NASA@ My Library displayCornerstones just completed its five-year contract as a Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) on the NASA@ My Library grant project funded by NASA. Partners on this exciting project include the Space Science Institute and its National Center for Interactive Learning (PI), American Library Association, Educational Development Center, Pacific Science Center, Lunar and Planetary Institute, and Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, and NASA. All of the work resided under NASA’s Science Mission Directorate with the NASA@ My Library project being a national Earth and space science initiative that connects NASA, state library agencies, public libraries, and their communities.

Another NASA@ My Library displayThe first year of the project consisted of choosing 70 public libraries to participate with us and for piloting community dialogues and science kit activities. The next year was all about developing more of the STEM Activity Clearinghouse, working with our partner libraries and getting them ready for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. The next few years we continued developing public library kits pertaining to relevant earth and space science activities. We also chose 18 state library agencies to work with us and we ultimately developed circulating state library science kits for public libraries and a guide for other state library agencies interested in this type of work. Click here to see how the Maryland State Library promoted some of their kits.

In the last two years, in collaboration with a professor at Northern Illinois University and the Space Science Institute, Cornerstones undertook an exciting research project to determine ways to increase science interest in patrons in a public library setting. The final year (2020) had its challenges with the COVID-19 virus, but our work continued, and we were able to pivot and still make a difference in helping library patrons connect with earth and space science content. SSI’s National Center for Interactive Learning STAR Net website holds most of the tools and resources that have come out of the NASA@ My Library project, with more content being added in the future including articles and a video about increasing science interest in libraries which offers ways of getting more patrons to programs and events, and also the state library agency guide mentioned above.

“We are honored to be a part of this important work of increasing access to earth and space science content,” said Cornerstones of Science Program and Library Support Manager Sarah Post. “The COVID-19 pandemic has made us even more aware of the critical importance of STEM literacy and outreach.”