IEEE Region 4 Science Kits for Public Libraries (SKPL) Announces 17 Grants Bringing  STEM Learning to Young Library Patrons Across the Midwest, USA

Region 4 SKPL Grants

Established in 2009, IEEE Region 4 SKPL is a donor-supported program designed to bring early engineering and STEM education kits to kindergarten through middle school children throughout the Midwest, USA. Each year the committee reviews applications and  awards grants to public libraries enabling them to offer high-quality, fun, hands-on circulating science kits. The program has seen so much success that in 2023 it is estimated over 25,000 children borrowed a SKPL science kit. 

This past month, IEEE Region 4 SKPL awarded grants to 17 new libraries across the Midwest, USA:

Sully Community LibraryIowaCentral Iowa
Withee Public LibraryWisconsinTwin Cities
Belleville Public LibraryWisconsinMadison
Dodge Center Public LibraryMinnesotaSE Minnesota
Egerton Public LibraryMinnesotaTwin Cities
Fox Lake District LibraryIllinoisNW sub Section Chicago
Genoa Public LibraryNebraskaNebraska
Glenwood City Public LibraryWisconsinTwin Cities
LaCrosse County LibraryWisconsinCoulee subsection
Mondovi Public LibraryWisconsinS Minnesota
Rauchholz Memorial LibraryMichiganNE Michigan
Slinger Community LibraryWisconsinMilwaukee
Sparta Free LibraryWisconsinS Minnesota
Watertown Regional LibrarySouth DakotaTwin Cities
Watonwan County LibraryMinnesotaTwin Cities
Wilmington Public Library DistrictIllinoisChicago
Winter Public LibraryWisconsinTwin Cities

2023 Public Library grant recipient reflects on opportunity for hands-on science education in Indiana, USA

“One of the benefits of this grant is that financial barriers will not be an issue for STEM learning and experimentation,” says Diane Randall, Director of North Manchester Public Library (NMPL). “Thanks to IEEE-Region 4, we can offer free access to the community through library checkouts. Library led programs will open doors to learning for those who are initially hesitant to test the kits on their own or who simply enjoy learning in a group setting.”

Jeanna Hann, Adult Department Manager & Marketing Coordinator also noted, “We are proud of our tight knit community, but also intensely aware of the fact that many of our patrons lack easy access to science museums, zoos, etc. These extras provide many advantages to residents of big cities. As a community center, we seek to close those gaps by providing as many opportunities as possible for hands-on learning at the library.”

“While we have many science books and DVDs available for checkout, they are no substitute (especially with children) for those hands-on experiences. Touch, sight, sounds – learning with the senses is memorable and will make STEM ‘stick’ with the kids,” adds Molly Magnus, Programming Coordinator.

Magnus continues, “SKPL’s belief is that children should have access to quality, hands-on STEM learning experiences, and in particular, all children, regardless of race, gender, financial condition, or home environment is in direct alignment with NMPL’s goal to offer social, educational, and cultural enrichment opportunities. Our goal is to offer residents, regardless of physical ability, or socio-economic status, services and programs which boost educational opportunities and provide access to services we do not have elsewhere.”

Bringing science education to the next generation

For more information on how you can help inspire the next generation of scientists, visit IEEE’s Region 4 SKPL website to make a donation or apply for a grant to launch a new library program.

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