Volume 2, Issue 1  /  August 2013 

A Letter from Executive Director, Cynthia Randall

Awakening Curiosity, Enriching Lives

What’s in a brand?  One answer is that it is a set of associations that a person or organization wants to project out to the world.  A statement of who they are, what they stand for and why?  Cornerstones has been thinking a lot about this recently.  Why?  If we want to successfully convince people, of all ages, that (to paraphrase physicist Brian Greene) science is a language of hope and inspiration, provides experiences that sparks curiosity and instills a sense of connection to our lives and our world, then we need to be demonstrating this in every part of our organization’s being.  Because this is what we, at Cornerstones truly believes, it is with great excitement that I would like to introduce some of the ways we are increasing the visibility of science.  First, our new tagline “Awakening Curiosity, Enriching Lives” pays respect to the amazing transformations that we know happen when people experience science and the wonders that come with such experiences within public libraries. 
Cornerstones, in its soul searching, came to the understanding that more than connecting with science was going on.  We see people actually building their own scientific knowledge and driving their own connections and meanings to their lives.  Our new mission statement reflects this observation. Cornerstones of Science works through libraries to create experiences of science that spark curiosity and foster a deeper connection to the world around us.  However, it is not enough for us to consider just the here and now.  Cornerstones vision drives towards a larger thought that the sharing of scientific knowledge within community increases the well-being of both that community and its citizens.  The vision is: Cornerstones of Science, through its partner libraries, helps people value science and understand its implications for everyday life and community well-being.
If you have not already noticed, at the top of this newsletter, Cornerstones has created a new logo.  What’s in a picture?  Just as our programs, supports and services are multi-faceted, our new logo should also reflect that science is collaborative, there are many points of view and all of which build scientific knowledge and understanding in an engaging, compelling way.  We do not believe in a one size fits all approach to science and will continue to develop multiple approaches to help libraries deliver engaging science programs to their patrons. 
With these changes, we have also begun to rollout other tools to communicate science as a language of hope and inspiration.  One way we have done this is through our new website.  Dave Carpenter, Director of Science Communications, in the Cornerstones News section of this newsletter, will describe some of these new functions and features.  I invite all of you to please visit our website and let us know what you think. 

Cornerstones News

Cornerstones Website

Cornerstones is happy to announce the launch of our new website.  We have worked to create a website that supports our current programing yet is flexible enough to address our future endeavors.  Our library partners can access information on science cafés, professional development workshops and online tools.  The site highlights library programs and provides links to engaging events and activities.  Visitors can download our strategic plan, websites of the month or newsletters. 

As we progress, the website will house various training and informational videos as well as the Science Provider Network that will be an interactive database allowing librarians to find scientists who are interested in providing presentations at local libraries.  As we launch our new website we will also be expanding the use of our other digital outreach tools such as our Facebook page and Twitter feed which we invite you to visit and join.

We hope you find the website useful.  Please contact us if you have any comments or questions.

In the News

Midcoast Mini Maker Faire - Camden Public Library

Midcoast Maine’s Mini Maker Faire is geared up for the first annual fair, to be held on September 7 at the Camden Public Library. The Maker Faire is a show of ideas, energy, creativity, and fun that will excite and inspire attendees about the world of making. This is a free, family-friendly event open to all ages.

This year’s event, running from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm in the Library’s Amphitheatre, will proudly display over 20 maker exhibits, giving access to the leaders and innovators from the maker movement, awe-inspiring attractions, and much more. The event will feature do-it-yourself science and technology, robots, crafts, art and much more.  Learn more.

In the Spotlight

Science Trunks and Toolkits

Looking to bring a little science and technology into your library?  If the answer is “yes”, then you should know about the Cornerstones Science Trunks.  We have a variety of trunks that are available for libraries to borrow and use with their patrons.  From Water and Creativity to Lobsters and Mammal Tracks, there are 8 different themed Science Trunks that are available to borrow for up to a month at no charge. We can also ship the trunks via the Library Currier Service at no charge to you.  Contact Dave Carpenter via email or at (207) 208-8975 to learn more.

We also want to take this opportunity to let you know that the University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H Program also has some fantastic Science Toolkits that are available to libraries.  Cornerstones of Science and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H Program are combining our efforts on a number of projects and programs of which one is helping to bring the 4-H Science Toolkits to your library. According to Sarah Sparks with the University of Maine, the 4-H Science Toolkit program is a way they can provide resources, curriculum and materials for volunteers such as librarians or after-school providers that are ‘grab and go’ to do science activities with kids.

