The Dothan-Houston County Library System received a $10,000 boost for an outreach program that puts more STEAM in a local city school.

Last year, the library system entered into a partnership with the Bright Key program at Selma Street Elementary School in Dothan, Library Director Chris Warren said.

“We had a team of our youth services staff who would visit the school and they would do these hands-on learning workshops focused on STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics,” Warren said.

State Sen. Donnie Chesteen saw a news report on the program and asked Warren how he could help. A $10,000 community service grant secured by Chesteen will allow the library system to update equipment as well as replenish materials and supplies for the STEAM workshops.

Chesteen said the program could spark a young person’s interest in a career field.

“We can bring more kids in,” Chesteen said. “Anytime we’re doing something good like this with young people, I think it is our responsibility to try to find a way to help.”

Warren said the outreach program quickly became a favorite among librarians, and he hopes to eventually expand the program to more schools.

“We saw it as a way to enrich the classroom experience for these students – help them develop some confidence with technology, help them get enthusiastic about these concepts, which then builds their success as students and helps them be more successful in life,” Warren said. “These are really exciting, really innovative things, and the fact that our librarians can partner with the teachers at Selma Street is really, really exciting.”

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