Put your future into play

“Discover Tech: Engineers Make a World of Difference” turns learning into a game in a hands-on experience for the whole family. Explore the exhibit now through July 9 at the main Huntsville-Madison County Public Library, one of nine libraries nationwide selected to host it.

“Discover Tech” encourages youth to get excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) as a viable career path. It starts with a 750-square-foot STEM exhibit, housed at the Main Library May 18-July 9. The exhibit is part of the STAR Library Education Network led by the Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning. Partners include the Lunar and Planetary Institute, the National Girls Collaborative Project, and the American Library Association. It’s supported through a grant from the National Science Foundation.

“Discover Tech” features a variety of hands-on elements:

* Imagine you’re an engineer in the Inventors’ Lab. Make devices using circuit boards, batteries, motors, alarms, switches, and more.

* A Hand Crank Generator lets patrons use their own energy to turn a generator handle, creating a charge that can be used to light three different types of light bulbs.

* An interactive Quiz Game leads you through a series of games that explore the engineering process, misconceptions about what engineers are like, and what engineers do.

We’ve planned a stimulating lineup of companion programs, including a kick-off extravaganza with science crafts, refreshments, and activities on May 18, discussions by local scientists, and a Lego Mega Build on June 29-30. Although the exhibit is set up at the Main Library, there are “Discover Tech”-related programs at all 12 library branches.

Discover Tech Programs:




Sunday, June 23, 2pm

Astronomy for Everyone: Size & Scale of the Universe

Main Library Auditorium, 915 Monroe Street, Huntsville  532-2362

Award-winning astrophysicist Kevin Manning has always been passionate about astronomy, and he wants to share the excitement with you!

You’ll learn about the size and scale of the universe, the stars, and other celestial wonders using hands-on activities and assorted visuals.

Following the indoor formal presentation, we’ll all go outdoors to view sunspots on the sun using a solar filter—the same kind NASA uses.

An engaging program for all ages that boosts scientific literacy and opens new galaxies of inquiry, Kevin’s talk is the Huntsville stop of his nationwide Star Tour 2013.



Saturday-Sunday, June 29-30, 9-5pm/1-5pm

Discover Tech Closing Event:

Tennessee Valley LEGO® Club Summer Extravaganza

Tickets $5

Main Library Auditorium 532-2362

915 Monroe Street, Huntsville

Come to the biggest local LEGO display yet from the Tennessee Valley LEGO Club!  We’ll have trains, towns, and LEGO creations of all kinds on display, plus activities and a play brick area for our younger visitors.

LEGO fans of all ages will be inspired by the things they can build with plastic bricks!



Just for Kids


Jitterbugs presented by Sci-Quest.  Make a robotic bug that will shake and shimmy all by itself!  Using simple electrical components, kids can discover how circuits and electricity work as they make their own robots.

· Gurley Public Library, Wednesday, June 12,10:30am

· Oscar Mason Branch Library, Friday, June 14, 10am

· Tillman D. Hill Public Library, Monday, June 24, 4pm

· Showers Center Library, Thursday, June 27, 2pm

· Monrovia Public Library, Monday, July 1, 1pm

· Bessie K. Russell Branch Library, Wednesday, July 3, 1:30pm

· Main Library, Wednesday, July 10,1:30pm

· Triana Public Library, Thursday, July 11, 1pm

· Eleanor E. Murphy Branch Library, Wednesday, July 17, 3:30pm

· Bailey Cove Branch Library, Friday, July 19, 3:00pm

· New Hope, Elizabeth Carpenter Public Library, Monday, July 22, 2:30pm

· Madison Public Library, Thursday, July 25, 4pm


Main Library Youth Services

915 Monroe Street 532-5949

Mondays, 4:30pm Lego Club.  Design and build your own creations!


Science Club

Tuesday, April 23, 3:30pm.  Egg Bungee Jump.  Design a bungee jump for an egg—don’t let it break!

Tuesday, April 30, 3:30pm.  Zoom Glue.  Make glue and test its strength.

Tuesday, May 7, 3:30pm.  Zip Line.  Design and build something to carry a Ping-Pong ball down a zip line.

Tuesday, May 14, 3:30pm.  Meet the internationally known Moonbuggy and the kids who built it!

Tuesday, May 21, 3:30pm.  Explore the Discover Tech Exhibit.

Tuesday, May 28, 3:30pm.  Wild Animals and Tracking.

Wednesday, June 5, 1:30pm.  Engineer presentation and Marshmallow Cannon.

Wednesday, June 12, 1:30pm.  Paper Airplane Day.

Wednesday, June 19, 1:30pm.  3M Visiting Wizard.

Wednesday, June 26, 1:30pm.  Redstone Arsenal Science Extravaganza.  Ride a Segway, try a sim launch of a Javelin Missile, and see an IR camera in action. Professionals from the Huntsville Science Community show some of the projects going on at Redstone Arsenal.

Wednesday, July 3, 1:30pm.  Marshmallow Design Challenge.  Design the tallest free-standing spaghetti structure that can support a marshmallow.

Wednesday, July 10, 1:30pm.  Jitterbugs presented by Sci-Quest.

Wednesday,  July 24, 1:30pm.  Operation Green Team & Recycling.


Bailey Cove Branch Library, 1409 Weatherly Plaza  881-0257

Monday, June 3, 4pm.  Fizzy Rockets.  What happens when antacids and water work together?

Monday, June 10, 4pm.  IEEE Engineer will speak about Space.

Friday, June 14, 3pm.  Botanical Gardens program—fun with worms!

Monday, June 17, 4pm.  Lemon-Powered Battery.  Use lemons to convert chemical energy into electrical energy.

Monday, June 24, 4pm.  Operation Green Team & Recycling.

Friday, June 28, 3pm.  Animal Tales Show.

