The Port St. Joe Public Library will host an interactive and immersive STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program this summer.



Even with the end of school just three weeks away the learning doesn’t stop.

The Port St. Joe Public Library will host an interactive and immersive STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program this summer.

The program “Do you want to build a Robot?” begins in July, but registration is underway and space is limited to 15 students.

Designed for students in the fourth-grade or above, the program will allow the students to build a robot from the ground up.

A 3-D printer will be used, and will be a new addition to the library this summer.

“The kids will come to five sessions to learn about 3-D printing, to learn about C++ coding,” said Nancy Brockman, the Gulf County Coordinator of the Northwest Regional Library System. “Then we will assemble a robot. They will print the parts, the wheels and the chassis for their robots, and they will get a kit with an arduinos and servos.”

Brockman believes that the robots will introduce the students to STEM in an interesting way.

“We’re helping the children become more literate and familiar with technology, especially C++ coding,” she said.

With the changing landscape of media and technology, Brockman believes the program will give students a head start into the world of tomorrow.

“It’s part of the of the library trying to address community interest and changing emphasis on new technologies,” Brockman said. “That’s just part of how the library evolves.”

The program has taken place in Bay County once before, but Brockman is anxious for the program to begin in Gulf County.

“I’m a little nervous because it is something new,” she said. “We’ve gone through the class and we’re anxious to get the printer here so we can get more familiar with it.”

While library staff has received training, Brockman acknowledges that in today’s age of technology, some of the students may in fact help the staff with problems.

“We’re raising a group of digital natives that are comfortable with this,” Brockman said.

She also noted that while the robots will not be as high speed as some of those that they can buy in store, she feels that those in the program will still enjoy the process.

“What I think will appeal is the fact they are actually doing the assembly,” Brockman said.

While the library is hosting the new technology based program they will continue to hold their traditional summer reading program in June.

That program, “Build a Better World,” is broken down into two age brackets, the pre-school aged children and elementary aged children.

Children ages three to five will meet Monday mornings at the library, while six- to nine-year-olds will meet Tuesday afternoons.

There will be guest speakers and activities to keep the children interested and prevent them from losing reading skills gained during the school year.