Incorporating STEAM into storytime

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Many of you have likely heard of STEAM (which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) or the STEM version of the acronym. It’s taken the educational system in our country by storm over the last few years and has made its way into libraries as well.

The basic idea is that instead of keeping these subjects completely separate from one another, they are incorporated into everyday learning. In turn, students receive a more well-rounded education and develop crucial skills such as critical thinking and creativity.

Last year I had the opportunity to attend the Association of Rural & Small Libraries conference thanks to a scholarship from the North Carolina State Library. I attended a session about STEAM Storytimes and was inspired to tweak the preschool storytime we have here at Polk County Public Library.

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Since we started Rising Readers back after a summer break, I’ve been doing things a little bit differently. Don’t worry, there are still stories and songs! But I am slowly working STEAM concepts into our storytime, particularly science (bringing nature, such as leaves and worms, into the library), arts (allowing children to make unique creations instead of following a pre-made craft template), and math (counting objects in books and flannel board stories). Hopefully both the kids and their caregivers enjoy it and get a little more out of it than they previously did.

Rising Readers is designed for ages 2-5 and held at the Main Library in Columbus on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. In addition to the learning aspect of storytime, children also gain school readiness skills and they and their caregivers get to socialize with other local families! We also offer a Baby Bookworms storytime for ages birth to 2 years old on Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

We haven’t forgotten the older kids either! We have a program for elementary school aged children every Wednesday at 4 p.m. This month there’s pumpkin decorating, apple crafts and activities, LEGOs, and a nocturnal animal program with Chimney Rock State Park.

Teens in grades 6-12 can hang out with their friends, eat snacks, play Nintendo Wii U, and enjoy other fun activities on Tuesdays at 4 p.m. (Teen Scene is also offered at the Saluda Library on Monday afternoons.)

Dates and times for adult programs vary, so check out our website or pick up a calendar for all the details about Cookbook Club, author events, craft workshops, computer classes, and more!

Jen Pace Dickenson is the Youth Services Librarian at Polk County Public Library. For information about the library’s resources, programs, and other services, visit or call (828) 894-8721.