Chicago Public Library and Museum of Science and Industry present a STEAM-inspired approach to summer learning

For Immediate Release
Tue, 06/13/2017


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing

American Library Association

(312) 280-5052

CHICAGO — Summer reading for children is a long standing and cherished tradition in public libraries across America, but today’s kids need to master new skills and competencies. Today’s summer programming needs to move beyond reading to engage children with hands-on activities, thus keeping their brains active even when school’s out. In “Summer Matters: Making All Learning Count,” published by ALA Editions, Elizabeth M. McChesney from Chicago Public Library (CPL) and Bryan W. Wunar from Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry present a guide based on their award-winning, STEAM-inspired approach. They outline practical steps for libraries and cultural institutions to partner in creating a sustainable summer learning program that’s both fun and educational. This book

  • explains what STEAM is and why it’s important for libraries;
  • provides evidence-based research on summer slide, the achievement gap, and 21st century learning skills;
  • walks readers through building a cultural partnership, collaborating efficiently, and sustaining the relationship into the future;
  • offers tips for managing institutional change;
  • provides guidance for developing a new vision for summer at the library, with pointers on adding learning tracks to existing programs and addressing design challenges;
  • details how CPL evaluates and assesses their program; and
  • includes templates for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), mission statement, logic model, and sample Summer Learning Challenge evaluations.

The authors will present a program based on their book at the 2017 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition.

McChesney has worked in various capacities of children’s librarianship for 28 years, all at Chicago Public Library, where she is currently the Director of System Wide Children’s Services. In 2012, along with her team of children’s librarians, she led the transformation of CPL’s summer offerings into a STEAM & Literacy Summer Learning Challenge, earning her a 2014 Library Journal Mover & Shaker award. Under McChesney’s leadership, the program has also been recognized with the 2015 Founder’s Award for Excellence from the National Summer Learning Association and the 2016 John Cotton Dana Award. Wunar has worked in science education for the past 24 years. He is currently the Director of Community Initiatives in the Center for the Advancement of Science Education at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. In this role, he leads the Museum’s strategic efforts to engage youth, families, and communities in science learning experiences. He has served as the Associate Vice President for Education and Programs at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, Senior Director of the Science and Mathematics Curriculum Program at the Education Development Center, and as the Director of the Alliance for Community Education at Loyola University Chicago.

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide. ALA Editions publishes resources used worldwide by tens of thousands of library and information professionals to improve programs, build on best practices, develop leadership, and for personal professional development. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a growing range of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5052 or