All Posts By

Cornerstones of Science

Apollo 11 launch

Rocket Time!

By Fall 2019 Newsletter, Latest News

The Universe of Stories summer reading theme and Rocket Camp Week at the Stephen’s Central Library in San Angelo, TX, proved to be a great ride this past summer. Summer reading and Rocket Camp are activities that the library has had in the past, but something new at the library this year helped patrons gain a better understanding of Earth and space. In early spring, the library installed a NASA@ My Library display designed to gage people’s interest in Earth and space science and to determine if people’s interest grows over time.

Read More
CoS Bug and Butterfly Science Trunk

Cornerstones Works to Stem Food Insecurity

By Fall 2019 Newsletter, Latest News

A “lunch and learn” project this past summer at three public libraries in Maine helped bring fun hands-on STEM literacy to the library and provided a healthy lunch at the same time. The summer-long project was in collaboration with Maine Campus Compact, Department of Education, Cornerstones of Science, McArthur Public Library in Biddeford, Lewiston Public Library, and Bangor Public Library. Read more about it here:

STEM Resources for Librarians Are Available Now!

By Latest News


The Cornerstones of Science YouTube page now has a number of STEM related how-to and other videos for librarians. The newest additions are three how-to videos on using astronomical tools for viewing the night sky as part of our work with the NASA@ My Library project.

How-to-training videos on science tools

STEM Stories videos

Watch short videos from seven public libraries on their successes and challenges on becoming a strong STEM library as part of a recent Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant with the Maine State Library and Cornerstones of Science.

STEM Workshops:

Attend a NASA STEM Workshop with the Space Science Institute & Lunar Planetary Institute or host your own STEM training workshop


Webinar training opportunities for librarians will prepare librarians and librarian patrons for earth and space science events:

  • What’s Up! in June, July, and August
    Short 15 min. webinars to understand what astronomical activity is happening in June, July, and August. Presented by Cornerstones of Science and Southern Maine Astronomers.
    June 11th at 2 p.m. (EST) Register here
    July 9th at 2 p.m. (EST) Register here
    August 13th at 2 p.m. (EST) Register here
  • International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) Prep A 30 min. webinar to learn about all the resources available for InOMN, which takes place on Oct 5th this year. Presented by Cornerstones of Science on September 10th at 2 p.m. (EST) Register here

Set Up a Hands-on Astronomy Activity in Your Library

By Latest News

Cornerstones of Science recently participated in the Maine Science Festival at the Bangor Civic Center in Bangor, Maine. Telescopes and space science books were set up on tables so that participants young and old could get some hands-on time with these tools and resources while inside the building.

Recreate this experience at your library (active or passive activity):

  1. Turn the optical tube so that the eyepiece is at the right height for your audience (loosen the clamshell and turn the optical tube down for youth or up for adults). If you have multiple telescopes, leave one set lower and the other one higher. (see zoom eyepieces in photos)
  2. Use the EZ Finder to locate an object down a long hallway or outside (do not point the telescope at the sun of have it where others could accidentally point it at the sun).
  3. Once you have found an object, tighten down the adjustment knob on the side of the telescope so that the optical tube does not move.
  4. Look through the zoom eyepiece to see the object. You may need to move the optical tube slightly up/down or side to side to get the object into view.
  5. Use the focuser knob to get the object clear and in focus.
  6. Turn the Zoom eyepiece from wide angle (24mm) to a zoomed in magnified image (8mm).

Add to this experience with books about space, the moon, constellations, astronomers, and telescopes. Offer a monthly Evening Sky Map print out as a take home piece

Telescope Donated to a Deserving Library

By Latest News, Library News

Thomaston Public Library in Thomaston, Maine, recently received their library telescope and training from Cornerstones of Science.  A series of interesting events led up to them taking delivery of the telescope that included a retiring Cornerstones board member with a passion for the library telescope program, and the library’s strong STEM engagement for their community.

At the end of 2018, Rudi Graf, a Cornerstones Board Member from 2014-2018, decided to retire from the board due to a health issue. The staff and board felt that they wanted to do something special to honor Rudi and the work he put into the organization. Donating a library telescope to a deserving library seemed to be the perfect idea, since the program was much beloved by Rudi, previous owner of The Science Source, a science kit development and distribution company in Waldoboro, Maine. At the same time, Cornerstones staff noticed a number of STEM initiatives that the Thomaston Public Library initiated in the past year. One such initiative was the impressive 40 Days of Summer program where they not only borrowed every Cornerstones Science Trunk to use for programming, but they held numerous other activities to help the community’s youth stay engaged throughout the summer.

A small dedication ceremony took place at the library on November 15 with Rudi Graff in attendance along with CoS staff, library staff, and library patrons.

