In the Spotlight       CoS News        In the News         
       Websites of the Month       Library Partners       Save the Date

A Letter from Executive Director, Cynthia Randall

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

There is no one clear definition of science literacy rather two prevailing thoughts.  The first prevailing thought is science literacy as a strategic goal and precise in what should be accomplished.   The national issue and sense of urgency, is that if we are to continue to lead and compete in the global market place, we need a scientifically and technologically literate workforce.  The second prevailing thought, is a broader view where the public develops an appreciation for science, as a cultural force, as a means to search for truth and understand the natural world. Science literacy is the application of science and the links to our daily experiences, its relationship to other disciplines and society.

Our mission is to strengthen the capacity of public libraries to serve as a place for local people to gather in an informal science setting to learn about the role of science in their lives.  Public libraries’ role to serve as this conduit, strengthens community life by connecting people with science and technology in ways that stimulate lifelong learning; assisting citizens to understand the impacts that scientific and technological advances have on their daily lives; and, increasing their abilities to make informed decisions in their economic, civic and cultural pursuits.  Because of the accessible, non-partisan nature of the public library, science literacy can be explored on both fronts.  Bringing science literature, personalizing the science experience through hands-on programs and dialogues with the scientific community, CoS is able to assist people with understanding the impacts scientific and technological advances have on their daily lives.  In addition, within the walls of the library, the opportunity is there for the individual to explore the natural world, stimulate lifelong learning and increase their abilities to make informed decisions in their economic, civic and cultural pursuits.
Ultimately what we want is a public that finds science interesting and important, who can apply science to their own lives, and who can take part in the conversations regarding science that take place in society.  Not everyone will develop the same knowledge and skill, but feeling that one can continue to learn and participate are key elements to life in a democratic society.  Some will find the study of science compelling enough to pursue scientific careers; others will provide leadership in their communities regarding science-based social issues.  The important thing is that everyone should have an opportunity to learn enough so they will not be left out of this dimension of our modern experience.    

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In the Spotlight……

York Reads: Rachel Carson - Her Life and Legacy

York Public Library

The Town of York is currently in the midst of their ninth annual York Reads program.  York Reads is a great example of bringing the community together through literacy.  The program creates an opportunity for a number of community groups to come together around a single book to facilitate informal discussions in the supermarket or at the family dinner table and provide a wide range of programs throughout the year.  While the program is spearheaded by the York Public Library, the endeavor is clearly a community effort.  In fact, according to Robert Waldman, the Director of the York Public Library, it is the number and variety of participants that choose to engage each year that make York Reads so successful.
Each year a committee comprised of various community members selects a single book upon which the program will be centered.  This year the committee chose to focus on the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.  Participants have based their activities and presentations on this overarching theme.  This year’s presenters include, but are not limited to, local artists, authors, scientists, environmentalists and historians.  Movies, outdoor nature walks, book discussions and art exhibits are just some of the many activities wrapped around the theme.  Learn more about York Reads.

The success of the York Reads program suggests that once community organizations and individuals are offered a chance to participate and bring their area of expertise to the cause, they are likely to join the effort and help to lighten the load for the local library staff.  The phrase “many hands make light work” comes to mind.   Cornerstones is thrilled that York Reads chose to explore the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring which has been a well-received CoS/Library Partner theme throughout the year.  We would love to help any and all libraries that may be interested in pursuing their own community oriented science literacy program and are happy to discuss potential themes, recommend supporting materials and connect you with science providers.  Please contact us if you have any questions.

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CoS News


Innovative library services “in the wild”  - Pew Research Center


Library Partners and the CoS Library Telescope Program

In a recent article from the Pew Research Center entitled Innovative library services “in the wild”, the Portland Public Library, Curtis Memorial Library and the Raymond Village Library were all recognized for providing telescopes and related support activities for their patrons. The article also referenced a past article by The Forester that provided details of the CoS Library Telescope Program.

Read, Write and Win


A Science Literacy Contest for Students, Grades 3-12

The Read, Write & Win program, established in 2004, was designed to connect students, in Grades 3-12, to science and technology, through a reading & writing contest.  Promoted through librarians and science teachers, students are encouraged to select a science book and write a review.  In addition to essays, students may submit an illustration or artwork inspired by the book they have chosen.

The deadline for the 2013 contest is Friday, April 5, 2013. All participants MUST register using the on-line entry form

For contest requirements and other questions, please contact Dave Carpenter by email.

In the News

Mathematics Awareness Month: Mathematics of Sustainability

Mathematics Awareness Month is held annually during the month of April.  Begun in 1986 as Mathematics Awareness Week and evolving to Mathematics Awareness Month in 1999, the goal is to increase public understanding of, and appreciation for, mathematics.  Often referred to as the language of science, mathematics is a core element in the study and communication of science.  In that vein, the theme for this year's Mathematics Awareness Month is the Mathematics of Sustainability.  The website for the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics provides more information on this year’s theme and provides essays and blog posts that focus on the role of mathematics in sustainability.

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Websites of the Month


Celebrating the Science of Girls Health, Glaciers and the Iliad.


Girls Health – Department of Health and Human Services

This site was created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health to help girls (ages 10 to 16) learn about health, growing up, and issues they may face.  The website also provides information to parents and educators to help them teach girls about healthy living.


All About Glaciers - National Snow and Ice Data Center

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) supports research focusing on the world's frozen areas, or cryosphere.  It is no wonder then that this site provides a nice walkthrough of the various aspects of glaciers.  After starting with this page you can step through other pages that address questions such as how they are formed, how they move and how they affect land.  There is also a photo gallery that shows glacial types, features and landforms. 


Geneticists Estimate Publication Date of the 'Iliad' – Inside Science

While we can typically look in the first few pages to find the publication date of the book we are currently reading, that technique will not work with certain readings.  The Iliad, for example, required a little more work to determine it’s time of publication.  Geneticists have applied research methodologies they use in their field of study to that of words found in the Iliad to confirm what scholars have always believed regarding when the Iliad was written.
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Library Partners…….


Engineering is Everywhere

Prince Memorial Library 

The Prince Memorial Library in Cumberland is participating in a pilot program through the Boston Museum of Science called Engineering is Everywhere!  The classes are for grades 6-8 and will be held during afternoons in April.  FMI 829-2215.

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Save the Date...

Read, Write & Win

The deadline to submit information is April 5, 2013.  For more information please contact Dave Carpenter by email.

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

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