RIMERSBURG – Thanks to a recent grant, the Eccles-Lesher Memorial Library in Rimersburg is now well stocked on an array of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) books for children and young adults.
Kelly Minich, the children’s programming coordinator at the library, said that a $1,500 grant from Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania has helped the library purchase 76 great new books for its juvenile and young adult non-fiction sections, with a few more books still to come.
She said the library saw a shift a number of years ago when it came to its non-fiction collection—rather than coming to the library to check out books, folks instead turned to the internet to find what they needed.
But things have shifted again, as schools and teachers are once again pointing students in the direction of books rather than just going with everything they see online.
That created more requests for non-fiction books at the Rimersburg library, and that, in turn, created a funding dilemma.
“We knew we needed to work on that area. But now that they’re using the non-fiction section, we didn’t have the money,” Minich said of purchasing books, many of which are large, costly reference books.
The library got the boost it needed with the grant from Columbia Gas, which was targeted toward STEAM and energy education.
Minich said the grant has enabled the library to replace old, outdated books with many new ones that are better geared to younger age levels and current interests.
“The computer books we had were old and outdated,” she said, explaining that some of the new books center around the booming industry of computer coding. “That’s a big deal now. We have a lot of books on coding.”
The new collection also features books on the natural world, astronomy and space, animals, art and music, forensics, maths, engineering and more.
There are cookbooks for teenagers, as well as several new do-it-yourself books for simple construction and engineering projects that kids can make at home with limited supplies.
Minich said some of the books focus on women in science and art, and there are a series of high-end Smithsonian books that the library would not have been able to afford.
“Without the grant, we could have never gotten some of these books,” she said.
With “Oceans of Possibilities” serving as the theme for this year’s Summer Reading program, Minch said some of the new books center around oceans, rivers and other waterways that can be used for the summer program.
“There’s such a variety here,” Minch said, noting that the library is very appreciative of the grant. “We’re very grateful to have it.”
Library director Rachel Campbell agreed, noting that there has been an upswing in non-fiction book checkouts at the library.
“This is very timely,” she said of the need to update the non-fiction section.