Grants to benefit library programming

The Mason County Library System will be turning its focus to S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and math), following the receipt of two recent grants.

County Library Director Pam Thompson and Librarian Cindy Williams recently completed the “Leap into Science” training at the West Virginia Library Commission in Charleston, and as a result received a multi-year grant for materials.

“Leap into Science” is a nationwide program that integrates open-ended science activities with children’s books. It is in partnership with The Franklin Institute, the National Girls Collaborative Project, and the Institute for Learning Innovation. Topics of the program include balance, wind and air, light and shadows, sound, water, structures, inventions, measurement, magnets and more.

Thompson and Williams attended the session on balance and are now qualified to host workshops on the science of balance. Thompson said she would like to go into the school system with the presentation in the fall.

Also as a result of the training, they received the multi-year grant that will provide all the materials necessary to teach the program. The local commitment is to hold three events in the next year, one of which must be during science week in February.

Thompson and Williams will begin right away, however, using the program to tie in with the space-themed summer reading program, “A Universe of Stories.” They will integrate the two by showing how balance goes with gravity and walking on the moon.

In addition, the library system was recently awarded a $3,000 grant through the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

The grant is for summer reading, and targets Pre-K through 12th grade students who are new readers, below grade level readers, and assisting readers with learning disabilities. Thompson said the funds will be used for several things.

First, money will be used to purchase a computer tablet at each of the three libraries in Point Pleasant, New Haven and Mason. Next, it will be used to provide incentives for those enrolled in the summer reading program.

Finally, the funds will be used to purchase computer coding programs geared at young children. The “Code and Go Robot” and “Code-a-Pillar” will be among the items purchased for the three library locations.

While not being used for children’s S.T.E.M. programs, the tablets will enable the libraries to accept debit and credit cards for purchases of sale books and for overdue book fines, Thompson said.

For more information, contact the Point Pleasant library at 304-675-0894, the New Haven library at 304-882-3252, or the Mason library at 304-773-5580.

Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at

Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at