Jacksonville Public Library’s STEAM program hosting activities tomorrow

By Blake Schnitker on February 22 at 10:25am

Local youths can take part in a unique educational program tomorrow afternoon at the Jacksonville Public Library.

Starting in December, the Jacksonville Public Library created an educational program from area kids called STEAM. Youth Services Director for the public library Cindy Boehlke explains what STEAM stands for, and says the program has expanded since its creation.

“We started three new STEAM programs actually. STEAM stand for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. We have three different programs that we’re doing, one is for Kindergarten through second graders, and then the other two are for second to fifth graders. The one this Friday we call ‘Full STEAM Ahead,’ and that’s open to anybody second to fifth grade, and the other one is for girls only and we call that ‘Geeky Girls,'” says Boehlke.

Boehlke discusses some of the fun and educational experiments that the STEAM groups have conducted in the past, and looks ahead to tomorrow’s planned activities.

“For the ‘Geeky Girls’ and ‘Full STEAM Ahead,’ we’ve done a variety of things. We’ve done stick bots, so that’s stop-motion animation with little figures that you can move in different ways. This Friday for ‘Full STEAM Ahead’ we’re doing bloxels, and there’s a grid that you fill in with different colored blocks, and then you take a picture of it with the app and then it becomes a video game on the app and you can play that level. So you can create several different levels within a larger video game,” Boehlke explains.

Thanks in large part to a grant the library recently received from the Jacksonville Children’s Foundation, the STEAM program is now able to use more technology than in the past. Boehlke says that grant money goes a long way.

“We have applied for several grants with the Jacksonville Children’s Foundation and they have been very generous with a whole variety of things we’ve done in the past. So we felt confident that we could get some support from them  in the future with this programming. The wonderful thing is they can use the money however they want to, they don’t really have a lot of restrictions on them, and they’ve always been very generous with us. It’s a wonderful organization,” says Boehlke.

Tomorrow’s STEAM program activities get started at 3 p.m. Kids from around the Jacksonville and surrounding area can get registered for the STEAM program by either stopping by the Jacksonville Public Library, located at 201 West College Avenue, or by giving them a call at 217-243-5435.