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Published March 20, 2018

Upgrading rural libraries to strengthen STEM learning

Strengthening STEM learning in rural communities

Dan Albertson, associate professor from the Department of Library and Information Studies, along with a colleague from the University of West Georgia, have a received a $386,569 federal grant to strengthen STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning in rural school libraries.

The grant, titled “Rural Engagement to Advance Learning in STEM Digitally (REALISD) in School Libraries,” will find new ways to support the technical and science needs of STEM fields by providing training of digital STEM resources to school librarians working in rural areas of the Northeast, Midwest and Southeast United States. The grant is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency under the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program.

“The grant is significant because it is well positioned to address several national priorities, such as finding new ways to support STEM learning and addressing the needs of rural communities,” said Albertson. “The rural component of the project is of particular importance because research shows that increased support for STEM is very much needed in rural schools.”

The project will include 80 participants from nine states and aims to increase the knowledge, skills and abilities of school librarians to facilitate STEM learning within their respective rural school libraries.

“The educational modules developed through this project will be widely disseminated,” said Albertson, “and provide a model for teaching school librarians how to support STEM teaching and learning.”

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