Citizen Science Month Mini Grants Awarded by the Network of the National Library of Medicine to 15 Libraries

Anyone, anywhere can plan a Citizen Science Month (April 2021) program or effort! SciStarter and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society (SFIS) at Arizona State University, with support from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM), are engaging the public to help speed up research on human and environmental health by showcasing featured projects and programs throughout the month of April, as well as providing resources for anyone to engage their community in citizen science — by making meaningful contributions to real scientific research.

To support libraries across the United States in their Citizen Science Month efforts, the Network of the National Library of Medicine has awarded mini grants of $5,000 each to 15 libraries to assist the recipient libraries with the programs they have planned to showcase citizen science by leveraging resources from SciStarter and with educating patrons about the All of Us Research program, a precision medicine study.

SciStarter and other Citizen Science Month partners are excited to work with the below libraries on what they have planned. Do their ideas inspire you? It’s not too late to plan a program and add it to SciStarter!

Grantee Libraries and Citizen Science Month

Bath County Memorial Library

Owingsville, Kentucky

This library is expanding their citizen science book collection, as well as leveraging social media templates, bookmarks, flyers and posters from SciStarter to educate their patrons about citizen science topics. The featured project for this library during Citizen Science Month is The Great Sunflower Project, which invites citizen scientists to study the pollinators around them, and the library will acquire supplies like binoculars and datasheets to support this goal. Bath County is situated in Eastern Kentucky and deals with the digital divide. This library will leverage the Bookmobile to get into the community and bring resources to people that would otherwise miss out. To quote the library, “We strive to be creative and innovative and do as much as possible with as little as possible, reaching as many people as possible.”

 

Umatilla Public Library

Umatilla, Oregon

This library is using the grant to jumpstart a citizen science program that they hope goes beyond just Citizen Science Month. They will conduct citizen science story walks on local trails in partnership with the City of Umatilla Parks & Rec department, as well as educate patrons about citizen science through social media and showcasing citizen science posters and flyers.

 

North Shelby Library

Birmingham, Alabama

This library is promoting their Citizen Science Month programs on social media and creating take-away kits for patrons, as well as building up their collections of citizen science books, videos and circulating kits.

 

Tyrone-Snyder Public Library

Tyrone, Pennsylvania

The Tyrone-Synder Public Library is using the grant to create a Citizen Science Community Scavenger Hunt, with QR codes linking videos to various activities, including a stream study in a local park. Participants will receive backpack kits to facilitate their hunt.

 

Fletcher Free Library

Burlington, Vermont

This opportunity will pilot a Citizen Science collection for adults with supporting programming. The library is using grant funding to create 5 new kits and run complimentary programs. They will increase participation in current research projects by two marginalized populations – older adults and non-English speakers. This grant will give the library the leverage to partner with the local senior center and provide translated Citizen Science project information to low English-literacy families visiting the City’s summer free lunch sites.

 

Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Libraries

Martinsburg, West Virginia

The Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Libraries are embracing “bees” as their Citizen Science Month theme and creating programming and kits around the ZomBee Watch Project and the Great Sunflower Project, as well as social media showcasing other Citizen Science Month featured projects and the All of Us Research Program. The library hopes to grow citizen science participation beyond the month of April and expand into the summer featuring animal projects that relate to their summer reading theme: “Tails and Tales.”

 

Show Low Public Library

Show Low, Arizona

Citizen Science is new to this library’s community. The library is the only entity in Navajo County that has started any programming in Citizen Science, and the library has established itself as a resource-rich facility where they highlight many different topics that have long-term impact. Programming will introduce citizen science by increasing awareness of “Leave No Trace” while hiking the area’s numerous trails. Materials will be purchased to help hikers clean up the trails as they are hiking, walking, or biking. This grant will also support the library in conducting April programming and creating a dedicated citizen science section at the library.

