Lifelong Learning

NASA @ My Library

Introduction

The Montana State Library is excited to have received a NASA @ My Library grant for 2019! MSL was selected to be part of Cohort 2 of the NASA @ My Library Program, a national Earth and Space Science Initiative that connects NASA, public libraries, and their communities.

The NASA @ My Library Program at Montana State Library seeks to increase and sustain the availability of NASA science-focused learning experiences for underserved audiences through:

  1. Building relations with NASA and other space science organizations
  2. Circulating multiple STEM Facilitation Kits to public libraries in their state
  3. Supporting professional development through NASA@ My Library webinars and other training opportunities
  4. Serving as NASA@ My Library advisors to offer advice, share insights, and lessons learned for other state libraries

Special thanks to these organizations for their help in providing and developing many of the materials used in this program!

 

Starnet LogoAstro Society of Pacific Logo

NASA @ My Library STEM Kits

NASA has provided the Montana State Library with two STEM kits that contain a variety of interesting and exciting space-related activities! Here is a short description of each kit:

Kit One: Sun-Earth-Moon Connections 

This kit focuses on activities and experiences that better help patrons understand their place in space, and how the Sun and Moon impact our planet. 

Kit Two: Be A NASA Detective: Expanding Your Senses

This kit focuses on activities and experiences that help patrons be more comfortable with using tools of science and making predictions based on their observations. This kit focuses on things we cannot see with our normal vision or sense with our normal senses. 

Coming Soon: The Montana State Library is developing copies of Kit 2 to be available for public libraries and their communities to use. We are looking to circulate the kits at public libraries in Montana through a hosting program. If you are interested in hosting Kit 2 at your library, please visit the 2019 NASA @ My Library STEM Kit Tour page (coming soon).

Museum of the Rockies Summer Reading Kits

The Montana State Library and the Museum of the Rockies are partnering up in honor of the 2019 Summer Reading Program theme, "A Universe of Stories." Through this partnership, MSL and MOR will be duplicating Kit One: Sun-Earth-Moon Connections to send out to public libraries to keep and use in their library programming. 

For more details on this program, please refer to the NASA @ My Library: Summer Reading Kits, Programming Ideas, and More! webinar that is scheduled for Wednesday, February 13th, 2019, from 2:30 - 3:30 pm. To register, please go to the NASA @ My Library Webinar ASPeN Registration Link.

Webinar Materials

Application for a NASA @ My Library Summer Reading Kit

To apply, please go to the MOR Summer Reading Trunk website and fill out the application form there. 

Application Deadline: Friday, March 1st, 2019

Materials in Kit One:

NASA @ My Library Program Evaluation

NASA will be collecting data on the NaML program for 2019, and using that information to better improve this program for the future. In order to help give feedback, we are asking librarians to fill out the NASA @ My Library: Sun-Earth-Moon Connections Evaluation Survey each time they use the STEM kit materials. 

The Montana State Library will also be using Project Outcome with the NASA @ My Library program to measure the impact that these materials have on Montanas across the state. Below are the links to the PDF and the online versions of the Project Outcome NaML survey.

Earth and Space Science Resources in Montana

The Montana State Library has connected with other earth and space science programs and resources in Montana. Here is a list of other organizations who focus on earth and space outreach and might serve as a valuable resource for offering this kind of programming at your library.

