In the Spotlight       In the News       CoS News  
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A Letter from Executive Director, Cynthia Randall

Dear CoS Library Partners, Supporters of Science, Great Ideas and All Things Curious,

In our December newsletter, we noted that we would provide a summary of the activities, results and decisions made at the Library Partner Summit meeting held on December 6th, 2012 at the Portland campus of the University of Southern Maine.  Insightful, dynamic discussions were had around the final draft of the FY 2012 – 2015 Strategic Plan and those strategic priorities considered most important to the partners; USM faculty, Monroe Duboise, gave the luncheon keynote on outreach efforts and the portable electron scanning microscope; and finally, participants were inspired by Amy Hand’s presentation on how to incorporate science into children’s story hour and John Clark’s talk on the benefits of Pittsfield, Newport and Hartland Libraries working collaboratively to expand programming offerings to their patrons.  The meeting resulted in a collective recognition of the important role public libraries serve as a conduit of scientific information which, in turn, strengthens community life.

The meeting also resulted in the identification of two key initiatives: the development of a user-friendly interactive, online statewide database of qualified science providers called the Science Provider Network and the formation of Regional Collaboratives.  Determination of the Science Provider Network as a critical tool for librarians stemmed from discussions on the fact that there was no easy way for them to identify and contact science providers who could offer quality programming in their libraries. Another factor for the lack of quality science programming is the perception that most science providers do not see the library as a relevant venue for sharing their expertise and research with the public. The aim of Science Provider Network is to address these issues.

The second key initiative is the formation of Regional Collaboratives.  The goal of this initiative will be to sustain science literacy efforts through the exchange of information, training, best practices, shared fund development and leveraging of resources between libraries. It was stressed, during this session, that Maine public libraries are not homogeneous and therefore, Collaboratives will need to develop along different criteria and needs that are mutually advantageous to all participants, such as: 1) geographical; 2) need; 3) shared vision and/or goals; and finally, 4) along shared themes or ideas.  It was also noted that there is a dual need of promoting collaboration among all CoS libraries as well as collaboration among subsets of libraries.  CoS is now in the program development phase and seeking funds to support these initiatives. 

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In the Spotlight……

Book Talk: Ecology of the Ever-Changing Maine Forest

– Curtis Memorial Library

Andrew Barton, from the Biology Department at the University of Maine at Farmington, will give a talk about the ecology of the ever-changing Maine forest on Thursday, March 7 (snow date, Wednesday, March 20) at 6:30 p.m. in the Morrell Meeting Room at Curtis Library, 23 Pleasant Street in Brunswick. Andrew is the author of the recent book The Changing Nature of the Maine Woods (with Alan White and Charles Cogbill). The talk is cosponsored by the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, Cornerstones of Science and The Nature Conservancy. Copies of the book will be available for purchase with proceeds going to the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. This is a free presentation with no reservations required. For more information, please call 725-5242 x 510.

The book talk is both a fascinating introduction to the forests of Maine and a detailed but accessible narrative of the dynamism of these ecosystems. This is natural history with a long view, starting with an overview of the state’s geological history, the reemergence of the forest after glacial retreat, and the surprising changes right up to European arrival. The authors create a vivid picture of Maine forests just before the impact of Euro-Americans and trace the profound transformations since settlement.
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In the News

Maine State Science Fair

On March 23, 2013, Jackson Laboratory will host the annual Maine State Science Fair at their Bar Harbor campus.  The Fair has been running for more than 60 years and is an opportunity for High School students to compete, collaborate with other Maine students and discuss science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) with scientists in those fields.  The Mission of the Maine State Science Fair (MSSF) is to educate, inspire and empower Maine students. 
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CoS News


New Programs

CoS will soon be launching two new programs. The first program, The Science of Me, will focus on current issues of health and wellness. The second program will explore the science of sustainability with emphasis on some of the scientific factors driving the costs of food and on how Maine citizens can get their hands on tools, resources and information that will allow them to successfully grow and preserve their own food. We would like any recommendations on books that we should highlight, specific information that you would like to see a part of the program or presenters that you thought were excellent in communicating these topics. Please send your suggestions to

Websites of the Month


Celebrating the Science of Music, Volcanos, Weather Forecasting and Science News.

The Science of Music - Exploratorium
Why is it that I can hear the low end of my neighbor’s music better than the high end? How come some music gives me goose bumps?  The Science of Music site explores these and other questions related to music.  You can also “mix” music, find out why members of an orchestra tune their instruments to match the oboe and hear for yourself how various environments effect the “feel” of music.

Photo Glossary of Volcanic Terms - United States Geologic Survey (USGS)
What exactly is Pele’s Hair and what does it look like? 
What is the difference between AA and Pahoehoe lava?  Part of the USGS Volcano Hazards Program, this page provides both descriptions and images for a variety of volcanic features.  Additionally, from this page you can link to the Volcano Hazards Program’s main page which includes information on U.S. volcanos, volcanic hazards and the five U.S. volcano observatories.

National Weather Service - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Many of us may already use this site for weather forecasts.  In fact, this site may be a trusted “favorite” on your bookmark list.  However, what you may not know is that the National Weather Service (NWS) site also provides other forecasts such as temperature, chance of precipitation and wind speed and direction forecasts.  For our telescope enthusiasts, you may also find that the sky cover forecast might help determine the best night to host your stargazing party.

Science360 - National Science Foundation
Science360 provides science news from around the globe.  Visitors can access breaking news, photographs, blogs and video.  There is a link to a video clip that features research being done by the University of Maine on cold-water coral that includes interviews with School of Marine Sciences Research Assistant Professor Dr. Rhian Waller and University of Maine marine sciences student Keri Feehan.
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Library Partners…….

Science Explorers & Young Frankenstein Storytime

Lewiston Public Library

On Monday, February 25, from 1:30pm – 2:00pm, LPL will be offering their Young Frankenstein Storytime series. Participants will be making Lava Lamps out of household items and learning why they work! All ages are invited.

On Wednesday, February 27, from 4pm – 5pm, the Science Explorers series will be investigating the Food Web. Budding scientists ages 8-12 are welcome to attend and explore the interconnectedness of the food web - how everything that is eaten serves a purpose in nature, sometimes a much larger purpose then we realize!  Resources include the CoS Owl Pellet kit.
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Save the Date...

Read, Write & Win

The deadline to submit information is March 22, 2013.  For more information please contact Cynthia Randall by email or at (207) 208-8975.

Support the Maine Public Library Fund - with an easy income tax check-off!

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