Full STEAM ahead at Fingal Libraries
In the last number of years, STEM or STEAM, has become the new buzzword in the educational world and it’s not hard to see why. It has been widely acknowledged that in order for Ireland to thrive in today’s knowledge-based economy, their workforce needs a strong Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills base. STEM […]
In the last number of years, STEM or STEAM, has become the new buzzword in the educational world and it’s not hard to see why. It has been widely acknowledged that in order for Ireland to thrive in today’s knowledge-based economy, their workforce needs a strong Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills base. STEM or STEAM, are terms that can be used interchangeably and refer to an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths. STEAM incorporates the “A” for the arts, recognising that to be successful in technical fields individuals must also be creative and use critical thinking skills which are best achieved through contact to the arts.
STEAM has evolved into a global movement ensuring that communities have the relevant skills needed for the 21st Century workplace. Widely adopted and supported by teachers, researchers, policy makers, students and organisations, it is not surprising that STEAM is surging forward across public libraries in Ireland. At the heart of every community, from the very young to post-retirement age, public libraries are well known as informal learning hubs and have embraced the opportunities to bring STEAM initiatives to all.
Fingal County Libraries successfully runs engaging and fun STEAM based activities for children across their network of Libraries. Their aim is to develop skills and knowledge which will inspire early scientific exploration, discovery and learning. Some of the events are run in collaboration with organisations such as Bricks 4 Kidz, the Rediscovery Centre and other events are run by the talented Library staff of Fingal. The events are a great way to get children in the community excited about these areas, by enabling the creative potential of children to underpin these skills.
In Blanchardstown Library, children made their favourite Lego mini figures come alive with Brick Flicks Stop Motion Animation workshops. Garristown and Balbriggan went outside in the fresh air for the Nuts about Nature workshop investigating wildlife, habitats, and ecosystems. Malahide Library made their own Fidget Spinners and Donabate used batteries, buzzers, wire and a couple of other bits and pieces to make their own buzz wire game. In Baldoyle and Rush, Bricks 4 Kidz Lego allowed children to build unique creations. And in Howth, children were concocting magical potions, inspired from Harry Potter.
The STEAM initiative is not just for children. Fingal Libraries offers high speed broadband internet connection in a safe, friendly community space, along with learning spaces with hi-tech tools such as 3D printers, iMacs, Smart boards and Assistive technology. Computer classes for beginners are run regularly across the network of Fingal Libraries, including Skerries Library and Swords Library run Vodafone Smartphone classes. There is a wide range of reading material available for loan across these subject areas, both in the physical and virtual form.
Fingal are increasingly adopting technology as a way to deliver services. They offer a wide range of online services including a Library App, eBooks, eMagazines and a range of self-service facilities for checking in/out your library items, booking a computer and a self-service printing/scanning service. The provision of these services give the citizens of Fingal the essential technical skills, in a safe and supportive environment. To discover more of what we have to offer, visit our “What’s on” page on our website, follow us on Twitter or join us on Facebook.
By Úna Smyth, Fingal Libraries