Berryville, GF Libraries selected as partners in national project

Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Berryville Public Library director Julie Hall (left) on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, announces the library’s participation in the STAR Net STEAM Equity Project, a competitive grant program that will enable the library and its local collaborators to offer special programs, educational products and exhibitions.
Robert Cox / Carroll County News

The Berryville Library has been selected as one of only 12 libraries in the nation and the only library in Arkansas to participate in the STAR Net STEAM Equity Project, a competitive grant program that will enable the library and its local collaborators to offer special programs, educational products and exhibitions.

Through the four-year project, Berryville and Green Forest communities are invited to join this effort to empower tweens and their families in equitable STEAM learning and career paths by building off their existing strengths, interests and diverse cultures.

Local partners have teamed up with the library to offer a series of fun and free learning opportunities. Those partners include the Green Forest Library, Town and Country Soccer Club in Green Forest, North Arkansas College and Arkansas Immigrant Defense.

The Science Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) Equity project is designed specifically for libraries in rural communities with sizable Latinx populations.

“We are so excited and honored to have been chosen to be part of this amazing opportunity,” said Berryville Library director Julie Hall. “Science, technology, engineering and math are so much more than school subjects. They are the building blocks of real-world problem-solving skills that are key to improving ourselves, our community and our world. We are excited to be working with our local partners to help us launch fun and free learning opportunities.”

Rob Kerby, director of the Town and Country Soccer Club in Green Forest, said he’s excited to be part of the project.

“I have story after story of how our program has helped area youth succeed, and our hope is to continue this tradition by being a local partner with the library,” Kerby said. “Our community has many little incredible diamonds in the rough out there, and this program is designed to help us find them through the use of collaboration and interactive programming.”

Over the four-year project, Berryville Library will receive $15,000 to buy STEAM learning materials and offer programs, such as coding or robotics clubs focusing on the needs and interests of tweens and their families. Other highlights of the project will include take home STEAM kits, new STEAM exploration stations in both libraries and national traveling exhibits featuring interactive games and design challenges in both English and Spanish.

Linda Tamayo, North Arkansas College Carroll County operations coordinator, said she couldn’t be more excited to partner with the library on the project.

“We are committed to helping bring awareness of STEAM education to students of all ages and their families,” Tamayo said. “Careers in the STEAM field are ever growing and we strongly believe that early exposure is key. This is a great opportunity for Carroll County and we look forward to being a part of this program and contributing to its successes.”

The STAR Net STEAM Equity project is offered by the National Center for Interactive Learning at the Space Science Institute (NCIL/SSI), the American Library Association (ALA), Twin Cities PBS (TNT), Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI) and Education Development Center (EDC) with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

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