Professional Development icon
Unit One
Adult STEM Programs in Your Library

Here you are, ready to start your journey towards implementing adult science programs in your library! As a Rural Gateways grant recipient, your first step is participating in this six-part professional development series. It combines onscreen text, written activities, viewing videos, and participating in the online Community of Practice. As you move through the professional development units and share your experiences with other librarians who are also participating in the project, you’ll be building your competencies to plan, create, and implement library programs that foster discussion of science topics and issues important to your community. In the process, the library will be expanding its role as a community resource for learning about science and how science is part of our everyday lives.  




As most of you know, there’s been increasing focus on engaging our communities in science.
The idea of science literacy has broadened to also include topics and issues related to technology, engineering, and math, and this combined focus is typically referred to as STEM. As you’ll see in the upcoming units, we’ll be using both terms – STEM and science – throughout the project.

    • Start by downloading the document Rural Gateways at My Library, located to the right.arrow icons You’ll notice that there will often be two download icons, one for a PDF and one that will provide a MS Word document. The content in each document is the same, but you may prefer one over the other. In this case, if you’d like to print the document and work in hard copy, you may prefer the PDF. Alternatively, you can open the Word document and work on it on your computer (for printing later).


    • Now, take 5-10 minutes to consider and briefly respond to the questions regarding your interest in the Rural Gateways project. Later, we’ll ask you to share your thoughts in our online community.


  • With all of the videos in the series, the button on the bottom right of the video will make the video go to “full screen” mode. In full screen mode you will have the control at the bottom of the screen to advance and rewind. After viewing, you can select the esc key to escape full screen.
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Unit One, Video One
Orientation to the Professional Development Series


  In many of the videos in this series, you’ll see excerpts from three sources.

    • Some of the video was recorded at a live workshop of 20 librarians learning about the Pushing the Limits programs. This video is designated by an icon that looks like a set of working gears.


    • Some of the video is from on-the-ground case studies of three libraries as the staff implemented the Pushing the Limits programs. This video is marked with an icon of a stack of books.


  • The last type of video excerpts you’ll see are clips from the Pushing the Limits programs themselves. These are usually presented inside a picture frame.



The Pushing the Limits library programs explore broad themes around the idea of science as an expression of humanity’s seemingly eternal impulse to push limits. By offering these programs, your library enhances its mission as a place where community members can come together and discuss science topics in an informal and non-threatening setting. Let’s take a deeper look at the public program series…

Unit One, Video Two
Overview of Pushing the Limits Program Series


  Before you move on in this orientation unit:

  • Take time now to view the Pushing the Limits public program videos. You’ll see that there’s an author video and a “science in everyday life” video for each of the four programs: Pushing the Limits: Knowledge, Pushing the Limits: Connection, Pushing the Limits: Survival, and Pushing the Limits: Nature. You can access the videos through the Public Program Resources tab at the top of this page. When you’re done, you can use the Professional Development tab at the top of the page to return to this unit.



Now that you’ve seen some of the Pushing the Limits public program materials, you’re probably wondering, “How do I put all of the pieces together and make these programs successful in my library?” That’s the goal of this professional development series. Let’s take a look…

Unit One, Video Three
About the Professional Development Series


We’ll all work together to create a peer-led learning community that shares information and provides support as you learn more about planning and implementing STEM programs for adults in your community.

    • Let’s start the conversation and get to know one another.


  • Using your notes on Rural Gateways at My Library, join the conversation in the Community of Practice to introduce yourself to your colleagues, and then participate in the discussion thread: “Unit One: Rural Gateways and My Library.” This first discussion thread will be open only until the next unit launches, so be sure to join us soon!

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