For the past couple of years STEM has been more and more the focus of conversation in the United States. One thing that you might not hear talked about that much is the importance of making sure that those going into STEM fields come from diverse backgrounds, In an effort to ensure that diversity exists in the STEM workforce, some organizations have chosen to focus on this area. This includes The Center for STEM Diversity and the STEM Diversity Institute (SDI) at the University of Massachusetts African-American, Latino/Chicano, first-generation populations and low-income students are just a few of the groups that these institutions serve.
You can learn more about diversity in STEM in the Fall 2013 issue of YALS, in Tiffany Williams’ article Being Diverse in Our Support for STEM. One of the areas Williams’ covers is access to STEM related courses and content that might not be available in a local community. Williams’ suggests using educational opportunities such as:
In her fall 2013 article on using the YALSA Public Library Evaluation Tool, Sara Ryan (Teen Services Specialist at Multnomah County Library) provides a great set of tips and practical ideas on how to successfully evaluate teen library services AND how to use information from the evaluation in order to plan for the future. Her article covers how to:
- Convince administration that evaluating teen services will benefit the library
- Conduct the evaluation
- Communicate the results
- Create change based on what the evaluation reveals
Ryan makes it clear in her article, that the evaluation is not something that can be accomplished alone. It actually takes the whole library – from the administration who need to understand and support teen library services evaluation to colleagues who help to perform evaluation activities and analyze data collected.
It may seem counterintuitive for a program to be designed “backwards,” but this model for programming focuses on setting goals, including learning objectives and assessments, and then moves to designing the activities that focus on reaching the goals.
Such an intentional programming model is becoming increasingly popular in public libraries, as the emphasis in programming shifts from random recreational programs to programs that promote learning and the goals of the library for young adult services. You may think this takes the fun out of programming. However, using this model, Cuyahoga County Public Library designed a Lego Mindstorms robotics program that was a huge hit with youth in their communities. Legos and robotics are definitely fun!
For more details about this programming model, take a look at “Intentionally Backwards, the Future of Learning in Libraries,” by Sarah Kepple in the Fall edition of YALS.
If you are a YALSA member YALS is a perk of your membership dues. If not a member learn how to join, or learn how to subscribe.