Collaborative Research - STAR Library Network Phase 3: Enhancing STEAM Equity and Learning Opportunities in Libraries and Their Rural Communities

Wednesday, January 1, 2020 to Tuesday, December 31, 2024
Resource Type:
Project Descriptions | Projects
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Library Programs, Exhibitions, Library Exhibits
Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Youth/Teen (up to 17) | Families | Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators | Learning Researchers
Art, music, and theater | General STEM
Access and Inclusion: 
Hispanic/Latinx Communities
English Language Learners
American Library Association

Libraries can provide unique opportunities for rural youth and communities. Phase III of the STAR Library Network will be a collaboration with 12 rural school districts in largely Latinx communities to address the challenges faced by rural youth, particularly English Language Learners. The project will use a coordinated and tested strategy to establish three learning pathways in public libraries: science learning spaces with exhibits, library programs, and science kits. These resources will provide learners with art-rich STEM learning opportunities.


Project partners include the Space Science Institute, the American Library Association (ALA), the Institute for Learning Innovation, and Twin Cities Public Television. The project will rely significantly on expertise from the Latinx community.

Project Plan

Building on an established librarian training model, the project will introduce library staff to the STEAM content and guide them in developing their own STEAM Learning Pathways. The project will draw on existing professional infrastructure from the ALA and the Institute for Learning Innovation’s established community of practice. SciGirls digital media, hands-on activities, family resources, and a training network will expand the depth and reach of the project.

The Research

The research team will study the efficacy of each pathway, alone and in tandem, on participant’s interest development and persistence. The research will use a mixed-methods design-based approach that involves questionnaires, interviews, and case studies. The results should yield a model for nationwide application and contribute insights for the formal education sector.

This project is funded by the National Science Foundation's (NSF's) Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program, which supports innovative research, approaches, and resources for use in a variety of learning settings.

Funding Program: 
Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL)
Award Number: 
Funding Amount: 

Team Members

Lainie CastleLainie CastlePrincipal Investigator

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