Did you know the average publication year of STEM books in many Washington school libraries is 1997? While it’s true that “Trees haven’t changed much in the last 20 years.” formatting and the visual appeal of books have. If we want to attract children to our collections it’s important that the material we provide is current and appealing.
With this thought in mind, last summer Youth Services Coordinator Carolyn Petersen solicited ideas from her Teacher Librarians advisory group. Out of this meeting of the minds came “The Future STEMS from Reading” grant cycle. The Follett Book Publisher won the contract to supply three different collections of award winning books, Elementary, Middle and High School levels.
When the grant opened in the fall of 2015, the applications came pouring in. Boy did this show how great the need truly was! 249 applications later we read about collections that were over 20 years old, books that were kept even though they were falling apart because there were no funds to replace them, and kids doing science projects with only the web as a resource because the school library had one or no up to date books on a topic.
In the end 230 collections are being sent out in January: 120 to elementary school libraries, 59 to middle school libraries and 51 to high school libraries. We can’t wait to see the pictures of the kids as they open the boxes and check out their new books.
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