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Latest News

Citizen Science at the Forefront

By | Latest News, Library Partner Science Activities | No Comments

If you are interested in learning more about and doing citizen science then you are in luck. Opportunities abound! Here are just a few to check out.

SciStarter logo

How-To Festival on Citizen Science

Saturday September 15 from 10-1pm in Brunswick, Maine

Come see Cornerstones present on SciStarter activities and the Library Telescope

The Curtis Memorial Library spearheads this festival!



Citizen Science Association (CSA) Conference

March 13-19 in Raleigh, North Carolina

Cynthia Randall, Executive Director of Cornerstones co-presenters at the conference.




Article from Connected Science Learning

Do Children Make Good Citizen Scientists?



Citizen Science SciStarter widget on the Cornerstones of Science website homepage (scroll toward the bottom of the page)

See the “Science We Can Do Together” box on the right side of the page.



Mathematics Problem Solving Program

By | Latest News, Science In the News | No Comments

Here is a math program to promote in your community that supports out-of-school learning. Maine Mathematics Science and Engineering Talent Search (MMSETS) – Problem-Solving Program for Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont Students

Students receive a problem to solve once a month for seven rounds. Participating in this program is a fun way for student to improve their math skills in an informal way.

Deadline to apply this year is September 5!

More information on the Problem Solving Program including the application: http://www.mmsets.org/images/docs/mmsets18_19probsolv.pdf

More information on MMSETS: http://www.mmsets.org/

Cornerstones: STEM @ Berkeley Public Library

By | Cornerstones of Science News, Latest News | No Comments

Berkeley picture

“Working on a national scale is something Cornerstones has been engaged in for about three years now,” stated Sarah Post, Program and Library Support Manager. “We are doing this in a variety of ways from engaging public libraries and astronomy clubs in over 23 states through our Library Telescope Program, to a STEM project through an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant that works with six public libraries in Maine and Massachusetts and state libraries in four states. There is also our NASA@ My Library Project work with 75 public libraries in 49 states and four state library agencies, and now the Cornerstones: STEM@ Berkeley Public Library initiative.”

As a subset of the IMLS grant along with additional funds, Cornerstones and the Berkeley Public Library in Berkeley, CA were able to understand the library’s STEM capacity by seeking input from the library staff, board, and community. They used that feedback and made a plan of action that incorporates STEM into the library in a way that is community centered, engages all age groups, and is part of everyday operations. Check out what they are doing!


A Quick Reminder from… The Cornerstones of Science Library Telescope Program Astronomer-Ron Thompson (Cornerstones of Science and Southern Maine Astronomers)

By | Cornerstones of Science News, Latest News | No Comments

The CoS Library Telescope program started in 2012, so there are quite a few telescopes out there now. We have had very few problems with them over the years, but we want to make sure you check the battery/batteries in the telescope Red-dot EZ Finder. It is a good habit to check the batteries periodically for both function and safety. The Red-dot EZ Finder is the LED sighting scope located on the optical tube. There is no need to remove the Finder from the telescope to change the batteries.

Telescopes with a lithium battery (small button battery) (see top picture): The battery compartment is located on the underside of the EZ Finder. Pull down on the tab that shows where the battery is located. NOTICE how the battery is currently situated in the compartment so if you have to change the battery then you will see how it is seated.

Telescopes with AA battery pack (see bottom picture): The battery pack is located on the side of the EZ Finder and opened with a small Philips screwdriver. If you find a little bit of corrosion in the black battery pack, clean it out, and replace the batteries. Some corrosion is common when tools have batteries.

Time to Check Your Telescope Red-dot EZ Finder Batteries!

Check your Owner’s manual for more information or the Orion website at www.telescope.com for an instructional video on How to Replace the EZ Finder Battery.

