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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!