Cornerstones of Science News

Berkeley picture

Cornerstones: STEM @ Berkeley Public Library

By Cornerstones of Science News, Latest News

Berkeley picture

“Working on a national scale is something Cornerstones has been engaged in for about three years now,” stated Sarah Post, Program and Library Support Manager. “We are doing this in a variety of ways from engaging public libraries and astronomy clubs in over 23 states through our Library Telescope Program, to a STEM project through an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant that works with six public libraries in Maine and Massachusetts and state libraries in four states. There is also our NASA@ My Library Project work with 75 public libraries in 49 states and four state library agencies, and now the Cornerstones: STEM@ Berkeley Public Library initiative.”

As a subset of the IMLS grant along with additional funds, Cornerstones and the Berkeley Public Library in Berkeley, CA were able to understand the library’s STEM capacity by seeking input from the library staff, board, and community. They used that feedback and made a plan of action that incorporates STEM into the library in a way that is community centered, engages all age groups, and is part of everyday operations. Check out what they are doing!

Time to Check Your Telescope Red-dot EZ Finder Batteries!

A Quick Reminder from… The Cornerstones of Science Library Telescope Program

By Cornerstones of Science News, Latest News

The CoS Library Telescope program started in 2012, so there are quite a few telescopes out there now. We have had very few problems with them over the years, but we want to make sure you check the battery/batteries in the telescope Red-dot EZ Finder. It is a good habit to check the batteries periodically for both function and safety. The Red-dot EZ Finder is the LED sighting scope located on the optical tube. There is no need to remove the Finder from the telescope to change the batteries.

Telescopes with a lithium battery (small button battery) (see top picture): The battery compartment is located on the underside of the EZ Finder. Pull down on the tab that shows where the battery is located. NOTICE how the battery is currently situated in the compartment so if you have to change the battery then you will see how it is seated.

Telescopes with AA battery pack (see bottom picture): The battery pack is located on the side of the EZ Finder and opened with a small Philips screwdriver. If you find a little bit of corrosion in the black battery pack, clean it out, and replace the batteries. Some corrosion is common when tools have batteries.

Time to Check Your Telescope Red-dot EZ Finder Batteries!

Check your Owner’s manual for more information or the Orion website at for an instructional video on How to Replace the EZ Finder Battery.

Hannaford Helps

Hannaford Helps ME Bag

By Cornerstones of Science News, Latest News

Hello Maine Community and Beyond,

Hannaford HelpsFor the entire the month of September Cornerstones of Science will receive $1 from each Hannaford Helps bag (Good Karma bag only) purchased at the Hannaford located in Brunswick, ME. This is an amazing opportunity for Cornerstones of Science not only to raise funds, but to also spread awareness about our cause within the community.

Hannaford helps bagPlease show your support by purchasing these beautifully designed reusable bags! They can be found on the reusable bag rack and at various registers. As a reminder, the Hannaford Helps bag features the good karma message.  We strongly encourage you to share this news with family and friends as well!

For more information about the program, please visit

Our goal is to sell 1,000 bags to support our Library Science Trunk Program, which would allow 30 science trunks filled with hands-on science activities to be delivered to public libraries around the state of Maine. We are confident that with the help of our dedicated supporters, we can reach this goal during our month in the program and further carry out our mission.

Thank you for your support,

Cynthia Randall
Cornerstones of Science
Executive Director

Hannaford Helps ME Bag



Getting goggles for the eclipse

CoS at the Eclipse

By Cornerstones of Science News, Latest News

Cornerstones in the Path of Totality for the Eclipse

“The beauty of totality is almost indescribable! Taking off your solar glasses at the moment the moon completely covers the sun was like opening a door to another world. To look up at the brilliant corona with red prominences jutting out and seeing all of this in constant motion, a boiling around the blackness of the moon against the sun, it was an unequaled beauty.”-Sarah Post

Getting goggles for the eclipseCornerstones of Science’s Program and Library Support Manager Sarah Post spent the day of the eclipse in Festus, MO as part of her work on the NASA@MY Library project. The Festus Public Library is one of three pilot libraries in the US on the project and with much planning over a year’s time with numerous partners, the day of the eclipse in Festus was a huge community success and one Sarah and others around the US will not forget.


