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If you've ever wondered: Why do curve balls curve? and other interesting tidbits

Kids in the STEM program
STEM: science, technology, engineering, math

If you've ever wondered:

if it is possible for a person to become Batman -
why snot is green -
what it takes to become a storm chaser -

then look no further than Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) online and print collection.

Made possible by a grant from the PNC Charitable Trust Grant Review Committee, the Library's STEM collection includes a wide variety of materials from science reference books to informational DVDs to career preparation materials. Available online through the Library's Web site, the Job and Career Education Center in Oakland and Teen spaces throughout the system, the collection is intended to inspire and engage middle and high school students in STEM subjects with the intent of promoting future careers in these fields.

"This collection is especially appealing to teens because it contains a mix of entertaining and informative materials," said Holly Anderton, Manager, Teen Department at CLP - Main. "We are able to show that people interested in the sciences can find a job they love."

The United States is currently facing a shortage of skilled workers in STEM-related fields.

Current statistics indicate:

  • Fifty percent of the country's science, engineering and technology workforce is over 45 years of age and 33% are able to retire today, but there are not sufficient students in the pipeline to replace them.
  • One-fifth of 4th graders and one-third of 8th graders lack the competence to perform even basic mathematical computations.
  • Less than 10% of high school graduates pursue undergraduate degrees in engineering. Of the 10% who enter engineering programs, only one-half earn a degree in engineering.

There is a great need in the workforce for people with strong STEM skills. By building a strong background in these areas, teens can stand out amongst their peers. The Library's STEM collection aims to show middle and high school students that subjects like biology, astronomy, anatomy and technology are interesting and exciting.

STEM subjects are enjoying a flood of interest from educators and librarians across the country who are hoping they'll encourage students to consider careers in these disciplines. In Pittsburgh, companies such as Google and Disney are helping the city redefine itself as a mecca for technological advances. To showcase the region's diverse talents, the Library's STEM Web pages include links to Pittsburgh-area organizations that provide workshops, scholarships and volunteer opportunities that focus on teens and their scientific interests.

While the STEM collection is relatively new to the Library, staff already are engaging local teens as well as middle and high school educators.

>> "We've found that both the online and print resources have been helpful with research," Anderton added. "Because of the collection, the Library now boasts stronger science and math curriculum support."

Photo of kids using STEM resources

To learn how you can help future scientists, engineers andeducators, contact Pat Quinn Winter, Director of Development, at 412.622.8873.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh: Engaging our Community in Literacy and Learning.