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STEM Maker Passes now available at Lancaster Public Libraries and the Bookmobile!

Mary Ann Heltshe-Steinhauer is PR/Community Relations Manager for the Library System of Lancaster County, a position that she has held for the past 16 years.
Mary Ann Heltshe-Steinhauer is PR/Community Relations Manager for the Library System of Lancaster County, a position that she has held for the past 16 years.


submitted by Mary Ann Heltshe-Steinhauer

LSTA grant for
STEM Maker Pass Partnership – A Technical Educational Resource

November, 2016 – The Library System of Lancaster County has officially launched a new partnership with Lancaster-based make717 Innovation Center resources.   The launch event took place on October 21 at the make717 Innovation Center located at the Branch Campus of Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology.  The partnership between the Public Libraries of Lancaster County and the make717 Innovation Center, is being funded by a federal LSTA (Library Services Technology Act) grant in the amount of $48,970.

The goals of this new partnership entitled STEM Maker Pass are to help generate an educated workforce; to increase local students’ 21st century skills and to provide a technical educational resource for young learners, high school students, post-graduates, residents who may be underemployed or seeking to improve their current job status.  The make717 Innovation Center is a well-equipped facility where independent project-based learning can happen.  With the current emphasis on STEM (STEM: Science, Technology, Electronics and Math) learning, this initiative will be a valuable resource for the public to increase skill in those areas.3D printer demonstration

Commissioner Dennis Stuckey is optimistic about the impact that this partnership will have on the future workforce of Lancaster County, “With this federal grant, the Library System will facilitate the technology training of our workforce.  Residents will be able to check out STEM Maker Passes that will allow them to learn about hi-tech equipment and receive training at make717.  This will grow and enhance their skills as we prepare our workforce for the future.”

Library System Board President Diane Tannehill has high praise for this new partnership, “The make717 Innovation Center is an amazing resource that offers cutting-edge technology to the community. By collaborating with the public libraries, this exciting resource will be able to expand its reach throughout our county.  I see this collaboration as a great addition to all of the many valuable services that public libraries offer to the community.”

The Lancaster-based make717 Innovation Center is a non-profit organization that was founded by a group of makers and educators including:  Bruce SchrMake717 einer who teaches at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology and Ben Eisemann, a Network Technician at Lancaster Bible College.

Make717 co-founder, Bruce Schreiner, realizes the value of this partnership by saying, “I am excited for the start of the STEM Maker Pass program. Because of the cooperation of the Library System of Lancaster County and make717, our organizations are able to offer the opportunity for so many people to freely experience learning by tackling creative projects of their own design.  There are so many resources available including equipment, personal interaction, and online training that you could occupy yourself for a lifetime.  Come and experience the great feeling of learning and accomplishing real projects while interacting with others.”

Co-Founder, Ben Eisemann, is also very excited about the partnership as a new venture, “I am excited to partner with the Lancaster County Libraries to bring the excitement of DIY and the maker movement to everyone in the community.  I can’t wait to see what people make!”

The grant-funded initiative entitled Lancaster Libraries Maker Toolbox has a number of components that will highlight the public libraries as a reliable educational resource for STEM.  The Public Libraries and the Bookmobile will loan STEM Maker passes for use at the make717 Innovation Center.  These passes will allow library patrons to visit the facility where they will learn how to use hi-tech equipment and have access to a variety of commercial and open source software.

Make 717 In addition to the STEM Maker Passes, involvement of local public libraries and the bookmobile will include STEM workshops and trainings; Library Maker Faires and new collection items in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math.

For more information about the NEW pass, please visit:

This project is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor.

About make717 Innovation Center
make717 is a registered 501(C)(3) non-profit organization run entirely by volunteers since October of 2015.  It is a social enterprise business housed in a 2,000+ square-foot facility located on the campus of Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology that is provided and maintained by the College. This allows the makerspace to be affordable and available to the community. Students, families, and service veterans have discounted membership opportunities. Tools and equipment are used to engage in project-based independent learning and making that fulfills one’s creative ideas. make717 provides resources like orientations, workshops, online training content, computers, and software applications to assist with learning.

About the Library System of Lancaster County
The Library System of Lancaster County is a federated system with 14 member libraries, three branches and a bookmobile, which serves 519,462 residents.  Established in April 1987 as a 501c(3) non-profit organization, the Library System provides well-coordinated countywide services and cooperative programs to assist member libraries in meeting the diverse needs of its community residents.  The mission of the Library System of Lancaster County is to bring together all 14 member public libraries to plan and create a cost-effective network of technology, facilities and resources to meet the informational, educational and recreational needs of all residents of Lancaster County.  The Library System ensures that a network of support services is provided to all public libraries in the county.

also check out LNP News – Monday, November 14, 2016:


Media contact:
Mary Ann Heltshe-Steinhauer
717.207.0500 x1222

Program contact:
Renee M. Christiansen
717.207.0500 x1238

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