Find their event on SciStarter: 04/01​/2021, 4:00 PM EDT to 5:00 PM EDT

 

Kenosha, Wisconsin

Kenosha Public Library

Kenosha Public Library will plan a series of about 4-6 programs all related to spring pollinators. The library is also partnering with local media partners to educate the community about citizen science and the All of Us Research program.

 

San Miguel Library

San Miguel, California

The San Miguel Library is focusing on pollinators with online programs in partnership with SciStarter (join us on April 22!), as well as free kits for community members and educational efforts distributed as brochures in-person and social media materials online.

Find their event on SciStarter: 04/22​/2021, 4:00 PM EDT to 5:00 PM EDT

 

Brentwood Public Library

Brentwood, New York

The library will use these funds to create and promote kits and citizen science programming as well as advertise and add to our collection. They will connect new and existing programming to All of Us through digital advertising. Take-home kits will include material for experiments, record keeping, incentives and promotional items. For teens and tweens, the kits will include supplies for Ant Picnic and Pollen Collection. For adults, the kits will be Bat Box, Native Bee Environment and Blue Bird House.

Join the library’s online events on SciStarter:

Brentwood Library Public Citizen Science Take and Make Kits

Batty About Bats

Why Raise Quail? Bobwhite Quail vs Ticks

 

Waldport Public Library

Waldport, Oregon

The library is conducting extensive Citizen Science Month programming by having over 13 programs during April with various themes reaching out to audiences of all ages. Waldport is a small, rural community of 2,300 people within Lincoln County (50,000), Oregon. While adults 45 or older make up 45% of the local population, the other half are struggling families. In 2019, their county ranked highest statewide with 943 unsheltered youths. The library believes this grant could make a huge difference to their community and beyond.

 

Milbridge Public Library

Milbridge, Maine

This library is in a rural community and is collaborating with the Maine Outdoor School to focus their Citizen Science Month programming on local families, schools and outdoor education through providing citizen science guides and kits to submit data about light pollution, identify ladybugs and collect phenology data

 

Carson City Library

Carson City, Nevada

The Carson City Library is expanding their successful community science storytime program with take-home kits and other media to make it easy for more ages and families to participate fully in community science and the All of Us projects from the library or at home. They are also working with their parks and rec department to turn their outside Secret Garden area, which is underutilized at this time, into a native pollinator garden. This grant will help the library create backpacks anyone can check out and use in the garden to track wildlife and participate in other community science programs.

 

Chapel Hill Public Library

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

This library is focusing on iNaturalist and offering themed Grab ‘n’ Go kits during their April outreach events to kids & family from historically marginalized communities.

 

Riverside Regional Library

Jackson, Missouri

Riverside Regional Library is excited to serve the 3 rural counties of their 6 branch library system (75,000+ patrons) with Citizen Science Month virtual programming, new citizen science books/kits and social media educational materials about citizen science. The library will build on the success of their kit program and engagement with citizen science projects, including Globe at Night. 

More About Citizen Science Month

SciStarter and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society (SFIS) at Arizona State University, with support from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM), are engaging the public to help speed up research on human and environmental health.

(Tempe, Arizona) — March 23, 2021 — Citizen Science Month, observed annually in April, is a celebration of all things citizen science. Citizen science engages people from all walks of life in real research anytime, anywhere, on topics from astronomy to zoology. Libraries are quickly becoming community hubs for citizen science and play a unique role in helping people learn about science and technology while fostering community involvement in research.

This year, libraries across the nation will again host special events and promotions that link citizen science to existing programs. Citizen Science Month events in April 2021 will have a special focus on environmental and human health projects.

Building on a new, national program to circulate citizen science kits through libraries and ongoing programming efforts related to citizen science in libraries, participation in Citizen Science Month supports the mission of libraries to strengthen communities and transform lives through education and lifelong learning. Last year, in Citizen Science Month 2020, more than 100 virtual events took place in library communities and participants reported in evaluation surveys feeling more motivated to engage in citizen science and most agreed that the events helped them feel more connected to others.

