Library, Oh Wow! Partner on Learning Project

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County will open an interactive learning space Wednesday in the Main Library as part of a $20,765 Sparks! Ignition grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The grant facilitates shared learning with partnering organizations and will use coordinated learning spaces at the Main Library and Oh Wow! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology.

The local grant, called YOLO or Youngstown Ohio Learning Opportunities, will promote spaces for kids in grades K-8. Participants can interact with hands-on activities and technology in the maker space in the library and with designated exhibits at Oh Wow!

“Oh Wow! is excited to be involved with this project. We believe its results will offer important insights for future efforts,” said Suzanne Barbati, president and executive director of the children’s museum.

Through the grant, stackable badges will be developed to track the progress of participants as they move between the library and Oh Wow! for learning.

“The purpose of this project is to evaluate if learning is increased when two organizations offer opportunities for tiered learning experiences,” said Josephine Nolfi, the library’s director of programming and youth service. “This grant aims to bring children into both the library and Oh Wow! for a learning process that builds on itself as kids experience topics from multiple perspectives at two locations.”

For example, kids can play a piece of music on a PVC pipe organ at Oh Wow! and continue that experience at the library, where they can compose and edit an original piece of music using software. “Those activities can earn them a music badge,” Nolfi said.

Kids also can take part in hands-on activities such as using water controls to play video games, discovering how a 3-D printer creates an airplane, learning about aerodynamics with a remote-controlled toy drone, making movies with animation, working with online Lego building, and writing a weather forecast that can be presented at the green-screen exhibit at Oh Wow!.

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