Multnomah County Library among 10 partnerships chosen for national science and literacy initiative

PORTLAND, Ore. — July 26, 2011 — Multnomah County Library is forming a partnership with Philadelphia's Franklin Institute, Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN schools), and AKA Science to launch an innovative after-school and family-focused science and literacy educational effort titled LEAP Into Science. The library is one of 10 centers nationwide selected for the partnership. The partnership's central goal is to demonstrate how museums, libraries and other educational institutions across the country can work together to enhance the capacity of underserved communities to engage children and families in science.

LEAP Into Science's program model combines the Franklin Institute's strengths in informal science programs with the library's expertise in youth literacy programming and its existing citywide after-school program.

With this grant, the library's School Corps staff will create new programs emphasizing the connection between science, literacy and public library resources. School Corps provides after-school programming to SUN schools throughout the school year.

The library's School Corps will start presenting the programs in SUN schools this fall, and the programs will continue throughout the 2011-12 school year. Multnomah County Library will also begin offering new science programs at library locations based upon the LEAP Into Science effort. That programming is tentatively scheduled to begin in January or February 2012.

Funded by a $1.176 million dollar National Science Foundation grant in 2007, LEAP Into Science aims to achieve the following impacts:

  • Increase science interest, understanding and engagement by involving underserved families in cross-generational science experiences.
  • Make science accessible to a diverse audience by bringing science activities into community settings and promoting the use of museums and libraries.
  • Build community capacity and provide training and experience in informal science education to library after-school staff and children's librarians.

About Multnomah County Library

Multnomah County Library is the oldest public library west of the Mississippi, with a history that reaches back to 1864. Today, Central Library and the other 18 neighborhood libraries that make up the library system house a collection of two million books and other library materials. As Oregon's largest public library, Multnomah County Library serves nearly one-fifth of the state's population with a wide variety of programs and services. Over 35,000 people use the library each day, either online or in person.