‘Reach for the Stars’ grant project to launch this summer

Staff Report

Goleta Valley Library has been awarded $5,500 in Library Services and Technology Act grant funding through the California State Library to develop STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) kits to provide learning opportunities for all ages in the Goleta and Santa Ynez Valley communities.

This award will allow staff to create multiples of two themed kits, Sun-Earth-Moon Connections and Be a NASA Detective: Expanding Your Senses, which will contain all the materials and supplies needed to participate in activities that introduce and reinforce STEM concepts. This project, called “Reach for the Stars,” follows a blueprint created by the NASA @ My Library program to connect NASA, public libraries and their communities through hands-on activities and experiments.

“I’m a huge fan of NASA and so excited that the Goleta Valley Library has this opportunity to work with such a great organization to bring STEM activities to the kids in our area,” says Goleta Valley Library Director Allison Gray.

The Reach for the Stars project will address the need for STEM learning in the community, particularly among underserved populations within the libraries’ service area. Research findings show that early introduction to STEM fields through positive, hands-on experience is integral in building children’s confidence to pursue these fields in school and as careers. In addition, this project will benefit participants of all ages by encouraging and facilitating lifelong learning through enjoyable, interactive programming.

“We are looking forward to the many ways that these kits will engage, educate and inspire patrons of all ages,” says Goleta Valley Library Children’s Librarian Elizabeth Saucedo.

The Reach for the Stars kits will be available at the Goleta and Santa Ynez Valley Libraries starting in summer 2021 for either virtual or in-person programming, per the extent of library services offered at that time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Details about how to explore these kits will be announced this spring.

For more information on programs and events at the Goleta and Santa Ynez Valley Libraries, view the online calendar at www.GoletaValleyLibrary.org.

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Grant 40-9096.