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Science, Technology, engineering, and math (STEM)

STEM Programs in Public Libraries

In March 2018, the Office of Commonwealth Libraries conducted a survey of Pennsylvania’s public libraries to determine the extent to which they are offering STEM programs and services.
 
The survey found that nearly every public library in the commonwealth offers some type of STEM program or activity. Survey highlights included:
 
  • 94% or 291 public libraries offer STEM programs, equipment or services for youth and/or adults
  • Of those that offer programs, equipment or services, 54% focus on youth and 40% focus on both youth and adults
  • 39% have either MakerSpaces, digital production or creation labs, or STEM exhibit spaces
  • 51% base all or some of their programs on PA Academic Standards
  • 71% of all respondents say that library staff need more training about STEM programs.

A similar survey was conducted in March 2017. Compared to 2017, the following changes were found in 2018: 

  • STEM programs for middle and high school age youth grew 7% and 16% respectively. 
  • STEM equipment available for the public has grown. For example, 117 have robotics equipment (87 in 2017); 74 libraries report having physics equipment (50 in 2017); 51 libraries report having 3D printers (36 in 2017); 61 report having digital production equipment (42 in 2017); 105 report having tablets loaded with STEM apps (80 in 2017) 
  • Public STEM spaces such as maker spaces, digital production labs, exhibit spaces, etc. grew 53%.

Detailed survey results are available:
 

Directory of makerspaces & digital production Labs

Using the March 2017 Public Library STEM survey, a directory of MakerSpaces that are located at Pennsylvania public libraries was compiled. The Office of Commonwealth Libraries plans to use its 2018 survey data to compile a new directory by late summer 2018.