Seeking State Libraries to Participate in the NASA@ My Library Project

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NASA My Library logo

Is your state interested in STEM and space science? Does your state library want to be part of a NASA yearlong project? The NASA@ My Library project currently has four State Libraries (MI, ND SC, and WA) participating as pilots and up to eleven more will be chosen for a total of 15 SLAs. As part of this project, State Libraries receive two space science kits that are primed to circulate out to public libraries. Participation includes attending monthly webinars, helping connect with state space science resources, and circulating the kits. The project begins in January 2019 ends in December 2019.

The application process opened on August 6th and calls for a Letter of Interest (LOI) e-submission. Closing date is September 21st and applicants chosen by October 15. We anticipate that SLAs will be under contract by mid-December.

To learn more about this opportunity please visit the COSLA web site or contact David.Keeley@cornerstonesofscience.org.


STEM Activities for… Earth Day and Summer Reading 2018

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Earth Day is on Sunday April 22. Need some ideas for Earth Day activities? The STEM Activity Clearinghouse is a great resource as is Star_Net.

Summer Reading 2018: Libraries Rock!

The Collaborative Summer Library Program’s Summer Reading theme is Libraries Rock! Listen to sounds of our Earth and beyond through Soundcloud.com.

Sounds of Nature (Bird Calls)

Spooky Sounds from Across the Solar System

Relaxing Rain and Loud Thunder

Howler Monkeys in Belize

Birdsongs of Australia

Find the sounds that make you rock out to science!

NASA at my library Denver

NASA@ My Library Workshop in Denver, CO

By | In the Spotlight, Latest News | No Comments

A training workshop recently took place on February 28-March 1 in Denver for those partner libraries and state library agencies on the NASA@ My Library project. Cornerstones specifically trained the 75 partner libraries and 4 state library agency partners on a 4.5” reflector telescope that the libraries will receive in a future hands-on science kit built especially for this project. Cornerstones also worked closely with the state libraries to gain a better understanding about how they work with subject matter experts and on how science kits can reach public libraries around their state through a circulation system.

Space Shuttle

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon — We Discovered Earth!

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon — We Discovered Earth!

Date: 4/30/2018
Start Time: 5:30 PM
End Time: 7:00 PM

Location: Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick

In collaboration with Maine Space Day and Curtis Memorial Library, Cornerstones of Science is hosting Brian Ewenson, an aerospace expert and educator, who will present on the awe-inspiring aspects of the Earth. This free public presentation is a great way to expand upon Earth Day and to think about everyday as Earth Day.


In 1968, the first time astronauts left the confines of Earth orbit, we saw our home planet in its entirety for the first time. While reaching for the Moon, we came back with a much greater appreciation of the fragility of planet Earth and it provided us a platform to observe the seasons and cycles of the planet, as well as natural and man-made changes. Come along on a voyage to the home planet, explore the continents, discover a world without lines on a map, and test your geography skills.

Brian Ewenson is recognized as a top aerospace expert in Canada and NASA’s Space programs. He shares his experiences as an aerospace educator with over 100,000 youth each year across North America in a hands-on/minds-on presentation using authentic space program hardware.

With 25 years spent collecting memorabilia and supporting manned space flight, Brian has amassed one of the largest collections of space-related memorabilia in North America. He has launched community artifacts and designed youth experiments that have flown on five shuttle missions and has hosted over 25 astronaut appearances. Brian recently directed partner activities for a world-wide space education program called “Space Day”.  He has designed, developed and interpreted four permanent museum exhibits, including participation in Spaceport Calgary, the World’s first permanent air and space education facility located in an international airport. Brian regularly appears in newspapers, and on radio and TV as a space expert with CTV, CBC and CNN Headline News Local Edition.