Congrats to the Thomaston Public Library! See what they do

To learn more about the CoS Library Telescope program visit

Head Librarian Diane Giese (left), Rudi Graf (center), and librarian Caroline Ward-Nesbit (right) in the Thomaston Public Library in Thomaston, Maine.

Citizen Science Guide for Libraries Available Now

By Latest News

The Librarian’s Guide to Citizen Science by SciStarter and The School for the Future of Innovation in Society is now available.

Citizen Science Guide for Libraries is Now Available


Planning for Citizen Science Day has never been easier. The Librarian’s Guide to Citizen Science by SciStarter and The School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University (ASU) is a newly published resource specifically for libraries interested in engaging their communities in citizen science. Citizen Science Day is Saturday April 13 this year, so head on over the SciStarters Citizen Science Day webpage to find some great activities and resources as well as access to The Librarian Guide. Also, there are some impressive print-ready event materials that make it even easier to inform and remind patrons about your Citizen Science Day events and activities.

The Librarian Guide not only helps with Citizen Science Day, it goes beyond and into new ways to connect people to science throughout the year. Citizen Science activities can also be found on the Cornerstones of Science website and scrolling down to the Find a Project! section on the homepage.

We are excited to note that Cornerstones’ own Executive Director, Cynthia Randall, received a special mention on page 2 of the Guide:

SPECIAL THANKS TO: Cynthia Randall, Executive Director of Cornerstones of Science, for providing the foundation for this Guide and for her professional guidance in supporting public libraries as vibrant community hubs for citizen science.

Cynthia has been a champion for science in libraries as Cornerstones’ ED for 7 years now and her work is visionary and inspiring. This special thanks does not come as a surprise to those who work with her closely, but we are grateful to SciStarter and ASU for honoring her in this way.

Join a fellow Maine library and others in offering a Megathon event during Citizen Science Day!

COS Logo

A Vision for Libraries, 20 Years in the Making

By Latest News

A Vision for Libraries, 20 Years in the Making

Cornerstones of Science founder Lee Grodzins is an inventor, an MIT professor emeritus of physics, and cofounder of the Union of Concerned Scientists. In 1999, he initiated the award-winning Cornerstones of Science program in partnership with the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick, Maine. Since then, Cornerstones has evolved into a nonprofit organization backed by an expert board of directors, a dedicated staff, and a growing network of more than 300 public libraries around the country.

Public libraries: Trusted advocates for STEM learning

Science literacy is declining in America, and engaging the public in informal science learning, through public libraries, works to address this critical issue. Cornerstones is on a mission to partner with public libraries across America to strengthen their ability to connect patrons to important science-based community issues and interests, such as health, sustainability, astronomy, water quality and conservation, and climate change.

Our nation is home to only a small handful of science centers and aquariums. However, there are roughly 9,000 public libraries with 17,000 branches. Cornerstones is working with librarians and scientists to help libraries transform themselves into the primary place for youth, adults, and families to engage in interesting and locally relevant science experiences. Cornerstones helps libraries fill this vital role by providing turnkey kits, training, and resources needed to create a scientifically literate public.

Programs that connect communities with science

Cornerstones’ products and services are designed in partnership with public libraries. Together we create places and approaches that help connect patrons and communities with STEM experiences and science providers of local interest and importance.

Our current offerings include programs, training, and online resources.

The Cornerstones Model is a comprehensive package that combines workbooks and guides with in-person and virtual training to help librarians develop the skills they need to connect their communities through science.

The Loanable Library Telescope Program trains librarians and local astronomer mentors to put user-friendly telescopes in the hands of children and families. More than 50,000 people have been able to borrow telescopes, just as they would borrow a book, through 300 libraries in 22 states.

Online digital resources like the STEM Activity Clearinghouse provides librarians with free, vetted, engaging STEM activities and speakers appropriate for library audiences.

Recognizing the growing demand for science literacy in libraries

Cornerstones is recognized as a go-to source for high-quality, turnkey science products, training, and services that increase a library’s ability to deliver engaging and sustainable science programs.

Over $1 million in highly competitive federal grants awarded by NASA, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the National Science Foundation recognize the importance of this work.

Strategic partnerships with state library agencies accelerate libraries’ adoption of Cornerstones’ products and services, and reach across the nation.

Cornerstones@Berkeley, first branded “Cornerstones@” site. The public library is a science resource center and demonstration site that engages patrons and the community in science programs. This highly successful partnership has galvanized a cadre of science advocates within the Berkeley Public Library and surrounding scientific community.

Cornerstones of Science is celebrating its 20-year anniversary throughout 2019

Please let Cornerstones know if you have a “Cornerstones story” or experience that you would like to share. Did you have a fun experience with a science trunk activity or library telescope, did you attend one of our Library Partner Summit events and have a memorable moment, or did you have a conversation about Cornerstones with Lee or board or staff member that was inspiring? We hope to hear from you and THANK YOU for all your support over these many years!