponsored program Research Revolution: Science and the Shaping of Modern Life, initiated in 2003, listen to the podcast done by Monroeville Public Library in 2011 with PCBL’s own Dr. Charles B. Greenberg: http://monroevillelibrary.org/soundwavs.php.
Dr. Greenberg is PA’s only trained facilitator for the program. He will next be giving it in spring 2012 at the University of Pittsburgh, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
Two other great ALA initiatives in recognition of the importance of science literacy in the modern world are: (1) Great Web Site for Kids at http://www.ala.org/gwstemplate.cfm?section=greatwebsites&template=/cfapps/gws/default.cfm and (2) ALA Announces Discover Earth at http://ala.org/ala/newspresscenter/news/pr.cfm?id=7396.
Discover Earth module is now available online
The Lunar and Planetary Institute is pleased to announce the release of Discover Earth: Hands-on Activities, a module to support hands-on Earth science explorations in libraries and other places of community learning. Educators are invited to download the activities, supporting reading games, and facilitator resources — all free for educational use — at www.lpi.usra.edu/explore/discoverEarth. For questions or comments relating to these materials, please contact the Explore program team at
The Discover Earth activities focus on Earth science topics close to home — such as local weather and the plants, animals, crops, and environmental features unique to your region — as well as a global view of our changing planet. There are icebreaker activities, science investigations, weather observations, crafts, and more! The activities are designed to be easy to implement, and they require readily available — and generally inexpensive — materials. The activities are designed for use with audiences in the following four age ranges: 5 to 7, 8 to 9, 10 to 13, and teens. Reading games — customized for ages 5 to 9, 10 to 13, and teens — combine book lists and reading logs into take-home adventures that support the hands-on activities. The reading games and reading lists can even be customized to suit your institutions’ resources and needs! The Facilitator's Resources packet includes background information, resource lists, and other information designed to assist you in facilitating the activities.
Discover Earth: Hands-on Activities is part of the STAR Library Education Network (STAR_Net), led by the National Center for Interactive Learning at the Space Science Institute. Network partners include the American Library Association, the Lunar and Planetary Institute, and the National Girls Collaborative Project. Discover Earth is supported through a grant from the National Science Foundation. The module was developed for libraries to use in support of the Discover Earth: A Century of Changetraveling exhibit, though it may be implemented independently.
Librarians, scientists, engineers, educators, museum staff, and others are invited to join the STAR_Net online community! The website fosters collaboration among professionals who want to provide or support Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) learning experiences in libraries. Please join the online community (community.discoverexhibits.org) and share your experiences implementing the Discover Earth activities with your colleagues.
Many libraries want to introduce STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) into their programming to attract new audiences and help stimulate children’s interest in science and technology. Discover Earth is a traveling exhibit for public libraries which showcases earth science topics such as weather, climate, and polar ecosystems, and pulls together many effective resources to help librarians. Hear from public library exhibit hosts and learn about a Community of Practice for librarians and scientists who want to create innovative STEM programs in libraries.
Speakers: Paul Dusenbery and Lisa R. Curtis, National Center for Interactive Learning/Space Science Institute; Stephanie Shipp and Keliann LaConte, Lunar and Planetary Institute; Susan Brandehoff, ALA Public Programs Office, and Karen Peterson, National Girls Collaborative Project.