“Recognized as one of the top space educators in Canada”- Calgary Herald October 17, 1998

“Kids get a lesson out of this world” – Montreal Gazette January 16, 2003

“This (presentation) was very detailed, I thought they just buckled their seatbelts and went…I felt like I was on a trip myself” – (Grace Chow Grade 5 Student) Montreal Gazette Jan.16, 2003

“He (Brian) took them from launch to landing of the shuttle, captivating his audience with slides, video and hands-on demonstrations, as “oohs” and “ahhs” erupted from the excited crowd”- Daily Mail, Hagerstown, Maryland Feb.2, 2003

“Citizens of the Universe… title, perhaps not inappropriate for Ewenson’s young audience…if they take anything away from today’s assembly, it is this: Reach for the Stars, and one day, you will get them.” – Picket News, Tri-State, Washington County, Maryland Feb.2, 2003

Spaceport Sheboygan, WI (Director of Education)
Board of Directors Scientek-12 Foundation
Arizona Aerospace Foundation
Instrumentation Technology Associates, Inc. (Consultant Student Outreach)
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (Educator Associate/ Officer of Tucson AIAA)
National Air and Space Society (Member)
Space Day (Former Director of Partner Activities)Alexandria, Virginia 22311
Aerospace Museum of Calgary (Former Director of Education)
Canadian Space Agency (Former Communications/Education Outreach employee)
City of Calgary Educator of the Year 2000

Climate Change

Facing the Future: Facilitating Climate Conversations at Your Library

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Date: 5/1/2018
Start Time: 9:30 AM
End Time: 3:00 PM

Location: Topsham Public Library

Cornerstones of Science is sponsoring ten spaces in this wonderful training for librarians. To receive a sponsored spot, contact the Cheryl Ramsay at the Maine State Library. Those who receive a sponsorship agree to 1) report on how they used the training in their library, and 2) contribute to a follow-up discussion on this training at the MSLA 2019 meeting.


From the news that earth surface temperatures hit a record high in 2016, to a presidential administration that denies the effect fossil fuels play in climate change, we are inundated with stories and images about climate change. And yet authentic face-to-face conversations about climate change (with family, friends, neighbors, colleagues) are rare. According to the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, “more than half of those who are interested in global warming or think the issue is important ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ talk about it with family and friends.”

In this experiential, interactive training, participants will learn why dialogue about climate change is critical to creating a brighter future, and how librarians can facilitate dialogues that empower our communities to be better equipped to respond, adapt, and mitigate the effects.

You will be guided through the creation of a “Climate Change Communications Toolbox” to facilitate dialogue and host “Climate Change Conversations” within your library community.
You will:
• Learn how to create and host “Climate Change Conversations” at your library.
• Share ideas for archiving and exhibiting artifacts created in workshops.
• Brainstorm ideas for building community partnerships.
• Learn why resilience and social capital are critical for communities to thrive and endure, and how libraries can help communities build both.
• Experience mindfulness exercises as a tool for “re-wiring” the brain to stabilize the nervous system.
• Explore your own thoughts and feelings about climate change through storytelling and reflective writing.

9:30-10:00 Coffee and Networking
10:00-12:00 Morning Session
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-3:00 Afternoon Session

Fee: There is a $20 charge for this event to defray the cost of refreshments and lunch. Please make checks payable to: Treasurer, State of Maine (please note: checks not made out this way will be returned for reissue).

Mail checks to (include your name with check so we register the correct person):
Cheryl Ramsay
Maine State Library
64 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333

About the Instructor
A 2017 Library Journal Mover & Shaker, Madeleine Charney is the Sustainability Studies Librarian at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries. She helped launch Talking Truth: Finding Your Voice Around the Climate Crisis, a collaborative, campus-wide project that facilitates contemplative experiences in which to explore this global threat. She is co-founder of SustainRT: Libraries Fostering Resilient Communities, the newest round table under ALA. She is a Master Gardener, certified in Permaculture Design, and helped start up her local chapter of Mothers Out Front: Mobilizing for a Liveable Climate. Madeleine holds an MLS from University of Rhode Island (1991) and an MA in Sustainable Landscape Planning and Design (2003).