Over the summer, I attended the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools conference entitled From STEM to STEAM: Girls’ Schools Leading the Way, held at the gorgeous St. Catherine’s School in Richmond, VA. A colleague and I did a 20 minute “speed dating” presentation on our school’s capstone program, which began in large part due to the interesting work our students were doing in their STEM internships and Advanced Arts projects.
It was a really good conference, but there was a gap for me. I didn’t meet a lot of librarians there nor were there any library-specific sessions. There were some tangential offerings that I found useful (notes here), but it made me wonder, where is the STEAM in our libraries?
Can I ask this, though? Who among you is an UPPER SCHOOL with a thriving Maker Space? I was blown away with Dottie and Courtney’s program at Shorecrest during last year’s annual conference, but I want to see one of that caliber flowing through the life of an upper school library. I don’t mean next door to or across campus, I would love to see one built within the books, old school and new school seamlessly meshed. Does such a place exist? If so, can you please comment below so that I can put in a PD request to come visit you?
A rep for Creative Learning Systems recently visited my school to speak with our STEAM team lead. She passed the packet along knowing that it would excite me. Spoiler alert: it did. Did you watch the video?! I will wake up at the crack of dawn in late October and drive down to Orange, NJ to see a public high school class using their Smart Lab, to talk with the kids and with the teachers and managers of the space. There is no way that I can afford something like this, but I love the concept and I want to think about incorporating it within our library space. If not piece by piece, then maybe a pitch to development to take on the road at some point.
So here are my questions for YOU.
Should existing curriculum drive space/tool design or is it an “if you build it, they will come” situation?
Are you doing a low tech version of this successfully in your upper school?
Who manages your space?
Who cleans up–students, teacher whose class is using the space, or library staff?
If it’s not a maker space that ties into STEAM, what is your tie in? [Other than your awesome collection development skills, that is.]
If you were going to present at a STEAM conference, what would you present?
I am literally at the edge of my seat, waiting to hear your response. 🙂
Have a great day!