  • Space Outreach Team (SPOT): The Space Outreach Team is part of the Montana Space Grant Consortium,  which is part of a NASA-sponsored national network that is dedicated to strengthening aerospace research and education across the States. SPOT focuses on outreach on Montana schools, youth programs, and community groups, and presenters from Bozeman, Missoula, and Billings travel around giving talks on NASA-related space topics. A new presentation is created each year, and the program is free, although there are some requirements (minimum audience size) and limitations (scheduling). The presentations run about 45 minutes, although there is time and age-appropriate content flexibility. If you are interested in having a SPOT presenter come to your library, please contact SPOT at spot.montana@gmail.com. You can also submit a presentation request through their website: https://spacegrant.montana.edu/spot.html.
  • Big Sky Astronomy: Based in Kalispell, the Big Sky Astronomy Association is available for presentations and astronomy programming at your library! Association members regularly give presentations on a variety of space topics, and can tailor content to different age levels and audiences. Scheduling and booking a speaker is free, although their area is service is limited to Western Montana. In the summer, Big Sky Astronomy also hosts Star Parties at Logan Pass in Glacier National Park where anyone and everyone is welcome to view the sky through their telescopes, and listen to stories and facts about the night sky (summer 2019 schedule will be available in May 2019). Other areas of interest for the Big Sky Astronomy Association include fighting light pollution and participating in the International Dark Sky Association. To contact Big Sky Astronomy Association for presentation bookings and general questions, please reach out to Mark Pauslon at mhpaulson@gmail.com. Note, availability is somewhat limited, so not all requests will be able to be met. 
  • Western Montana Astronomical Association: Based in Missoula, the Western Montana Astronomical Association works on public outreach to raise awareness and appreciation of space and the night sky. In particular, WMAA has worked with a few public libraries in Montana to create a telescope lending program, based off a lending model started in New Hampshire. Training, handbooks, and guidelines were provided to interested libraries and librarians, and public talks were also given to introduce the telescope and answer general astronomy questions. Additionally, WMAA co-hosts Star Parties and Viewing Sessions at the Blue Mountain Observatory with the University of Montana in the summer. These viewing sessions happen about twice a month, and are free to the public, although you will need to reserve a space in advance as the observatory has limited capacity. The schedule for the Star Parties will be released sometime in the spring, so make sure to check out U of M’s website for more details as summer draws closer. For more questions on the telescope lending program, or any of WMAA’s activities, please contact Nick Wethington at cycliste737@gmail.com, or you can check out their website at http://www.missoulasky.org/
  • Museum of the Rockies: The Museum of the Rockies is an excellent source of space-related educational materials! Not only do they have a wonderful planetarium in-house, they have the following programs:
    • Our Home, Our World: Discovering Earth and Space Science in Kumamoto and Montana Educator's Guide - This cross-cultural curriculum covers paleontology, geology, and astronomy and are designed to be effective in both Japanese and American classrooms and museums. The guide contains several activities regarding star stories, charts, constellations, paleontology, etc and is available online. 
    • Lending Library Outreach Kits - MOR has a variety of activity kits available for use, though you will have to pay a $25 rental fee, as well as shipping one way. Space-related kits include Cosmic Colors, The Moon, Living in Space, and Rockets. Other themed kits are also available in other science-related areas!
    • STARLAB Planetariums - MOR has portable planetariums available for public use! This resource is slightly pricier with a rental fee of $175/week or $50/day, as well as shipping costs one way, but it is a really cool way to bring the planetarium experience to your community. 
  • Stellarium: Stellarium is a "free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars, or a telescope. Stellarium is very simple to use, which is one of its biggest advantages: it can be easily used by beginners. (from Stellarium.org)
  • New Hampshire Telescope Lending Program: From their website "The New Hampshire Astronomical Society, and particularly its Educational Outreach Committee, started placing telescopes and educational materials in selected libraries in New Hampshire beginning in December 2008." If you are interested in starting a program similar to this in your own library, this website has GREAT resources, from costs, set-up, circulation methods, and training, on how to do that.
  • Solar System Ambassador - Lynn Powers: Lynn Powers is part of the Solar Systems Ambassador network, and is a great resource for space-related programming and outreach. Her programs include toolkits for doing space outreach, solar telescopes for sun-viewing parties, and presentations on eclipses, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo landing, the geology of the moon, as well as an “Ask an Astronomer” program where people can come with questions to ask her, either in-person or through a webinar. Lynn has presented at libraries before, and much of her programming is scalable, according to the audience. If you are interested in bringing Lynn to your library, please feel free to reach out to her at l.powers@smasweb.org. Please note that Lynn’s schedule is more flexible during the summer, and while there is no presenter fee, she does charge for gas reimbursement.
  • STARNet - Science-Technology Activities and Resources for Libraries: This website is a GREAT way to look for STEM-related activities and ideas you can do in your library. The most useful section will be the STEM Activity Clearinghouse, where you can search and browse for high-quality and vetted STEM activities using a variety of filters such as audience, content level, difficulty, etc. Activities are also curated into collections, and STARNet has helpfully created a collection called "A Universe of Stories", for activities that are great for the summer reading theme. Other resources include webinars, a blog with news announcements, and opportunities to apply for traveling space science exhibits! 
  • Women in Science - Posters and Resources: Sponsored by the NASA Chandra X-Ray Observatory, this website celebrates notable women in STEM and the amazing contributions they made to the exploration of the world and Universe around us. You can read about these women's stories, find educational activities, as well as print out beautifully designed posters and materials to create your own bulletin board display in your library. 
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Infographics: JPL has AMAZING infographics available for free download! You can browse through a variety of available infographics on space topics, or create your own using JPL images and data! Use this to supplement a display that you make in your library. 

Other Resources