Crowd at the eclipseOver 5,000 people attended an all-day outdoor event on August 21, 2017 in West City Park in Festus, which is about a 40-minute drive south of St. Louis. Fifteen hands-on science activities were ongoing throughout the day facilitated by scientists, librarians, and volunteers. People from all over the world were in attendance as well as those who drove in from surrounding states and those who only lived minutes away. First contact (the beginning of the partial eclipse) began at 11:49am with totality starting at 1:17pm and lasting for two minutes and 36 seconds. Partners included Festus Public Library, Town of Festus, St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis Astronomical Society, the Space Science Institute, Cornerstones of Science, and local vendors.


Getting telescopes ready for the eclipseThe Festus Public Library director Kathy Condon-Boettcher was the foundation for the event’s success by coordinating with all the partners and attending eclipse task force events and training throughout the year all the while still running the library. A big thanks goes to her and her staff.

Exhibit table at the eclipse eventEclipse event - boy with craftPicture of eclipse viewing device

New Resources Available on the Cornerstones of Science Website

By Cornerstones of Science News, Latest News

COS LogoCornerstones of Science Website

As promised, Cornerstones of Science has new online resources available including a new way to purchase library telescopes, find citizen science opportunities, and find science presenters to come to your library.

Citizen Science Projects- Go to the bottom of the Cornerstones of Science home page at “Find A Project!” This is a searchable database of actual citizen science opportunities that you and your family can contribute to thanks to SciStarter.Click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Telescope Purchasing- Starting at the end of April, look for our new online Store for purchasing your next library telescope! Also available are FAQ’s, customizable forms, and other telescope updates. Look for the “Store” tab along top banner of the website toward the end of April.

Science Provider Network- In collaboration with Colby College, the Cornerstones of Science Science Provider Network will be populated soon with scientists from in and around the Waterville area. We will be working with others in the near future to continue building the database for presenters all around Maine. Cornerstones encourages you to add your library to the database and to have scientists in your area also sign up with their information and preferences for presenting. Keep a look out for this beginning in May!

2016 Cornerstones of Science Library Partner Summit

By Cornerstones of Science News

We invite you and your fellow public librarians to this special 1-day conference in Portland.

Library Partner Summit

Our focus is on four professional development themes: Becoming a STEM facilitator, building robust STEM community partnerships, raising funds for STEM in your library, and marketing library programs. This event is held in partnership with the Maine State Library as part of an IMLS National Leadership Grant.


Location: Portland Public Library (Main Library)

Date/Time: Friday, Dec. 9, 8:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.

Cost: Free! With a light breakfast and lunch included. Parking and mileage reimbursed.

Register by clicking the link below and filling out a short form.

The Library Telescope as Part of the Space Exhibit at the Portland Science Center

By Cornerstones of Science News

Boy with telescope and moon

The Portland Science Center, with their new Space exhibit, and Cornerstones of Science have recently partnered together to incorporate a library telescope into the Space exhibit!

You will see the library telescope (an Orion StarBlast 4.5″ Reflector Telescope on a Dobsonian base) with a banner explaining what you can do to learn more about space.

“Take that next step and experience space in your own backyard by checking-out a library telescope from your local public library. Over fifty libraries in Maine have Orion StarBlast 4.5 inch Reflector telescopes to check-out like you do a book!

Cornerstones of Science and public libraries have partnered to make this happen. Cornerstones is an informal science organization that works with libraries creating experiences of science that spark curiosity and foster a deeper connection to the world around us. Visit one of the public libraries listed below for a library telescope or encourage your local public library to participate.”

