The Carnegie Free Library of Beaver Falls has been awarded a Curiosity Creates Grant from the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. The library is one of 77 public libraries in the United States awarded the grant, which has been funded by a generous donation from Disney. Other libraries in Pennsylvania that received the award are: Bayard Taylor Memorial Library, Free Library of Philadelphia’s Kensington Neighborhood Library, Free Library of Philadelphia’s Lillian Marrero Neighborhood Library, Monroeville Public Library, and Reading Public Library.
The purpose of the Curiosity Creates Grant is to develop and implement creativity programs for children ages 6 to 14. The Carnegie Free Library of Beaver Falls’ program is called Building-UP: Architecture, which is designed for students in middle school to develop a knowledge of engineer and architectural basics. “Building UP” is also intended to “build up the relationship” between under-served youth and the library. The library will be running three four-week sessions throughout the 2015-2016 school year. The library has partnered with TRAILS Ministries, an organization to support children of incarcerated parents.
The objectives of the program are to understand the building basics used by engineers and architects, identify unique features of structures, explain the different responsibilities of architects and engineers and work collaboratively in groups to create three-dimensional structures.
The first session in Beaver Falls was completed in October. The children created structures using recycled materials (boxes, cardboard tubes, Popsicle sticks, etc), learned the basics of sky scrapers and had a career discussion about local architect, Dan Franus. In session two, the children will be building advanced creativity with the incorporation of 3-D Printing Pens and Printers. In session three, the children will be working on creating a roller coaster.
Director Jean Barsotti said that they will work in smaller teams to build components with K-Nex building sets. “When combined, it will make a larger structure and one heck of a roller coaster, Barsotti said. “Through this creative programming, the children will develop their many skills needed to navigate life, such as decision making, collaboration, flexibility, imagination, communication and self-expression.”
“Being awarded this grant is very exciting for us, ” Barsotti added. “Offering this type of programming that engages young minds is the direction of the library in the 21st Century. The library board and staff have been working on the Comprehensive Plan for Vision Transformation. Programs such as this offer a more robust experience for learners and teachers. The library is more than just books and this grant is just the foundation of the type of programming critical to achieving the library’s vision: To Inspire and Empower Lifelong Learning and the Exchange of Knowledge.”