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Carlsbad’s City Council OKs almost $3 million in funds to help with the renovations of the Dove Library. The funds will be coming from the Capital Improvements Budget. Photo by Ellen Wright
Carlsbad’s City Council OKs almost $3 million in funds to help with the renovations of the Dove Library. The funds will be coming from the Capital Improvements Budget. Photo by Ellen Wright

STEAM space programs blast off at Carlsbad libraries

CARLSBAD — From aliens to rockets, the science behind imagination of space has come to the Carlsbad Library.

The library is hosting a series of science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) programs through August. Participation is free with programs at the two libraries and the learning center.

Students from kindergarten through third grade have and will continue their space explorations with two remaining sessions featuring constellations and an alien invasion. Students in fourth through sixth grade, meanwhile, will explore a jump to Jupiter and a rocket launch.

The first session was on June 18, with several on July 2, but now the program is ramping up with numerous dates in July and August.

“There is STEAM at all three locations, which is awesome,” Senior Children’s Librarian Barbara Chung said. “The goal is to encourage creative thinking and problem solving.”

The city is providing a STEAMworks lab and expo at the Dove Library and learning center, while the summer program will be held at the Cole Library.

The program continues the library’s tradition of Science Saturday, Chung said, which started more than 10 years ago. This year, however, the city rebranded to the STEAMworks lab and expo.

One project the kids will undergo, Chung said, is building a Mars lander and being able to land the device safely without injuring the astronaut on board. The makeshift device is suspended 1 foot and the students must bring it down in a controlled manner to ensure safety.

“It’s a lot of creativity and encouraging the kids to figure things out for themselves,” Chung said. “It’s not a real set curriculum and much more fluid and inventive. Wherever the kids want to take it, that’s where it’ll go.”

In addition, the STEAM programs also tie in with the library’s reading theme of “a universe of stories.”

The library program is also a continuation of a year-round STEAM program, Community Relations Manager Jessica Padilla Bowen said.

“We launched them earlier this year and we had a great response,” she said. “We’d love to have more people involved and attending.”

STEAM has gained momentum not only for the city’s summer programs, but within the Carlsbad Unified School District as well. The district has incorporated more STEAM programming throughout grade levels including robotics, which is stepped in STEAM.

The district unveiled its second-grade program in February, funded by the Carlsbad Education Foundation, which featured six weeks of robotics in each class. The students used Legos to build their projects, worked in teams, solved problems and expanded their concept of STEAM.

The middle schools and high schools have also incorporated more STEAM-related curriculum, while other students continue to focus on robotics through FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competitions. Last school year, Carlsbad High School qualified for its first FIRST Tech Challenge world championship. Sage Creek and Valley Middle School have also qualified for their respective FIRST championships.

The Dove Library is located at 1775 Dove Lane; the Georgina Cole Library is at 1250 Carlsbad Village Drive; and the learning center is at 3368 Eureka Place.

“They are encouraged to come whenever and can jump right in and get involved,” Chung said of the library programs.