Library Name, City
Auburn Public Library, Auburn
Bangor Public Library, Bangor
Belfast Free Library, Belfast
Blue Hill Public Library, Blue Hill
Boothbay Public Library, Boothbay
Bowdoinham Public Library, Bowdoinham
Bridgton Public Library, Bridgton
Camden Public Library, Camden
Canaan Public Library, Canaan
Cary Library, Houlton
Casco Public Library, Casco
Cundy’s Harbor Library, Cundy’s Harbor
Curtis Memorial Librar,y Brunswick
D.A. Hurd Library, North Berwick
Falmouth Public Library, Falmouth
Gibbs Library, Washington
Hartland Public Library, Hartland
Ivan O. Davis Library, Liberty
Jackson Memorial Library, Tenants Harbor
Jefferson Public Library, Jefferson
Jesup Memorial Library, Bar Harbor
Lewiston Public Library, Lewiston
Limerick Public Library, Limerick
Lisbon Public Library, Lisbon
McArthur Public Library, Biddeford
Merrill Memorial Library, Yarmouth
Mildred Stevens Williams Memorial Library, Appleton
Newport Cultural Center, Newport
Northeast Harbor Library, Northeast Harbor
Orr’s Island Library, Orr’s Island
Patten Free Library, Bath
Pittsfield Public Library, Pittsfield
Portland Public Librar,y Portland
Prince Memorial Library, Cumberland
Raymond Public Library, Raymond
Rockland Public Library, Rockland
Scarborough Public Library, Scarborough
Shaw Memorial Library, Greenville
Skidompha Public Library, Damariscotta
South Paris Public Library South Paris
Southwest Harbor Library Southwest Harbor
Swans Island Public Library Swans island
Thompson Free Library, Dover-Foxcroft
Topsham Public Library, Topsham
Vassalboro Public Library, Vassalboro
Waterville Public Library, Waterville
William Fogg Library, Eliot
Windham Public Library, Windham
Winslow Public Library, Winslow
Wiscasset Public Library, Wiscasset
Witherle Memorial Library, Castine
York Public Library, York

The Science Learning Ecosystem

By Cornerstones of Science News

In John Falk’s report, Taking an Ecosystem Approach to STEM Learning, he and others on the report researched the amount of learning that happens outside of the formal education system and the need to connect these informal activities to empower people for a deeper learning experience.

Falk is a Sea Grant Professor of Free-Choice STEAM Learning, Oregon State University, and also the Director at the Institute for Learning Innovation (2.0). View John Falk speak about his research to the Cornerstones of Science Board of Directors at the Experience Cornerstones event in October 2015.

Click here to view John Falk talking about the power of STEM learning in informal settings

NASA @My Library Project

By Cornerstones of Science News

The Space Science Institute (SSI) along with its partners were recently awarded a five year NASA Cooperative Agreement. The project commences in January 2016, but preliminary details of the work Cornerstones will be involved with are presented here:

The overarching goal with SSI and the partners is to develop effective STEM programs in public libraries using NASA resources and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) that reach underserved populations (e.g. rural communities) and underrepresented groups. Partners include the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), Pacific Science Center (PSC), Cornerstones of Science (CoS), American Library Association (ALA), and the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the Univ. of Colorado.

The NASA@My Library patron experience component of the project is designed to test and validate 5-years of experience, that connects people, via public libraries, with space-related, experiences, assets and resources such as: star parties, loanable telescopes and working alongside astronomers and researchers. The goal is a patron experience that allows participants to move a long a spectrum – from their first introductions to science through a series of experiences, engaging activities and contributing to them contributing to science research.

A major component of the NASA@My Library project is to create, and evaluate a “program continuum” comprised of three components: 1) an Organizational Framework loosely based on Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle; 2) the blending of loanable science tools, experiences, locations and interactions with the space science research community; and finally, 3) integrating the recent cognitive psychology research around the “powers of interest” – both intrinsic and situational – that encourages families to move from vicarious observational learning to the action of seeking out and contributing to the collection of data and observations that define being “scientifically literate.”

Stay tuned for further details and updates as the project unfolds!