Cornerstones of Science creates thematic programs for libraries that help people consider how science and technology shape their lives. Cornerstones’ science themes provide engaging experiences for patrons while allowing each library to present themes in ways that reflect the unique needs and interests of their community. Library staff members can readily adopt the thematic packages, which help them confidently facilitate positive patron experiences through activities, scientific presentations, and book discussions. Some libraries even host science cafés, informal get-togethers where people can chat with scientists about their research.
Science themes center on compelling books. Cornerstones brings their pages alive, sparking curiosity and connecting people directly to scientists making ground-breaking discoveries. In 2012, marking the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Cornerstones presented Silent Spring Revisited. A total of 25 scientists helped deliver 70 Cornerstones programs highlighting Carson’s work. The Marine Environmental Research Institute, for example, collaborated with Cornerstones to create its 2012 Rachel Carson Lecture Series, an impressive set of talks now accessible online.
Cornerstones’ current and upcoming science themes include:
- Sowing Seeds for Sustainability centers on the book Change Comes To Dinner, by Katherine Gustafson, an exploration of America’s food innovators that provides hopeful alternatives to the industrial food system. This theme addresses the science behind food systems and rising food costs, sustainability of food production systems, and access to healthy food. It encourages people to increase their access year-round to healthy food through the Science of a Garden Kit (created in partnership with University of Maine Cooperative Extension, 4-H and others).
- Healthy Citizens, Healthy Communities—This theme will explore the science of good health at critical stages of our lives, and the critical public health concerns facing Maine. Maine ranks, according to a recent Trust for America’s Health report, first in the nation among states for the number of new cases projected by 2030 of cancer, hypertension, and arthritis; second for new coronary heart disease & stroke cases; and third for new diabetes cases. Library patrons will learn directly from health-care providers about the tools, resources, and scientific information people need to advocate for themselves as patients.