Public Libraries and STEM Education

I have been a lifelong aficionado of public libraries and continue to believe that economic developers don’t do enough to tap into this critical community resource.  In today’s world, there really is no other public place that is open to all, and where folks from all walks of life can spend time without buying something or being part of special club or organization.  There are lots of great resources on how to tap into public libraries to support economic development, and the range of potential program options is massive.  Among other things, public libraries provide research and market analysis to companies, host maker spaces, and help to sponsor community dialogue.  As a new policy brief from Harvard’s Global Family Research Project shows, they can also be an invaluable resource for promoting STEM education.  The report, Public Libraries Engage Families in STEM, how libraries can design and promote programs that engage young people—and their parents—in STEM education efforts.   The report reviews dozens of programs and offers great tips on how to raise funds, how to engage rural families and how to ensure that diverse groups of students can tap into these resources.  It’s an excellent hands-on guide with real-life tips on what works.  Check it out!