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element14 Community and Hackster launch Design Challenge to improve Little Free Libraries

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Participants are encouraged to give neighborhood book exchanges a STEM/STEAM experience

element14 and Hackster, two Avnet communities, announced the launch of the “Little Free STEM Library Design Challenge,” encouraging their communities of makers, designers and engineers to host, build or upgrade a local Little Free Library with the STEM experience.

The goal of this challenge is for the 3 million members of the element14 and Hackster communities to use their love of STEM to enhance a Little Free Library in their neighborhood, promoting the importance of STEM/STEAM education. Participants are encouraged to blog about their project on either the element14 Community or Hackster websites so other members of the online communities can learn from their experience and spread their creativity.

“Little Free Libraries are an important way to share a love of books and reading with local communities, but have generally not been STEM-focused,” said Dianne Kibbey, Global Head of Community and Social Media for the element14 Community. “With this design challenge, we’re encouraging our members to have their local book exchange locations also reflect the importance of STEM education and highlight the important balance of encouraging both a love of reading and an excitement for creating something new using STEM skills.”

The Design Challenge is a fun way to get creative in building or enhancing what is already a great community service. Potential projects could include:

  • Creating a way for a song to play every time the door opens to a Little Free Library
  • Building a solar lighting system to illuminate a Little Free Library at night
  • Securing a touchscreen to a Little Free Library that requires individuals to answer fun questions or riddles before accessing the books

“With the ‘Little Free STEM Library Design Challenge’, we’re excited to create an opportunity for global innovators to reimagine the Little Free Library as a captivating center of STEM resources,” said Jessica Tangeman, CEO of Hackster. “Hackster hopes to empower exploration into STEM education by inviting developers to over-engineer a traditional literary access point into a fun, approachable representation of engineering in their local community. Collectively, let’s ignite a passion for learning and showcase the incredible creativity that lies at the intersection of literature and STEM education.”

The top 5 participants, groups or community spaces with the most innovative Little Free Libraries will each receive 20 x Micro:bit’s and a bundle of Maker Shed books. In addition, winners will receive a $100 Rybbon gift card prize for their efforts in helping promote STEM in their community. Build, host or upgrade an existing Little Library for a chance to win.

The “Little Free STEM Library Design Challenge” is open now through September 15. Winners will be announced in September 2023.

This Design Challenge is created in partnership with Avnet Cares. Since March of 2022, Avnet (based in Phoenix, AZ) has worked with the Literary Society of the Southwest, in collaboration with the Rural Activation Innovation Network, Southwest Human Development, and public libraries around Arizona to compile over 1,000 themed STEM kits for rural areas. Providing science-enabled content to promote STEM/STEAM education and awareness is one of the core missions at Avnet Cares.

To learn more about the element14 and Hackster communities and the “Little Free STEM Library Design Challenge,” visit http://community.element14.com/STEMLittleLibrary

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