The Recorder – With New Ambassador, Teen Librarian From Greenfield To Advocate For STEAM Learning


Published: 11/7/2021 3:00:20 PM

GREENFIELD – A local librarian has been named one of the very first group of Creative Learning Ambassadors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab of the Public Library Innovation Exchange (PLIX).

“It’s really, really exciting,” said Francesca Passiglia, teen librarian at Greenfield Public Library, who is one of the 25 ambassadors in total. “It really is a big deal.”

Those chosen represent librarians in a variety of roles and extensive background in library science, or science, technology, engineering and technology (STEM), according to a PLIX press release.

“I applied to be an Ambassador and had no idea whether I would be chosen or not,” Passiglia said. “I have the impression that there are so many librarians who already operate from libraries that have makerspaces. I was surprised and happy when I learned that I had been chosen.

As an Ambassador, Passiglia will advocate for creative science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) learning in Franklin County public libraries and nationwide.

“The PLIX program complements a public library’s mission to support fully accessible lifelong learning,” said Passiglia, who plans to use the Ambassador to bring library programs around the theme to the community. STEM and introduce a creative learning environment that is as inviting and accessible as possible. . “At the moment, the library doesn’t offer any STEM or STEAM programs, and that’s something the kids I work with – middle school and high school kids – are constantly asking for.”

Passiglia said she recently hosted a two-day makerspace camp, where attendees made paper circuits and origami.

“It was very popular,” she said, noting that the new Greenfield Public Library, which is slated to be built on the property of the former Main Street Fire Hall, will include manufacturing space in the framework of its design.

Public librarians, she said, are thrilled to have the “PLIX way of teaching” in their libraries. Last week Passiglia and the other ambassadors had their kick off meeting.

In a PLIX press release, Mayor Roxann Wedegartner said it was great to see Passiglia’s “dedication to learning” recognized.

“Our community and our library can greatly benefit from working with other Ambassadors,” she said.

Some of the programs Passiglia plans to deliver include PLIX’s “Beautiful Symmetry” – a math-based program for finding patterns in nature – and PLIX’s “Soft Robotics”. Passiglia said attendees will receive material kits, which will be accompanied by a link to a tutorial from the Greenfield Public Library on the different ways to create using the materials provided. As part of her ambassadorial mandate, Passiglia receives the audiovisual (AV) equipment necessary for the programming, as well as a stipend of $ 1,000.

“It’s a very exciting organization for the library to be involved,” she said, “and the fact that it’s managed by MIT is also very nice.”

Journalist Mary Byrne can be reached at [email protected] or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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