Monticello library offers STEM for adults

The Monticello library has started “Pushing the Limits,” a book series dedicated to the STEM initiative, for adults. Each month, starting in January, a new book is read and discussed. The library will also bring in professional speakers to correspond to the topic at hand.
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is not just for students. And the Monticello Public Library is about to change that.

     From January through April, the library is introducing a book series, one book a month, dedicated to STEM.

     The series, titled “Pushing the Limits,” was made possible through a $3,500 grant the library received. Monticello Librarian MaDonna Kremer said only 100 libraries in the country are taking in the program.

     “It’s all about developing informal science learning and STEM,” explained Kremer. “You don’t have to be a scientist to learn about science.”

     Kremer said STEM is seen in people’s everyday lives’ why not explore it more through literature and book discussions?

     The four books, with multiple copies of each available for checkout at the Monticello library, and their themes include:

     • “Arctic Drift” by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler (January, survival)

     • “Thunderstruck” by Erik Larson (February, connection)

     • “Wired” by Douglas E. Richards (March, knowledge)

     • “When the Killing’s Done” by T.C. Boyle (April, nature)

     After each book is read, those taking part in the Pushing the Limits series can attend one of two book discussions at the library. Those will take place the third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. or the Thursday at 1:30 p.m. For “Arctic Drift,” the discussions are set for Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. or Jan. 19 at 1:30 p.m.

     “You never which direction the discussions will take,” advised Kremer. “Everyone has his/her own opinion.” She said for each book there will be a different person versed in that particular topic leading the discussion. For January, Larry Pisarik will be leading the discussion.

     Kremer said the discussion don’t necessarily have to be in with the book of the month.

     There will be appetizers and beverages served during each book discussion as well.

     In addition to the discussions, each book has its own companion video. Kremer describes these as “short, human interest videos related to the books:” survival, knowledge, science and nature.

     And, there’s more. To really keep readers engaged, the library is hosting a different speaker during each of the four months. These professionals will speak on topics outlined in the book of the month.

     January’s speaker is David Thoreson who has traveled on three different Arctic expeditions: 1994, 2007, and 2009. His adventures are part of his quest to find the infamous Northwest Passage. He is also a professional photographer. Thoreson is from Lake Okoboji, and has published two books on his travels.

     His program is set for Jan. 25, at 6:30 p.m. at the library.

     Kremer said anyone is welcome to come hear from the speakers; you don’t have to have read the books to enjoy the presentations.

     The program and all that goes with it is free.

     As for why Kremer dove into bringing adult STEM to the Monticello library, she said she wanted to broaden readers’ horizons.

     “I wanted to appeal to w wider audience,” she said.

     While book discussions typically involve females, Kremer said the books in “Pushing the Limits” appeal to men.

     “And, STEM is a part of every book here whether people realize it for not,” she said.

     The books can be checked out for two weeks, longer if there is less demand. Kremer said you could always check out the books early before the month begins.

     “These books are not too in depth that you can’t understand,” encouraged Kremer.

     To reserve a copy of the books or find out more information about “Pushing the Limits,” contact Kremer at 319-465-3354.


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