Posted in Get Connected

From Science to Science Fiction

And everything in between.

Last spring, PAS science teacher Stacy Popma stopped by the library asking for help. As librarians, we did our best to provide her with books on astronauts for her new astronomy class.

“But,” she said, “I was thinking of having them do something more. Like a project.”

Of course, being the proud parents of our newly hatched maker space, we led Stacy back for the grand tour. Brimming with ideas, we offered to be the guinea pigs for the new class.

I have to admit, I was reluctant to read a book on an astronomer. I’ve never been a big biography reader, and I didn’t anticipate loving this part of my astronomy grade. What I couldn’t wait for was the end product: the creation of a project based on the book (which I ended up loving for a variety of reasons).


Let’s just say that I had a blast, and Ms. Popma launched the idea as part of her curriculum. The product of that class is on display at the library. But the best part isn’t getting to showcase the amazing work these students did, it was watching them tackle the project. You see, they used the STEAM Room each week.

And each week, we got to chat with the teens, listen to their ideas, talk about their books, and generally spend time with a segment of our population who doesn’t get enough credit for being amazing. Case in point, the turn-table theater that highlights multiple scenes in a book or the quilts that took up an astronomical amount of time.

Fast forward to the end of the first semester and Frankenstein ran rampant in the library.  Once again utilizing the tools, supplies, and space of the STEAM Room, Ms. Sullivan’s English 9 classes created some scarily good presentations based on Mary Shelley’s book. Many of these are also showcased in the library, though a few digital projects remain a bit outside our grasp.

Once again, their use of the makerspace afforded us a touchstone with students who had found a way to express themselves (and their education) in unique and fun ways. Connecting with them shapes what we offer to all of our patrons, leading to a more robust space with unique tools and supplies.

And people are taking us up on our offer in amazing ways. On any given week, someone is in the STEAM Room tinkering away. From Promposals to Valentines to physical therapy projects to birthday parties, the public is taking advantage of our makerspace. We’ve already created monsters and stars and the rocket ships to carry us beyond our imagination. What’s next?

That, dear readers, is up to you!

Call the library or stop by to reserve the STEAM Room and get connected with your inner creator. Our makerspace is open to the public outside of school hours.

P.S. If astronomy is your thing, don’t forget to sign up for Launched, our newest escape room. If you prefer ferreting out clues and solving puzzles, you should also join us for an out-of-this world opportunity!


Meinders Community Library is a combined school and public library that serves the residents of Pipestone County in Southwestern Minnesota. It is part of the Plum Creek Library System.