After School Project

Kids work on after school projects recently at the Belgrade Library.

The Belgrade Library is a bustling place on Friday afternoons.

Belgrade schools began releasing students early on Fridays this year so staff could devote time weekly to planning and professional learning. In response, the library started up an after school program designed to engage kids in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities.

Benjamin Elliott, youth services librarian, said the program has attracted between 10 and 20 students every week.

“A lot of the kids I get are the one who’d be somewhere else from 2:30 to 4,” he said. “I think it’s valuable.”

Projects the participants have completed this school year included robotic hands out of cardboard, creating art forms based on symmetry, and building catapults.

The drop-in program requires no pre-registration, and it is offered free of charge. All participants are given snacks, which are provided through a sponsorship from Peaks to Plains Realty.

Elliott said parents sometimes join their school-age kids at the library during program hours, often bringing younger siblings. He said nobody is turned away.

Editor’s note: The Belgrade Library closed this week for six weeks in response to the coronavirus outbreak, but the program will resume once school is back in session and the library has reopened. For information about the early-release Fridays program, contact the library at 388-4346.