About the Science Kits for Public Library (SKPL) project
"Science Kits for Public Libraries" seeks to make STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) learning available for children regardless of race, gender, or income. Understanding that not all children have access to high quality Science Educations due to underfunding, resource allocations, poverty, or any other social or economic condition, the SKPL project will raises money to provide grants to public libraries to purchase science kit collections that can be borrowed by the community just like a book.
Named the "Science Kits for Public Libraries" project or SKPL for short, this Region 4 project has been adapted from a project originated by the IEEE-Chicago Section that has been in successful operation since 2009. In 2011, the IEEE Foundation and the Life Members Committee awarded Region 4 a grant of $40,000 to explore the idea of expanding the project. Lessons learned from this endeavor have put Region 4 in a favorable position to now expand SKPL into a Region wide program.
Marshalltown Public Library - Marshalltown, Iowa
"One of the major impacts that this grant project had on our library was the preparation and research that went into making the selections of the items purchased. I collaborated with both the science curriculum coordinator for our school district, as well as an Extended Learning program teacher at the intermediate level to determine what resources would best complement what the students were learning in school. We used this information to make selections of the books and DVDs that we added, including which subjects we needed at different reading levels to coincide with the most students who would be studying that topic. We also used this information in deciding which science topics to focus on with the kits. In addition, the opportunity for this grant motivated us to seek out a local partner, MechDyne, Inc. to allow us to add even more books to our general circulating collection in the areas of physical science. This was a new source of extra funding for us, and the company was very pleased with the purchase of books as a way to make an impact on community youth. They have encouraged us to apply for additional funds in the coming year. "
Danville Public Library - Danville Indiana
"This grant has allowed our small library to acquire materials that we otherwise would never be able to include in our budget. These types of specialized kits and the accompanying DVDs and books we now have in our collection would not be prioritized in materials acquisition if we did not have the IEEE funds. This is truly an amazing project that IEEE is doing for small libraries. It extends not just to the libraries, but to the schools with whom the library collaborates in teaching our children. This project has allowed better connection with the schools and has brought kids into the library that were not users of our services. The most positive aspect of this experience has been the ability to offer a very different type of programming than we usually do, in addition to having a unique offering to the public that we serve. Oftentimes teens, young adults, and middle-school children do not have sufficient programming or materials at smaller libraries such as DPL. This grant affords us that opportunity."
Gladstone School and Public Library - Gladstone Michigan
"We were able to bring teenagers and elementary students together in one big room to create simple machines, build rockets, explore the world of electricity, discovery magnetic fields and launch straw rockets. And both groups had a wonderful time. What an amazing site that was for us adults. We stepped back and let the high school students work their magic. I know everyone of our younger students were impressed by the older students. As far as the high school students, they too admitted to enjoying themselves being the teachers."
Appleton Public Library Ð Appleton Wisconsin
"This opportunity has been very beneficial to the library on the whole. Our patrons really responded to having hands-on materials available at the library versus the more cerebral items usually found in the library. It was also a very positive way to reach out tot he tweens in the community which we have been struggling with for many years. I think the most important piece is the new relationships it has sparked, because of the grant we have new ongoing relationships with STEM efforts at the Building for Kids, Appleton Area School District Tesla Charter School, and the Chamber of Commerce Competitive Workforce group. I think this will be a seed we can grow new programming around that will benefit the community."
About the Region 4 Fund
The IEEE-Chicago Section Fund was established a restricted fund of the IEEE Foundation. This non-profit 501 3c Fund operates under the umbrella of the IEEE Foundation which is responsible for the administration of the Fund. While the funds are managed by the IEEE Foundation, the Region 4 Executive Committee controls the distribution of funds. Donations made to the Region 4 Fund are tax deductible.