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Librarians Explore! Pathways to Science

For over a decade, the Explore! program (created and managed by USRA's Lunar and Planetary Institute) has shared Earth and space science with children through informal venues such as libraries and after-school programs. The program encompasses development of children's activities and preparation for children's program providers. For each topic (Moon, Mars, Jupiter, for example), the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) provides a large variety of activities, background information, and online and book resources. To date, almost 700 librarians have been trained in 25 states; these librarians reach an estimated 42,000 children in their programs annually. To continually maintain contact and provide updates to the trainers, the LPI Education Team shares new resources, Earth and space science news, and new opportunities for involvement through online discussion boards at the Explore! web site.

In 2011, over 60 librarians serving rural communities in Nebraska, North Dakota, and Kentucky participated in two-day training workshops about the Moon or the Juno Mission to Jupiter. These participants explored pathways to engage children and families in science, interacted with mission scientists, and experienced hands-on activities they can share with children in their own programs. Through these librarians, the communities they serve will now be able to access and experience the latest planetary science discoveries.