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DUKE Energy Becomes a Partner in Library’s STEM Efforts

If you have driven by the Erlanger Branch Library recently, you may have wondered what’s going on. Last fall, construction started on three projects at the branch: a makerspace, a large auditorium/meeting room and a separate building to house the administration offices. Far left Executive Director, Dave Schroeder, Board of Trustees (left to right): Douglas Stephens, Louise Canter, Susan Mospens, Casey Ruschman (Duke Energy), Julie Roesel Belton, Dan Humpert On Tuesday, May 15, Duke Energy gave a big boost to this anxiously awaited project. Duke Energy presented the Kenton County Public Library Board of Trustees with a $10,000 grant that will go towards materials and equipment for the new makerspace. Republic Bank was the first sponsor of the makerspace with a donation of $5,000. Schultz Marketing and Communications and The Lawrence Firm, PSC, have also contributed.   Many ask “what is a makerspace?”  By definition, it is a place in which people with shared interests, especially in computing or technology, can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment, and knowledge. The Library provides the space, equipment and materials, and visitors are the makers.   The Library’s Executive Director Dave Schroeder explains why this space is so important.  “As we look toward the future, we realize there is great need for a stronger focus to provide STEM and STEAM related activities.  STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking[1].  However we at the Library have realized that while STEM and STEAM are wonderful movements, there is one critical component being left out – reading.”   Schroeder goes on to explain, “Without having a strong [...]

Astronomy at the Library

What are you doing on August 21, 2017? On that date, there will be a Total Solar Eclipse visible in the United States… the first one since 1979! While we are not on the path of totality in Northern Kentucky, meaning the entire sun will not be blocked by the moon‘s shadow in our line of sight; we will be able to see about 90% of the sun covered! This will be the most exciting astronomical event in the US for quite some time, and I am very excited to share not just the solar eclipse, but space in general!   In February, there was a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse, meaning that we were seeing the edges of the earth’s shadow on the moon. In order to share the experience with as many people as possible, I held a Lunar Eclipse program that evening at the Erlanger Branch. 75 people of a wide range of ages attended to learn about the eclipse, build some models of how eclipses work, and practice “becoming” eclipses themselves. We also took the library’s 8” Dobsonian Reflector telescope out on the front sidewalk to look at the moon during the eclipse. Since it was a Penumbral Eclipse and not a total Lunar Eclipse, it wasn’t a spectacular event, but the view of the moon that night was very good regardless! During the program, families created models, then used flashlights to simulate the sun’s light. If you did not make it to the Lunar Eclipse program, there are many other opportunities for you to experience the wonders of space at KCPL. I frequently hold children’s and all-ages programs related to astronomy and space. In fact, On April 13, at 7:00 pm, I will [...]

Local Librarian Named as a Mover & Shaker

Photo credit: Michael Wilson Ann Schoenenberger of the Kenton County Public Library has been named a “Mover & Shaker” in the library industry by the national publication Library Journal. In its March 15, 2017 issue, Library Journal named 52 outstanding professionals committed to providing excellent service and shaping the future of libraries. Ann was selected for her commitment to the profession and innovation in working with the community.   Ann currently serves as a Digital Librarian for the Kenton County Public Library. As Digital Librarian, Ann oversees the Library’s e-newsletter, the library’s marketing segmentation program and chat services. Ann has also been using innovative technology to engage people who may not otherwise use the library.   This year’s class of 52 joins a group of talented professionals who are dedicated, innovative, and passionate about their service to the library and their community.   The STEM/STEAM movement, which focuses on science, technology, engineering, (arts), and math, has been steadily working its way through schools and libraries across the nation. From this movement, maker spaces have been developed. A maker space is a place where people of all ages can go to conduct hands-on activities and projects with a variety of traditional tools, such as a sewing machine, or by using more current digital technology such as a 3D printer.   Ann has worked to make strong partnerships with local web developers, tech companies and the maker community. She encouraged user groups to use the library and hosted Coder & Maker Club workshops on soldering, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Python and physical computing. Through the use of Coursera MOOCs and help from tech mentors, she offered a complete 12 week "Beginning Programming" course that evolved into a [...]

Maker Space Coming to Your Library

If you have visited or driven past the Erlanger Branch Library lately, you might be wondering what is being built. There are two projects. One is an administrative center to house Collection Development, Human Resources, Public Relations, Information Technology and the Business Office. The other is an addition to the current facility that will include a meeting room that can hold 450 people and a 1700 square-foot STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Education, Art and Math) Center, most commonly known as a maker space. Everything is expected to be completed by January, 2018. Administrative Center Construction Meeting Room and Maker Space Construction   The Digicart was a huge success. However, with that success came a demand for a more expansive selection of technology in the Digicart. The Digicart quickly became Digicarts as we expanded our services to include a VHS to DVD conversion service, record to CD conversion service, and a vinyl cutter. While the Digicart was mostly focused on STEM, we still wanted to be sure to include the arts and a love of reading. Thus, the STREAM Center began to take shape. However, while we will soon have a large space to house all of our maker space materials, we still need to be mobile since we visit local schools. The current Digicart has visited over 1,000 students at five area schools. I see this as an important part of what we do here. We make these materials available to local school teachers because we realize their resources are limited. This allows teachers to give their students more thought provoking interactions in the classroom. Visiting schools isn’t the only thing I do as an Emerging Technology Programmer though. I do [...]