The NNLM MidContinental Region describes citizen science programming on its website: “Citizen science is a scientific project that involves the public partnering with professionals in different aspects of research – from planning, to data collection, to analysis, to dissemination, and everything else in between. The Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) supports Arizona State University and SciStarter’s work in citizen involvement in scientific research because it’s a great way to break down some of the barriers between researchers and the public and it also helps foster better understanding of data in this increasingly data driven world.”

“The power of citizen science is the massive impact that is made by everyday people, individually and collectively,” said Darlene Cavalier, Founder of SciStarter and a Professor of Practice at SFIS at Arizona State University. “Online and virtual events during Citizen Science Month will help introduce thousands of people to citizen science and help them find ways to act upon issues they are curious or concerned about, individually or as a community.”

SciStarter, NNLM, and the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program have collaborated with libraries and community-based organizations on Citizen Science Day in 2019, Citizen Science Month in 2020, the Summer Reading Meets Citizen Science program in 2020 and additional events and efforts leading up to and through Citizen Science Month 2021. This work introduces communities across the United States to All of Us and other featured citizen science efforts focused on health and environmental research, leveraging strategic partnerships with trusted community leaders like public libraries and local community-based organizations. All of Us is featured prominently in keynote events, where speakers connect citizen science projects to All of Us engagement priority areas and explain how members of the public can get involved in All of Us by signing up via https://joinallofus.org/nlm.

Getting Started with Citizen Science:

Find all the necessary tools and resources to participate at CitizenScienceMonth.org.

About Citizen Science Month Partners

SciStarter.org is the place to find, join, and contribute to science by providing people access to more than 3,000 searchable formal and informal citizen science research projects, events, and tools. The SciStarter website also offers a dashboard or coordinated place for members to track and earn credit for contributions across citizen science projects and platforms. More than 100,000 global citizen scientists are registered members of the SciStarter community. The SciStarter team includes educators, faculty, librarians, programmers, instructional designers, communicators, and scientists, all focused on improving the citizen science experience for everyone.

Arizona State University School for the Future of Innovation in Society (SFIS) is a transdisciplinary unit at the vanguard of ASU’s commitment to linking innovation to public value. SFIS pursues a vision of responsible innovation that anticipates challenges and opportunities, integrates diverse knowledge and perspectives, and engages broad audiences. By examining the ways we translate imagination into innovation — and how we blend technical and social concerns along the way — SFIS aims to build a future for everyone.

The All of Us Research Program is supported and overseen by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and aims to accelerate health research and medical breakthroughs, enabling individualized prevention, treatment, and care for all of us. To do that, the program is asking one million or more people to share health information to build one of the most diverse health databases in history and help researchers learn how lifestyle, biology, and environment affect health. SciStarter and the All of Us Research Program partnered to host citizen science Summer Reading events in Summer 2020.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) support the All of Us Research Program by providing innovative and engaging activities to public libraries and community organizations. NLM and NNLM aim to improve the public’s access to health information and provide awareness about the All of Us Research Program to communities that are underrepresented in biomedical research by partnering with libraries across the United States.

 

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About the Author

Caroline Nickerson

Caroline Nickerson

Caroline Nickerson is a Senior Program Director at SciStarter where she manages the Citizen Science Month Program, SciStarter’s Corporate Volunteer Programs and other programmatic and outreach efforts, including working with SciStarter’s Syndicated Blog Network, which encompasses the Science Connected, Discover Magazine and SciStarter platforms. She spends her day helping educators, library staff, community leaders and volunteers from all walks of life do real science. Caroline is a Master of Public Policy graduate from American University, where she was a Reilly Environmental Policy Scholar, and is a current PhD student at the University of Florida. She also works with the UF-VA Bioethics Unit, the Christensen Project, Florida Community Innovation and the Commission on Local Debates. She was the 2019 Cherry Blossom Princess representing the state of Florida and the grand prize scholarship winner at Miss Earth USA 2021 as Miss Louisiana Earth.