Bryson City, NC– Fontana Regional Library has been awarded a $50,000 LSTA grant to be used to bring hands-on astronomy education to K-12 students and adults in Macon, Jackson, and Swain Counties. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education resources are a high priority for schools and educators across the state, and this grant will help meet that goal for WNC residents and students of all ages.
LSTA grants awarded by the State Library of North Carolina are made possible through funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. These federal funds are investments that help libraries deliver relevant and up-to-date services for their communities.
At Fontana Regional Library, the LSTA grant will provide each library location in Macon, Jackson, and Swain Counties with a quality telescope available for checkout as well as access to a portable (traveling) planetarium for learning about space and astronomy. In addition, the grant will fund the purchase of books and learning activity kits that target the North Carolina curriculum goals related to the science of space exploration for students in grades 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 9. Children will also have access to a full range of space-oriented activities on computer workstations in the libraries.
Library Director Karen Wallace says, “ This grant will make possible a new avenue of STEM education in our region, and the timing couldn’t be better, as Western North Carolina will experience a once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse next summer, on August 21, 2017. These hands-on resources for all ages will make space exploration possible for everyone in our area. We look forward to working in partnership with school systems in our three counties, SCC, WCU, the Asheville Astronomy Club, and others.”
Fontana Regional Library received one of the 48 competitive grants for fiscal year 2016-2017 awarded to North Carolina libraries from this year’s federal allotment of $4,229,540. The LSTA grant program administered by the State Library of North Carolina funds library projects across the state that advance literacy and lifelong learning, expand access to library resources and expertise, promote partnerships and collaboration, and digitize materials important to the cultural heritage of North Carolina.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. Through the LSTA Grants to States program IMLS provides funds to State Library agencies using a population-based formula. State libraries may use the appropriation to support statewide initiatives and services; they may also distribute the funds through competitive subgrants to public, academic, school, special, and research libraries. To learn more about the Institute, please visit www.imls.gov.
For more information about North Carolina’s LSTA program visit the State Library of North Carolina’s LSTA web page at https://statelibrary.ncdcr.gov/ld/resources/lsta-grants or contact the State Library’s Federal Programs Consultant at 919-807-7423.
For more information about Fontana Regional Library locations in Macon, Jackson, and Swain Counties, visit www.fontanalib.org or call 828-488-2382.