The Space Science Institute’s (SSI) National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL) — together with project team partners American Library Association, Pacific Science Center, Cornerstones of Science, and the Education Development Center — leverage the STAR Library Network (STAR Net) to advance the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) vision for education by engaging public audiences nationwide in informal and lifelong learning.
STAR stands for Science and Technology Activities and Resources. STAR Net utilizes NASA subject matter experts (e.g. Solar System Ambassadors and Night Sky Network), SMD assets and data, and existing educational products and online portals to create compelling learning experiences that will be widely used to share the story, science, and adventure of NASA’s scientific explorations of planet Earth, our solar system, and the universe beyond.
Through [email protected] My Library stakeholder engagement centered around high‐impact SMD and library events (like the recent solar eclipse in August 2017), resource and experience development, and professional development, public library staff increase and sustain the availability of authentic participatory opportunities to learn about earth and space sciences for their library communities. Seventy-five partner libraries were chosen in May 2017, including the Carroll and County Library System. They joined 3 pilot libraries that were selected in 2016. These libraries have access to programming resources, webinars, workshops, and other NASA resources and opportunities. Pacific Science Center staff provide training for NASA’s subject matter experts to collaborate with public libraries. Each library receives [email protected] My Library Programming Kits and Circulating STEM Kits. An additional 15 state libraries received [email protected] My Library Programming Kits to share among the public libraries in their states. STAR Net is a hands‐on learning network for libraries and their communities across the country (www.starnetlibraries.org). STAR Net focuses on helping library professionals build their STEM skills by providing “science‐technology activities and resources” (STAR) and training to use those resources. It includes a STEM Activity Clearinghouse, blogs, a webinar series, workshops at conferences, and a monthly e‐newsletter.