Monday, July 1, 4pm.  Pop Rocks Inflator.  Discover the secret behind the famous popping candy Pop Rocks and soda.

Friday, July 5, 3pm.  HudsonAlpha will show how to extract DNA from a strawberry.

Monday, July 8, 4pm.  Tie-Dye Science.  Mess-free tie dye with Sharpies Markers.

Monday, July 15, 4pm.  Plastic Milk.  What happens when milk and vinegar get mixed together?

Friday, July 19, 3pm.  Jitterbugs presented by Sci-Quest.

Monday, July 22, 4pm.  Floam.  Ever wonder how Floam was made?

Monday, July 29, 4pm.  Ziploc Bag Ice Cream.  Discover how ice and salt work together.


Madison Public Library, 130 Plaza Blvd., Madison  461-0046

Thursday, May 16, 4pm.   Meet the Moonbuggy and the kids who built it!

Tuesday, June 4, 4pm.  Paper Airplane Day.

Thursday, June 6, 4pm.  Engineer presentation.

Tuesday, July 23, 4pm.  Meet the Flight Test Pilots.  Ever think you could be a flight test pilot?  Meet actual pilots from Mulitply Leadership, who believe you can do it, too!


Showers Center Library

4600 Blue Spring Road   851-7492

Thursday, June 6, 2:30pm.  Paper Airplane Day.

Thursday, June 20, 2:30pm.  Engineer presentation.

Elizabeth Carpenter Public Library

5496 Main Street, New Hope  (256) 723-2995

Monday, June 3, 2:30pm.  Engineer presentation.

Tillman D. Hill Public Library

131 Knowledge Drive, Hazel Green   (256) 828-9529

Tuesday, June 11, 4pm.  Engineer presentation.

Triana Public Library

640 6th Street, Triana   772-3677

Thursday, June 13, 1pm.  Engineer presentation.

Bessie K. Russell Branch Library

3011-C Sparkman Drive  859-9050

Wednesday, June 19, 1pm.  Engineer presentation.


Adult Programs


Photography Exhibit: Colors of Light by Joe Fikes

Main Library Atrium Gallery


915 Monroe Street, Huntsville

Just as a musician must master scales, rhythm, and myriad other elements of technique, so must a visual artist master technical elements of the medium.  But most of all, a photographer must fall in love with light.  Trained as a physicist, Joe has explored this concept during most of his career dealing with light and other forms of electromagnetic radiation.  His specialty is laser and optical instrumentation.


Thursday, June 6, 6:30pm

Keynote Address: Dr. Neil Lamb

Main Library Auditorium, 915 Monroe Street, Huntsville  532-2362

Dr. Neil Lamb, Faculty Investigator at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, discusses bioengineering breakthroughs in Huntsville and the future of research in the field.

What are we learning about genomics, the study of genetic information?  What makes us and the world around us work?  And what do we do with our discoveries?  Join us for a fascinating talk by one of Huntsville’s most esteemed educators.


Thursday, June 13, 6:30pm

Cyber Security

Main Library Auditorium 532-2362

915 Monroe Street, Huntsville

Matt Osborne of Cyber Huntsville covers the basics and discusses the latest developments in Cyber Security.


Sunday, June 16, 2pm

Meet the Author: Les Johnson

Hooked on Space Satellites: Why We Now Depend upon Them

Main Library Auditorium, 915 Monroe Street, Huntsville  532-2362

What would it be like if we were suddenly to lose most, if not all, of our space satellites?  Science fiction and popular science author Les Johnson believes that we’ve become dependent upon them.  Les predicts what might happen to our economy, defense, and daily lives if they were suddenly destroyed.  It would not be a good time… .

Les Johnson is a husband, father, physicist, and author of both science fiction and science fact.  In his “day job” he serves as the Deputy Manager for the Advanced Concepts Office at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center.

His published science fiction books include Going Interstellar and Back to the Moon.  His published popular science books include Sky Alert: When Satellites Fail, Paradise Regained: The Regreening of Earth, Solar Sails: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel, and Living Off the Land in Space.


Tuesday, June 18, 10:30am

Solar Workshop

Main Library Auditorium 532-2362

915 Monroe Street, Huntsville

Morton Archibald of the Alabama Solar Association shows how you can incorporate solar energy into your own home.  Can you afford not to go solar?


Tuesday, June 18, 6:30pm

The Future of Robotics:

From R2D2 to iRobot

Main Library Auditorium 532-2362

915 Monroe Street, Huntsville

The Tennessee Valley is a hotbed for robotics.  Dean Bethany Clem-Shockney, Interim Director of the Alabama Robotics Technology Park, discusses how robotics will impact our lives, and where Alabama fits in.


Thursday, June 20, 6:30pm

Challenging America to Be Great

Main Library Auditorium 532-2362

915 Monroe Street, Huntsville

Sam Ortega, Program Manager for NASA’s Centennial Challenges Program, talks about solutions to technological barriers—and the innovations that NASA has made possible.


Tuesday, June 25, 6:30pm

How to Do Things: Geocaching

Main Library Second Floor Events

Room  532-2362

915 Monroe Street, Huntsville

Have you seen strangers investigating shrubbery, rocks, or lamp posts?  Have you found a strange item in the woods?  Learn the basics of the Global Positioning System and the hi-tech game/sport/hobby of geocaching.  Everyone is encouraged to bring a handheld GPS unit; there will be a short practice run after class.  Please become familiar with your GPS beforehand.


Thursday, June 27, 6:30pm

Why Solar? Why Now?

Main Library Auditorium


915 Monroe Street, Huntsville

Lori Severin of Redstone Energy Group, Inc., gives the big picture about solar energy as a cost-effective, reliable way to reduce dependence on foreign energy sources.