Carson City Library receives STEM grant

In addition to the grant to create a manufacturing training and certification program, the Carson City Library also received a smaller $5,000 grant to enhance science, technology, engineering and math skills.

As part of that grant, students in grades six through 10 will learn the video game Minecraft, where players build structures by breaking and placing blocks in a collaborative setting.

“Minecraft library programs will require creativity and critical thinking as students engage in competitive activities possible with the software,” said Tammy Westergard, business manager of the Carson City Library. “No previous skill with Minecraft is required.”

She said the library will also host Minecraft workshops that will culminate in building entire virtual communities. She said 3-D printing will also be a part of the experience.

The Library Services Technology Act grants are a result of initiatives taken by Carson City’s community-wide strategic plans for education, formed when the school board, supervisors and library all adopted one another’s plans.

The library is also using a grant to work with Carson High School freshmen to teach video production skills.

Molly Walt, the library’s out-of-school-time coordinator, taught the students how to make a public service announcement. Students then used the technology in the library’s Digitorium to make the ads.

The two winning videos will be broadcast at the Galaxy Fandango movie theaters in March and April.

“Since the opening of the Digitorium at the beginning of this school year, more than 1,800 students have used the space, 550 freshmen finished a project-based assignment that resulted in teams of 3-5 students producing over 125 public service announcement PSA videos,” Westergard said.

The purpose of the community education alliance is to prepare students for college or well-paying jobs.

“We know the tools of hard working people are technology and access to information,” said Ron Swirczek, president of the Carson City School Board. “And we all know Carson City does not have adequate resources to meet that ever-growing demand and need. Every community in America understands that and is in similar positions. This was a chance to align the right partners and get some help for folks in and out of a formal classroom setting.”

He said the library is the ideal entity to link education to the workforce.

“Public libraries are the portal to opportunity for everyone and good jobs are linked to good skills,” Swirczek said.


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