Jaffrey Public Library receives $20,000 STEAM grant from MilliporeSigma

  • Morgan Jackson uses an Osmo station at the Jaffrey Public Library to develop math skills to run and manage a pizza parlor. COURTESY PHOTO—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/19/2022 1:24:19 PM
Modified: 9/19/2022 1:23:39 PM

The Jaffrey Public Library has been awarded a $20,000 grant from Jaffrey manufacturer MilliporeSigma to continue building its science and technology programming for the coming year.

Library Director Julie Perrin said after several years in a row of applying for and being granted the funds from MilliporeSigma, the library has been able to build an ongoing science, technology, engineering, art and math – STEAM – lab and integrate the equipment into its summer programming and take-home kits.

The library’s first MilliporeSigma grant was for $10,000, awarded for their 2019 STEAM learning program, and the library has been awarded $20,000 in each subsequent year. This year is the library’s fifth grant award, for STEAM Learning 2023, bringing the total support provided from MilliporeSigma to $90,000 in support of science education for youth.

Perrin said over the past several years of receiving the grant, it has been a “game-changer” for the opportunities the library has been able to offer.

“The fact that we’ve been able to build on this, we look around and are amazed at what we can offer. It’s in all seriousness when I say this makes our librarian dreams come true,” Perrin said. “This was one of our best summers. You see a change in what kids have learned from summer to summer. You have older children now who are showing the younger children how to use the microscopes or the other tools. That’s what it’s for. We’re building a generation of scientists.”

Perrin said the coming year will have a theme of “Find Your Voice” and a focus on climate science, weather and electricity. The grant will be used to support one-time programs and to purchase equipment.

“A lot of what we have done with the grant in the past has been a combination of singular events and capacity-building,” Perrin said.

In the past, the MilliporeSigma grant has been used to purchase equipment such as iPads, microscopes and 3D pens, which have become permanent tools for patrons to access. This year’s grant funds will be used to continue to expand those STEAM offerings, including creating new take-home experiment kits, paying for summer programming staffing, and purchasing a Van de Graaff generator, an electrostatic generator which uses a moving belt to accumulate electric charge.

The library’s STEAM kits were first created in 2020, when pandemic restrictions limited the people who could be in the library. Perrin and library staff put together take-home kits based around certain themes, with books and activities. They were so popular, the library has continued the practice, and now has about 100 kits that can be checked out for up to three weeks at a time.

“They’ve become a real staple. So many families were excited to be able to delve deeper into a topic at home, and check out some of these tools and really work with them for a couple of weeks,” Perrin said.

The grant will be used to add new kits on the topics of meteorology, weather stations and animal observation. One of the kits will show how to set up a child-friendly weather observation station, which children can continue to observe after they return the kit.

“We try to have elements like that, with anything related to field science, something to continue so the learning doesn’t stop when the check out period is over,” Perrin said.

The library trustees are scheduled to hold a public hearing, required before officially accepting unanticipated funds, at the Jaffrey Public Library at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Following the public hearing, the trustees are scheduled to hold their regular meeting.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.

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