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Project Descriptions

Enhancing Learning Opportunities in Libraries of Rural Communities

January 1, 2020 - December 31, 2024 | Public Programs, Exhibitions

This project will focus on addressing the challenges faced by rural youth with a particular emphasis on those youth who are English Language Learners. The project will provide informal education via libraries and librarians which can provide unique opportunities for rural youth and communities. Building on several years of research and experimentation, this project will augment the formal education sector, as well. The settings for the project are 12 rural school districts in largely Latinx communities. The project partners are the Space Science Institute, the American Library Association (ALA), the Institute for Learning Innovation and the Twin Cities Public Television. Expertise from the Latinx community will play a significant part in the project. The project will engage learners from diverse backgrounds, ages, and interests in science through a coordinated and tested strategy incorporating three Learning Pathways (i.e., Science Learning Spaces, Programs, and Science Kits) in a public library environment. The results should yield a model for Nationwide application. 

The main goals are: 1) to establish learning pathways to engage rural communities through exhibit host libraries and (2) to increase art-rich STEM learning opportunities for rural communities through libraries and their support systems. Building on an established training model, the project will introduce library staff to the STEAM content of the exhibits and guide them in developing their own STEAM Learning Pathways. SciGirls digital media, hands-on activities, family resources, and a training network will expand the depth and reach of the project. The project draws on existing professional infrastructure to increase library staff capacity through ALA and the Institute's established community of practice. The researchers will study the efficacy of each pathway, alone and in tandem, on participant's interest development and persistence. The research will use a mixed-methods design-based approach that involves questionnaires, interviews and case studies.

This project is funded by the National Science Foundation's (NSF's) Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program, which supports innovative research, approaches, and resources for use in a variety of learning settings.


Funding Program: Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL)
Award Number: 1906172
Funding Amount: $847,598


  • REVISE logo
    Principal Investigator
    Space Science Institute
  • REVISE logo
    Co-Principal Investigator
    Space Science Institute
  • Kristin Pederson
    Co-Principal Investigator
  • REVISE logo
    Co-Principal Investigator
  • Resource Type: Projects
    Discipline: Art, music, and theater | General STEM
    Audience: Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Youth/Teen (up to 17) | Families | Museum/ISE Professionals
    Environment Type: Public Programs | Library Programs | Exhibitions | Library Exhibits
    Access and Inclusion: Ethnic/Racial | Hispanic/Latinx Communities | Rural

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