ALA, NASA present 'Astro4Girls and Their Families,' celebrating women in science

For Immediate Release
Fri, 02/17/2012

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CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office is partnering with NASA-funded astrophysics education and public outreach programs to offer nine public libraries across the country the opportunity to present “Astro4Girls and Their Families” during National Women’s History Month. “Astro4Girls and Their Families” is a project designed to provide participants with a special opportunity to showcase women’s success, especially in science. The libraries will host events that celebrate women in science, allow participants to learn about the universe through hands-on activities and empower girls in the community to explore the role of science in their lives and future careers. The participating libraries include:

  • Mobile Public Library, Mobile Ala.
  • Sunnyvale Public Library, Sunnyvale, Calif.
  • Ridgefield Library, Ridgefield, Conn.
  • Drake Community Library, Grinnell, Iowa
  • Holly Springs Community Library, Holly Springs, N.C.
  • West Unity Branch Library, West Unity, Ohio
  • Cottage Grove Public Library, Cottage Grove, Ore.
  • Weber County Library, Ogden, Utah
  • Varnum Memorial Library, Jeffersonville, Vt.

These libraries will be hosting events this March during National Women’s History Month, whose theme for 2012 is “Women’s Education-Women’s Empowerment.”

“Science is sometimes seen as a male-dominated field, but this unique opportunity provides these nine libraries the chance to inspire their communities to discover the Universe around us, while overcoming stereotypes about scientists, empowering girls, promoting their confidence and piquing an interest in science,” said Mangala Sharma from the Space Telescope Science Institute.

“Astro4Girls and Their Families” is a collaboration among NASA-funded Astrophysics education and public outreach programs and the ALA Public Programs Office. All nine participating libraries previously hosted the traveling exhibition “Visions of the Universe: Four Centuries of Discovery,” presented by the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the ALA Public Programs Office, through funding from NASA. The Visions of the Universe program is a proud sponsor of “Astro4Girls and Their Families.” More NASA-funded partners include:

  • Education Team at the Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.
  • Education Team at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Educator Ambassadors, Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and XMM-Newton Education and Outreach Programs at Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, Calif.
  • NASA SOFIA Education and Public Outreach team at the SETI Institute, Mountain View, Calif.
  • Astrophysics Science Division Education and Public Outreach Team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

For more information, including access to online resources focused on STEM education and girls, Women’s History Month, astronomy education resources, and more, visit www.ala.org/programming/astro4girls.

The ALA Public Programs Office promotes cultural and community programming as an essential part of library service in all types and sizes of libraries. Successful library programming initiatives have included the Let’s Talk About It reading and discussion series, traveling exhibitions, film discussion programs, LIVE! @ your library and more. Recently, the ALA Public Programs Office developed www.ProgrammingLibrarian.org, an online resource center bringing librarians timely and valuable information to support them in the creation of high-quality cultural programs for their communities. For more information on the ALA Public Programs Office, visit www.ala.org/publicprograms.