The 4-H Toolkits are not just simply activities with some science at their core.  Rather, the kits are based on past and current research being performed at the University of Maine.  The Power of the Wind Toolkit, for example, is all about wind power and includes principals from wind power research underway at the University of Maine.

According to Sarah, the users often indicate that they are going to expand upon the principals learned from the Toolkits.  Positive feedback from users includes the ease of use and the minimal prep time required to launch an activity.  The Toolkits span the K-12 spectrum and most have multiple independent activities that average about an hour each.

Libraries can borrow the Toolkits for up to one month.  It is strongly recommended that they be reserved well in advance due to their popularity.  Some trunks can be delivered directly to your library.  Others can be picked up at the closest County Extension office.  You can learn more about the trunks by visiting the 4-H Science Toolkits webpage or by contacting Sarah Sparks via email or at 207-353-5550.
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Book Recommendations

Science Experiments

By Robert Winston

Winner of The Royal Society Young People's Book Prize, Science Experiments is oriented toward children and spans a range of science themes. There are numerous photos and illustrations to help clarify procedures for each experiment and step by step instructions to guide the young scientist through the activity.    

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope

by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

This is the story of a young Malawian boy who wouldn’t let go of a vision. Against all odds, William pieced together a working windmill for his village using nothing more than scraps and parts he salvaged from his village and the knowledge he gained from his local library.

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Websites of the Month

Investigating Weather, Climate Change and Global Weather Systems

Sci Jinks – NOAA & NASA

What causes a rainbow?  What causes a tornado?  The Sci Jinks website addresses weather oriented themes such as Hurricanes & Storms, Tides & Oceans and Seasons.  There is a section of Fun and Games that includes a number of activities such as a Weather Jigsaw Puzzle and writing a Weather Adventure Story.

Student’s Guide to Climate Change - EPA

Visitors to the website can explore the effects of climate change on various locations around the world as part of a Climate Change Expedition with video clips and activities. The site provides articles, activities and a glossary with terms ranging from Adaptation to Water Vapor. 

Earth Observatory: Global Maps - NASA

The Global Maps page of the Earth Observatory website provides visitors a chance to see climate related data collected from NASA research ventures such as satellite missions, in-the-field research, and climate models. Carbon Monoxide, Sea Surface Temperature, Snow Cover and Vegetation are just 4 of the 16 themes that are presented in a month to month change-over-time format. The information is presented in a global map perspective to give the visitor a chance to view what is happening around our planet.

Library Partners

KIDS! Young Engineers Club - The Auburn Public library 

When: Fridays from 4:00 – 5:30 pm

Children ages 9 – 12 are welcome to explore engineering principles such as friction and lift through fun hands-on activities brought to you by Jeanne Lothridge from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
August 16         Pinwheel Lift
August 23         Marshmallow Catapult
August 30         T.P. Roll Flying Butterfly
September 6     Wind Powered Boat
Contact the Auburn Public Library Children’s Department at 207-333-6640 (ext. 3) for more information. 

Save the Date

What Does it Mean to Learn Science in the 21st Century

When:  September 12, 2013 (doors open at 6:30 pm) 
Cost:  Free, open to the public
Location:  Gulf of Maine Research Institute, 350 Commercial Street, Portland

The second in a series of public presentations about what it means to learn science, and how this is changing in the 21st century.   Join GMRI for "Neurological Implications for How Kids Learn" presented by Christopher Kaufman, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist, Kaufman Psychological Services, P.C. 

Seating is limited. Please register online or contact Christina Traister by email or at 207-228-1622 with any questions. This free event will be from 7 to 8 p.m.; doors open at 6:30 p.m. Free parking is available.

Cornerstones Library Partner Summit

When:  December 5, 2013 
Location:  TBD

We will again be hosting our annual Cornerstones Library Partner Summit which is an opportunity for Librarians, Cornerstones staff and others to meet and talk all things science.  Among the scheduled events and activities will be an opportunity to test drive the Science Provider Network that is currently being built and is in direct response to feedback we gathered from librarians who attended the 2012 Summit.  Stay tuned for more details.
awakening curiosity, enriching lives