Tested Tools and Techniques for Promoting STEM Programming in Libraries: Fifteen Years of the Lunar and Planetary Institute’s Explore Program
Libraries are evolving to serve the changing needs of their communities— and many now encompass science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programming. For 15 years, the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) has partnered with library staff to create over 100 hands-on Earth and space science and engineering activities. In-person and online librarian training has prepared a vibrant network of over 1000
informal educators. Program evaluation has shown that Explore! training increases participants’ knowledge, and that participants actively use Explore! materials and feel more prepared to offer science and engineering experiences and more comfortable using related resources. Through training, participants become more committed to providing and advocating for science and engineering programming. Explore! serves as a model for effective product development and training practices for serving library staff, increasingly our partners in the advancement of STEM education. Specific approaches and tools that contributed to the success of Explore! are outlined here for adoption by community STEM experts—including professionals and hobbyists in STEM fields
and STEM educators who are seeking to share their passion and experience with others through partnerships with libraries.