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Cloquet Public Library receives Rural Gateways grant for adult science learning

Cloquet Public Library announces it has received a $3,500 National Science Foundation grant from the Califa Library Group to provide science-based programs for adults.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning is a popular topic for elementary and secondary education, but is rarely mentioned in relation to lifelong learning for adults. The first phase of Cloquet Public Library's program series focuses on an informal learning environment.

“Many of us think science is something done by Ph.Ds. But in fact, we all use science,” said Adult Services Librarian Mark King. “We make use math and chemistry when cooking, farmers use engineering on their combines, and artists use mathematics and science when creating art. We're surrounded by science, and we’re all doing science whether we're aware of it or not.”

The program series funded by the grant promotes a book club-meets-science café, said King. Participants will read a pre-announced popular book selection, then come to the library for an event in which they discuss the book, and watch a short human interest video where scientific ideas touched on in the book intersect with everyday life.

“The videos are engaging and non-technical," King said. "They reflect real-life situations. The books are popular fiction and nonfiction titles that should stimulate good discussions in a group setting."

Rural Gateways is funded through the National Science Foundation and was created through a collaboration of Dartmouth College, The Califa Library Group, the Association of Rural and Small Libraries, Dawson Media Group, and the Institute for Learning Innovation.