Science Partner Resources

Congratulations on joining other science advocates to offer a series of thought-provoking and fun Pushing the Limits programs. You are joining a growing group of public librarians and science partners across the country who enjoy engaging their communities in thinking and talking about STEM topics. These programs are designed to bring together community members to engage in discussions about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) that are part of our everyday lives.Here’s a quick overview of the project, including scenes from three libraries
as they implement the programs.

Pushing the Limits Programs for Libraries
An Introduction
You may want to read Helping to Make the Library a Starting Place for Science Literacy, an essay by Dan Rockmore, who served as the Principal Investigator on the original Pushing the Limits and on Pushing the Limits: Rural Gateways.arrow icons

Dan is the William H. Neukom Professor of Computational Science and Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Dartmouth College. His deep passion for communicating STEM to public audiences has shaped his diverse pursuits including leading the development of four documentary films, numerous NPR radio commentaries, and writing for the Washington Post, The New Yorker, and the Huffington Post.

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Why is the series called Pushing the Limits?
Since the beginning of time humans have imagined and achieved pushing the boundaries of the physical world. We want to be stronger, smarter, and more aware. We create stories to bring those dreams to life. But many of those dreams are no longer just stories. With great new advances in science and technology, we are finding ways in which all of us are able to push the limits every day.This series focuses on how each of us every day, knowingly or otherwise, uses STEM to reach our dreams. The science partner’s role is to help engage adult audiences in considering that question, while encouraging them to see the science in the world around them.

How Does It Work?
Think of the program as “book club meets science café.” Your fellow community members read a book and then join you and your librarian partner to discuss the themes of each event as they are presented in the books and videos.


Pushing the Limits program events are each structured around a theme. The books, videos and discussions will all explore the theme from different perspectives. Download the theme guides, which discuss the thematic approaches in more detail– you can discuss this with your librarian partner.
To learn more about what to expect, here’s a 60-minute webinar recorded by members of the original project Leadership Team and science partners in the second year of the program. You can download the mp4 if you would like to view the slides while listening, or download the mp3 if you would like just the audio. The mp4 is a very large file and may take a few moments to download. If your computer does not open and play them automatically, you may need to download a free video player, such as Quicktime or VLC.
The thematic structure of the programs provides an opportunity for your community to explore how science exists not only in labs and under microscopes, but also in the broader world around us – such as in ancient pottery and artwork, on the kitchen cutting boards of southern chefs, and in the hearts of athletes.

Explore each of the program units in the Public Program Resources section.

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