Visit us at the Howard County Fair

STEAM Machine with blue awning deployed sits on a grassy patch, with a popup tent next to it.

Do you love the fair? Deep fried everything? Rides? Awards for livestock and hand-crafts? What’s not to love?

This year, as you come in the front gates, look for Howard County Library System’s new STEAM Machine. Stop by to participate in a STEAM-related activity, watch a demo, or take a tour of our new (air conditioned!) mobile unit. The 33’ Farber diesel bus features a climate-controlled classroom that seats twelve students. It is equipped with Wi-Fi, laptop computers, two 49” LED TVs, sound system, video production equipment, materials, and supplies, including science kits to conduct experiments and complete projects. A 55” LCD monitor and two awnings allow classes to be taught and activities conducted outside.

As the mobile classroom goes out into our community, students can borrow books and other materials on STEAM subjects. Our goal is to transform students into scientists investigating new phenomena and engineers designing solutions to real-world problems.

Tonya Aikens, President & CEO of HCLS, notes, “Howard County Library System is coordinating with community partners to schedule STEAM Machine classes across the county. Our goal is to bring opportunities for hands-on STEAM education to students from under-resourced communities and families who, for an array of reasons, are often unable to come to our branches.”

HCLS instructors will teach most classes with contributions from scientists and engineers from the Maryland STEAM community, who will be recruited for special events. HCLS is collaborating with community partners to determine student aspirations and needs, identify community locations for STEAM Machine visits, and schedule classes and events. 

The STEAM Machine is funded in part by an American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Grant through the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered by the Maryland State Library Agency.

See you at the Fair!

National Library Week: Connect with Our Library!

National Library Week logo: Connect With Your Library. Connect is a white mouse with cord on a blue background. A black and white image of a plug on a deep yellow goes with "with your, and "library" is on red with an illustration of two hands getting ready to clasp.

Those of us who write for Chapter Chats want to connect with you, and want you to connect with the library. Most of the time, we’re going to share with you something new and different to read or watch. We enjoyed those titles so much that we want you to experience them, too. Check out recent popular reviews of the The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman or A Song of Wraith and Ruins by Roseanne Brown. If you’re an audiobook listener, we have you covered as well.

But the library has so much more to offer than books, and we want you to know about those things, too. Here’s a brief list of some blog posts that look at the other ways we’d like to connect with you:

Have you had a chance to visit Central Branch and tour the Undesign the Redline exhibit? It’s only here a little bit longer. Christie Lassen talks all about it in this Interview.

Have you been to Glenwood Branch recently? There’s so much that’s new for you! Visit the Makerspace and see the wonderful new play stations.

Our most liked blog post since Chapter Chats began about two years ago lets you know how to use the library’s subscription services to avoid news paywalls.

Do you like to craft? Or maybe bake? The DIY Center at Elkridge Branch may be able to help. The staff there can also help you with tools to get your yard cleaned up after winter and ready for spring fun.

And, now that it’s actually spring and random snow flurries have finally ended, take a drive to Ellicott City to visit the Enchanted Garden at HCLS Miller Branch.

One of our teen volunteers who frequents the Savage Branch (and writes for the blog) recently discovered that we lend toys. She is entirely on board with this idea.

We are even bringing the library to you with our PopUp Library van, which visits neighborhoods and community events.

So, take this as a reminder and an invitation to stop by frequently and see what’s going on in the blog – and at the Library. We love our library and connecting with you in all the ways we can imagine.