The Ohio Library Council (OLC) and the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) have partnered to distribute more than 12,000 science kits to public library systems across the state. The COSI “Learning Lunchboxes” are filled with hands-on science activities for children and feature a space theme. The kits are being delivered to local libraries where many children already go for free meals during the summer months.
“We know the pandemic created an education gap for many students. Our libraries are working hard to help bridge that gap,” said Michelle Francis, Executive Director, Ohio Library Council. “Ohio’s public libraries are known for their outstanding summer reading programs, but we are thrilled to work with COSI to make science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning opportunities more accessible to Ohio’s youth this summer. So far, we’ve distributed more than 8,700 kits to libraries across the state and more kits are on the way.”
Built in partnership with NASA, the Learning Lunchboxes are filled with five days of engaging activities targeted for grades K-8. All materials needed to complete the activities are included, and the interactive content is tied to Ohio learning standards.
“This summer is an all hands on deck moment to provide critical learning as we come out of this global pandemic. We must all work together to help bridge the education gap, especially for those who are underserved and were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. We are excited to partner with the Ohio Library Council and hundreds of libraries across our great state this summer to serve families and youth,” said Dr. Frederic Bertley, President and CEO, COSI.
Ohio’s public libraries work with local food banks to serve meals to children whose access to lunch disappears when school is out. Many libraries provide meals and after-school snacks year-round. The Learning Lunchbox program is part of the Ohio Distance Learning Initiative which is led by COSI and the state of Ohio, as well as an unprecedented collaboration of meal providers, public libraries, museums, and cultural institutions across the state.