Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White has awarded the Rock Island Public Library $1,300 in a Project Next Generation (PNG) grant to support youth mentoring in STEAM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math).

Entitled Your Future in STEAM, the RIPL project will engage local teens with technology and help them learn about future career paths in fields that use STEAM concepts, according to a library release Tuesday. The seven-month project starts this September.

“STEAM skills are a big part of our daily lives and careers, but they can seem abstract,” said Emily Tobin, RIPL young adult librarian. “Our activities will demonstrate practical STEAM applications, and help teens explore possible career paths beyond high school.”

Grant-funded activities include a mix of kits and in-person events.

The hands-on kits will introduce STEAM concepts to ages 9 to 18, with activities ranging from general problem-solving skills to more specific scientific principles. Through in-person events and videos, the library will work with local partners to introduce teens to mentors in various fields.

“At the end of the grant, our goal is to help young people recognize what skills they already possess, and learn about skills they might want to develop in the future,” added Tobin.

The first Your Future in STEAM kit is an airplane challenge for ages 9 to 18. It will be available for pick up at Rock Island Library locations starting September 8. All events and kits are provided at no charge to participants.

PNG projects were awarded grants from the Illinois State Library using federal Library Services and Technology Act funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Grants are awarded to public libraries serving culturally diverse, low-income and underserved populations. For more information about library events and services, visit the library events calendar HERE, call 309-732-7323 (READ) or follow library social media pages.