element14 and Hackster Communities Host Little Free STEM Library Design Challenge

By Dianne Kibbey

Global Head/VP of Community and eProcurement

Newark Element 14

July 24, 2023


element14 and Hackster Communities Host Little Free STEM Library Design Challenge

Little Free Libraries have been popping up in neighborhoods worldwide: small, mailbox-style containers offering free books that are populated by local communities. These micro-libraries are often maintained by volunteers and help foster a love of reading by providing easy access to books for people of all ages. They also spark creativity and build community by promoting neighborhood book exchanges. Anyone can take or leave a book from the library 24/7.

element14 and Hackster, two Avnet communities, are encouraging their members to enhance the Little Free Libraries in their communities by building, hosting or upgrading a local Little Free Library with a STEM twist: the Little Free STEM Library Design Challenge.

The challenge encourages the 3 million members of the global communities to reimagine the Little Free Library as a captivating center of STEM resources. It aims to showcase the important balance of encouraging both a love of reading and an excitement for creating something new using STEM/STEAM skills. Participants are encouraged to blog about their projects on either the element14 Community or Hackster websites so other members can learn from their experience and spread their creativity.

The Design Challenge is a fun way to get creative in building or enhancing what is already a great community service. It can be a brand-new technology-enhanced library designed from scratch that can house both books and STEM kits; or an upgrade or retrofit to an existing local Little Free Library to add a "STEM module."

Potential projects could include:

  • Creating a way for a song to play every time the door opens to a Little Free Library
  • Building a solar lighting system to illuminate a Little Free Library at night
  • Securing a touchscreen to a Little Free Library that requires individuals to answer fun questions or riddles before accessing the books

The top 5 participants, groups or community spaces with the most innovative Little Free Libraries will each receive 20 x Micro:bit’s and a bundle of Maker Shed books. In addition, winners will receive a $100 Rybbon gift card prize for their efforts in helping promote STEM in their community. Anyone can build, host or upgrade an existing Little Free Library for a chance to win.

The Little Free STEM Library Design Challenge is open now through September 15. Winners will be announced in September 2023.

This Design Challenge is created in partnership with Avnet Cares. Since March of 2022, Avnet (based in Phoenix, AZ) has worked with the Literary Society of the Southwest, in collaboration with the Rural Activation Innovation Network, Southwest Human Development, and public libraries around Arizona to compile over 1,000 themed STEM kits for rural areas. Providing science-enabled content to promote STEM/STEAM education and awareness is one of the core missions at Avnet Cares.

To learn more about the element14 and Hackster communities and the “Little Free STEM Library Design Challenge,” visit http://community.element14.com/STEMLittleLibrary and https://www.hackster.io/contests/littlefreestemlibrary.

Dianne Kibbey joined Farnell's global business in 1999 and heads up the element14 online community which provides a space for electronic design engineers to collaborate, learn about new technology, solve problems and access leading products to complete their designs. In addition to her 20+ year career in technology and eCommerce, Dianne also has a passion for encouraging education in the STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Math) fields and has worked with key organizations such as Microsoft and Techgirlz to support the development of education for coding.