Pairing STEAM with stories

For Immediate Release
Tue, 06/23/2020


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing

American Library Association


CHICAGO — Laying the groundwork for building children’s curiosity, openness to learning, ability to persist in the face of failure, and interest in connecting learning from one subject to the other are important objectives for today’s libraries. Partnering with cultural institutions, such as the Chicago Public Library (CPL) does with Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry (MSI), libraries can forge powerful connections between literacy and science. “Pairing STEAM with Stories: 46 Hands-On Activities for Children,” published by ALA Editions, shares the fruits of that partnership. Authors Elizabeth M. McChesney and Brett Nicholas present ready-to-go, library-tested activities that meld cutting-edge STEAM education principles with some of the best books available for youth today. It’s a model that can be used in a variety of library or museum settings and can also be adapted for outreach. Inside, readers will find:

  • 46 book-based, customizable STEAM activities, each complete with program length, materials list, and step-by-step instructions;
  • real-life tips, advice, and thoughts from practicing CPL librarians sprinkled throughout the book;
  • pointers on incorporating STEAM into existing programs;
  • pedagogical strategies behind effective STEAM experiences, ensuring successful implementation of these skills; and
  • helpful supporting materials such as a program planning rubric and a vendor list.

McChesney has 33 years’ experience in children’s librarianship. In 2012, as the Director of Children’s Services for the Chicago Public Library she led her team through the transformation of the summer reading program to the nationally-recognized Summer Learning Challenge, which was detailed in her book (coauthored with Bryan W. Wunar) "Summer Matters: Making All Learning Count." This achievement earned her a Library Journal Movers & Shakers Award, the Founder’s Award for Excellence from the National Summer Learning Association, and the John Cotton Dana Award. She writes and speaks extensively about library service to children, building successful partnerships, and the role of the 21st Century Library. Nicholas is a former classroom teacher turned museum educator. He is a veteran developer of informal STEAM education programs for educators, students, families, and the public. For 15 years, he worked at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago in various capacities working to bring science to life for guests in the museum and youth and educators in community settings. In his current role as the Chief of Play and Learning at the DuPage Children's Museum he helps the youngest explorers focus the power of play to develop a life-long love of learning.

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