Making STEAM at Ridgefield Library
Making STEAM @ Ridgefield Library is our new initiative to offer activities and programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math to the community. Find out about the wide array of instructional programs, hands-on workshops, and special events the Library has to offer for all ages.
Special STEAM Events
What exactly is STEAM, and why is it important? Is it a movement, a mindset, an initiative, a teaching method, a theory? The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and Ridgefield Library recently presented a symposium that explored these questions through the lenses of education, contemporary art and design, innovation in business and technology, community engagement, and more.
Generous support for Full STEAM Ahead was provided by The Amadeo Family; Anita and Nick Donofrio; Eric Diefenbach and JK Brown; Ridgefield Education Foundation; TownVibe; the Hospital for Special Surgery, Stamford; Hopkins Vineyard; and Froniter Communications.
For the past three years, thanks to the generosity of the Donofrio Family, the Library has offered family field trips to the World Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing, Queens. In 2015, nearly 100 children, parents, teachers and Library staff attended this event that is part science fair, part craft fair and part tech industry trade show.
The Library was a-buzz on Saturday, December 12th, 2017, as members of the Library’s Girls Who Code Club, Makers Meet-Up and Robotics Club, Random Hacks of Kindness, Jr. participants, and students and teachers from Ridgefield Public Schools, Ridgefield Academy and Wooster School demonstrated cool STEAM and coding projects they have been working on.
Throughout Computer Science Education Week (December 7-13), the Library offered an introduction to coding for seniors, parents, preschoolers and others. The Library staff even participated by all doing an Hour of Code!
The fun can continue year-round. Just log into ridgefieldcodes.org to get started!
RHoKJr is the project of a nonprofit organization that provides elementary and middle school students the opportunity to come together as problem solvers and innovators to make the world a better place. Here at the Ridgefield Library we are enthusiastic about this approach because it helps provide a real world context for computer programming skills with the goal of igniting a passion to learn more.
Ongoing STEAM Initiatives
Do you like to tinker, design, and build things? Would you like to design something and print it using our 3D printers? Are you interested in having fun with electronics and computers? Come join an intergenerational group of like-minded people as we help each other bring our ideas to fruition.
Lego Robotics Club
Join Sleepy Hollow Middle School teacher Michael Garguilo for our monthly Robotics Club. He leads 3 teams as they learn how to build and program robots to navigate our challenge board.
Girls Who Code
Girls Who Code is a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in the technology and engineering sectors and bring high-quality computer science education to girls in grades 6-12 nationwide. Employing a flexible and proven curriculum, girls are equipped with skills that provide the foundation for a future in technology. This is accomplished by running 7 week summer immersion programs and through chapter clubs.
The Ridgefield Library is host to a local chapter of Girls Who Code for high school girls in 9th-12th grade. Girls complete 40 hours of instruction and participate in several exposure activities during the year. In the inaugural year, the girls visited Rent the Runway in NYC where they met 20+ women who are driving this tech based business and they participated in a Women in IT panel discussion at the Library where they were introduced to 6 diverse women working in computer science fields. In addition to learning, the girls also gave back to the community. They helped staff the Hour of Code celebration event at the library that saw 300+ people in attendance and as a final project, created a game for use in freshmen orientation to introduce incoming freshmen to Ridgefield High School. Of the 17 girls that completed year one, all 17 have returned for a second yea,r and several are planning on majoring in computer science.
Donofrio Inspiring Girls (and Others) in Science Program Series
For more than 10 years, the family of Nick and Anita Donofrio has supported the Library’s efforts aimed at inspiring young people, especially girls and minority students, to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields through school, college and beyond.
This ongoing series of programs, workshops and events, dubbed Inspiring Girls (and Others) in Science, has also helped the Library receive several prestigious grants to participate in other science related programs such as NASA’s astro4Girls model project, the International Year of Astronomy 2009 and the Einstein’s Big Idea outreach initiative, for which the Library won an Outstanding Library Service Award in 2005.
Starting in 2015, the Inspiring Girls in Science series is being incorporated into the Library’s broader Making STEAM initiative.
Scheduled STEAM Programs
Each month Library staff and outside experts conduct numerous instructional classes and hands-on workshops on STEAM subjects. Some require registration and others are drop-in opportunities. Click on the topics below to see what activities are scheduled.Click here for more information.
Maker Cart on the Move
Other Resources & Equipment
Creativity is not confined to one room here at the Ridgefield Library – we treat the whole building as our Maker Space! STEAM activity can happen in the Donofrio Family Technology Center, the Ellis Family Teen Center, the Leir and Kellen Family Children’s Program Rooms, Main and Dayton Program Rooms and even in our numerous small study and meeting rooms, thanks to our portable Maker Cart. The cart is equipped with bins containing tools and supplies for many different STEAM activities, from circuitry to crafts.
Look for the Maker Cart around the Library and join us for creative and educational fun.
Thanks to donors participating in the 2015 FairfieldGives online giving day organized by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation for providing the funds to get our Maker Cart on the move.
The Library’s 3D printer is available for use by appointment by patrons who have completed an orientation session. Use is restricted to Ridgefield residents aged 12 and up. At this time, use of the 3D printer for most purposes is free-of-charge thanks to the Friends of the Library. Complicated or large projects may require special arrangements. Please read the 3D Printer Policy below or contact the Adult Services Desk for further information.
VHS to DVD Conversion
Do you have home videos in VHS format that you would like convert to DVD? Reserve an individual two-hour session to make a DVD from one of your personal VHS videos (NTSC format only). Please note that it takes the entire playback time of the video for the conversion to DVD. Available to Ridgefield Library cardholders 13 years of age and older.
- Stem to Steam An initative of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) to explore the convergence of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math with Art + Design.
- Hour of Code Learn more about this global computer science education movement.
- Ridgefield Library program promotes technology to students Danbury News-Times 2/15/15
- IT experts present diverse opportunity Ridgefield Press 1/26/15
- An unexpected, high-tech career: A profile of panelist and Ridgefield High School graduate Alicia Harder Ridgefield Press 2/25/15