Rock Island Library wins Project Next Generation grant

Rock Island Public Library

The Rock Island Public Library has received a $1,300 grant to help with mentoring efforts for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) learning.

The Project Next Generation (PNG) grant will help the “Your Future in STEAM” program, which will engage local teens with technology and help them learn about future career paths in fields using STEAM concepts. The seven-month project begins this September.

“STEAM skills are a big part of our daily lives and careers, but they can seem abstract,” said Emily Tobin, the library’s Young Adult Librarian. “Our activities will demonstrate practical STEAM applications, and help teens explore possible career paths beyond high school.”

Grant-funded activities include a mix of kits and in-person events. The hands-on kits will introduce STEAM concepts to ages 9 to 18, with activities ranging from general problem-solving skills to more specific scientific principles. Through in-person events and videos, the library will work with local partners to introduce teens to mentors in various fields. 

“At the end of the grant, our goal is to help young people recognize what skills they already possess, and learn about skills they might want to develop in the future,” Ms. Tobin.

The first “Your Future in STEAM” kit is an airplane challenge for ages 9 to 18. It will be available for pick up at Rock Island Library locations beginning Thursday, Sept. 8. All events and kits are provided at no charge to participants.

PNG projects were awarded grants by the Illinois State Library using federal Library Services and Technology Act funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Grants are awarded to public libraries serving culturally diverse, low-income and underserved populations.

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