Deadline extended for 'Explore Earth,' 'Explore Space' and 'Explore Tech' traveling exhibition opportunities for public libraries

For Immediate Release
Thu, 09/10/2015


Sarah Ostman

Communications Manager

ALA Public Programs Office


CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, in collaboration with the Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning, the Lunar and Planetary Institute and the Afterschool Alliance, has extended the application deadline for three science- and technology-focused traveling exhibitions.

Public libraries will now have until Oct. 8 to apply.

The exhibitions — which are ideal for small libraries, requiring only 200 square feet of display space — are designed to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning opportunities for all ages.

  • Explore Earth: Our Changing Planet will focus on local earth science topics — such as weather, the water cycle and ecosystem changes — as well as a global view of our changing planet. The primary message of the exhibition is that the global environment changes — and is changed by — the local environment of all host communities.
  • Explore Space: Our Solar System and Beyond helps visitors answer the age-old questions: Where did we come from, and are we alone? The exhibition will teach audiences about our universe, including how stars and planetary systems form and the role that gravity plays in our universe.
  • Explore Tech: Engineers Make a World of Difference shows how engineering provides solutions to better meet human needs and develops sustainable innovations for the future. It features hands-on and multimedia components that allow exhibit visitors to interact with content in a dynamic way, encouraging new perspectives about engineers and their vital work.  

Full guidelines and an online application are available at Applicants may apply for one of the exhibitions. Each exhibition will travel to 13 or 14 public libraries from 2016 to 2018.

All grantees will receive:

  • one exhibition for an eight-week display period; shipping is free for grantees;
  • a cash grant of $1,000 to cover the cost of public programming related to the exhibition;
  • a publicity kit and media resources for a STEM @ My Library public engagement campaign;
  • an orientation webinar that will include information about content and science themes, a presentation and demonstration of hands-on science activities by the Lunar and Planetary Institute, and presentations and interactive discussions about programming resources;
  • periodic webinars on timely STEM topics to support programming in libraries;
  • an Explore teacher guide, family guide and hands-on activities for different age groups to help libraries develop programs and support classroom visits; and
  • access to the STAR_Net Online Community and a national network of STEM-oriented organizations.

Grantees will be required to plan public programs related to the exhibition and to participate in the STAR_Net Online Community throughout the exhibition period. For more information and ideas for sample programs, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions.

The Explore exhibitions are made possible through the support of the National Science Foundation. The exhibition and its educational support materials and outreach opportunities are part of the STAR (Science-Technology Activities and Resources) Library Education Network (STAR_Net), a hands-on learning program for libraries and their communities developed by the National Center for Interactive Learning at the Space Science Institute. For more information, visit

About ALA’s Public Programs Office

ALA’s Public Programs Office provides leadership, resources, training and networking opportunities that help thousands of librarians nationwide develop and host cultural programs for adult, young adult and family audiences. The mission of the ALA Public Programs Office is to promote cultural programming as an essential part of library service in all types of libraries. Projects include book and film discussion series, literary and cultural programs featuring authors and artists, professional development opportunities and traveling exhibitions. School, public, academic and special libraries nationwide benefit from the office’s programming initiatives.

About the National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL) at the Space Science Institute (SSI)

The National Center for Interactive Learning at the Space Science Institute is dedicated to developing and implementing world-class projects and programs that improve formal and informal STEM education and the evaluation/research foundation on which they are based. NCIL is a national leader in developing STEM exhibitions for science centers, museums and public libraries as well as educational games and apps that can be deployed on websites, mobile devices (e.g. smartphones and tablets) and multi-touch tables. For more information about the NCIL, visit

About the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI)

Through its Explore program and in partnership with the STAR_Net team, the Lunar and Planetary Institute has worked with librarians, state libraries and library associations for over 15 years to develop hands-on activities and train library professionals to use them in their programs. For more information about the Lunar and Planetary Institute, visit

About the Afterschool Alliance

The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness, research and advocacy organization that works to ensure all children have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs. The Afterschool Alliance is playing a major role in advancing afterschool STEM education opportunities for young people across the country. For more information, visit