STARNet Explore Exhibits

STAR_Net Explore Exhibits: Frequently Asked Questions

What types of libraries are eligible?

This exhibition tour is open to public libraries in the United States. Public libraries in rural areas and those serving rural populations and underserved groups are especially invited to apply.

Other non-public library organizations, including academic, community college, school, and special libraries are not eligible to apply. Individuals and federal entities are not eligible to apply. Libraries which have already hosted or will host any of the larger STAR_Net Discover exhibitions are not eligible to apply.

Late, incomplete, and ineligible applications will not be reviewed.

What types of program formats/topics will be considered for the 10 required public programs?

The 10 required public programs can include in-person programs, passive programs, or a combination thereof. Passive programs will provide instructional signage and a set of materials for participants to use in the absence of a facilitator.

Please note the following:

  • For children’s, youth, and family programs, participants may manipulate physical materials to make, demonstrate, observe, or otherwise actively engage with STEM concepts.
  • Adult programs provide a forum for patrons to experience STEM content. Adults may interact with a STEM professional or hobbyist, either in person or via videoconferencing services like Skype. Adults may read about STEM discoveries through book clubs that meet in person or online, as long as they are moderated by library staff.
  • Partnerships are encouraged! Partners may supply materials, co-facilitate in-person programs, or help design instructional signage for passive programs.
  • Some programs must use STAR_Net resources developed for the exhibit. These resources, including hands-on science activities and the Teachers and Family Guides to the exhibit, will be demonstrated at the exhibit orientation webinar (January 2016). Resources and ideas for programs will be available from exhibition sponsors and from other sources during the grant term.
See the following descriptions of STEM programs for ideas:
Family STEM Nights
How Many Ways Can You Sprout a Seed?
Seven Days of STEM: A week’s worth of Environmental Ed programming, Day 1: Butterflies
Community Corner
Science Programming at Claud H. Gilmer Memorial Library
ALSC Blog: Launch into STEM Programming with LPI!

What will my library receive, if selected?

Each host site will receive the following:

  • The traveling exhibition for an 8-week loan period (shipping costs are paid by the project grant).
  • A $1,000 grant for expenses related to local exhibition programming (indirect costs may not be charged to the grant by host sites) Please note that grant funds may not be used to pay for social events, receptions, entertainment, or alcoholic beverages.
  • A publicity kit containing images for use in publicity and on host library websites.
  • Media resources for a STEM @ My Library public engagement campaign (a STAR_Net project).
  • Opportunity to collaborate with the Afterschool Alliance and their Lights on Afterschool campaign.
  • Training through periodic project webinars, and printed and online project support materials.
  • Professional training opportunities: Libraries on the tour will have access to the STAR_Net Online Community during and after the project. The online community is a dynamic forum for host libraries to contact organizations and individuals for programming help, share programming resources and program outcomes, access to a growing library of STEM activity resources, and grant opportunities.
  • Technical and programming support from the National Center for Interactive Learning, other project partners, the STAR_Net Online Community and the ALA Public Programs Office throughout the tour.

What are the requirements if my library is selected?

To be directed to the grant requirements of the STAR_Net Explore exhibitions, click here.

Can I submit an application for more than one Explore exhibition?

No. Libraries may apply for only one of the following: Explore Earth, Explore Space or Explore Tech. Applicants cannot submit an application for more than one Explore grant. Applicants will designate which exhibit they are applying for on the application form.

How many grants are being awarded?

Thirteen to fourteen (13-14) grants will be awarded for each Explore exhibition series (Earth, Space and Tech), for a total of forty (40) Explore exhibition grants awarded.

How do I apply?

Register or sign in using the links below to begin your application.

What if I have questions about my application?

Call the ALA Public Programs Office with any application or grant-related questions - (312) 280-5045 or toll free at (800) 545-2433 x 5045.

You can also send an e-mail to

When is the application deadline?

Applications will be accepted for Explore Earth, Space and Tech between July 13 and October 8, 2015. (Note that the original deadline was September 18, but has been extended.) Applications must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time on October 8, 2015. Late or incomplete applications, and applications from ineligible institutions, will not be reviewed.

Applications and support materials may not be submitted by mail or e-mail.

When will I be notified if my library has received the Explore grant?

All applicants will be notified of their award status by November 13, 2015.

When will programs take place?

Exhibitions will travel on a staggered schedule to selected sites between February 2016 and July 2018.

The thirteen or fourteen sites selected for Explore Earth, Explore Space, and Explore Tech will host the exhibition for a period of approximately eight weeks each.

To access the application system, sign in with your profile.