Evanston Public Library receives grant to support growth of STEM programs

Stavros Agorakis, Reporter

A new research project will bring science, technology, engineering and mathematics initiatives to the Evanston Public Library and the rest of the city, promoting efforts to increase interest in science among local children.

The project follows a $717,000 grant awarded to Loyola University of Chicago from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, an independent federal agency. A portion of the grant aims to stimulate learning in STEM areas across the EPL and the Chicago Children’s Museum.

Loyola and Northwestern researchers will partner with the institute and museum to grow interest in STEM among school-age children. Through these projects, students will learn to brainstorm and experiment, and will collaborate to form and test theories in an open-minded environment.

EPL director Karen Danczak Lyons said the library staff is excited to partner with Evanston families to promote the new initiative. She said the staff has been trying to expand programming for children in the past few years.

“The design thinking involved (in these programs) builds problem-solving skills and strengthens critical thinking,” Danczak Lyons said. “These skills support lifelong learning and support children in future success in life, formal education and future careers.”

A total of 24 events will be scheduled through 2018 to strengthen local STEM programs. The first event will be held Sunday at the Fleetwood Jourdain Community Center, in which children aged 6 to 10 will participate in an engineering challenge.

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