Making STEAM @ Ridgefield Library

Making STEAM @ Ridgefield Library is our new initiative to offer activities and programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math to the community. Find out about the wide array of instructional programs, hands-on workshops, and special events the Library has to offer for all ages.

Contact: Dorothy Pawlowski, 203-438-2282 x11003

Special Events | Ongoing Initiatives | Scheduled Programs | Maker Cart on the Move | Other Resources & Equipment | Further Reading | Join the Conversation


Special STEAM Events

What exactly is STEAM, and why is it important? Is it a movement, a mindset, an initiative, a teaching method, a theory? Join the national discourse at a symposium presented by The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and Ridgefield Library that explores these questions through the lenses of education, contemporary art and design, innovation in business and technology, community engagement, and more. 

Learn about inspiring and unexpected real-world applications of STEAM in schools, studios, laboratories, conference rooms, museums, libraries, and beyond in 3 days of participatory sessions, panels and special programs. Be part of the dialogue about the importance of art and design—and creativity and innovation—in the classroom, workplace, and society.

Explore STEM to STEAM principles through case studies and activities that will inspire best practices for cultural organizations, businesses, schools, and communities!  Libraries have become an important part of STEAM learning for students and adults, and we invite you to come share and learn. Space is limited, so register now at

Generous support for Full STEAM Ahead is provided by The Amadeo Family; Anita and Nick Donofrio; Eric Diefenbach and JK Brown; Ridgefield Education Foundation; TownVibe; the Hospital for Special Surgery, Stamford; Hopkins Vineyard; and Froniter Communications.


World Maker Faire Field Trip

For the past two years, thanks to the generosity of the Donofrio Family, the Library has offered family field trips to the World Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing, Queens. In 2015, nearly 100 children, parents, teachers and Library staff attended this event that is aprt science fair, part craft fair and part tech industry trade show.  Our 2016 trip will take place on Sunday, OCtober 2rd.  Contact Assistant Director Mary Rindfleisch at 203-438-2282 x11009 or to inquire about availability.



Computer Science Education Week/Hour of Code 2015

The Library was a-buzz on Saturday, December 12th, as members of the Library's Girls Who Code Club, Makers Meet-Up and Robotics Club, Random Hacks of Kindness, Jr. participants, and students and teachers from Ridgefield Public Schools, Ridgefield Academy and Wooster School demonstrated cool STEAM and coding projects they have been working on.

Throughout Computer Science Education Week (December 7-13), the Library offered an introduction to coding for seniors, parents, preschoolers and others.  The Library staff even participated by all doing an Hour of Code!

The fun can continue year-round.  Just log into to get started!


Random Hacks of Kindness, Junior

The Library was pleased to host a program called Random Hacks of Kindness, Jr ( on December 5th. RHoKJr is the project of a nonprofit organization that provides elementary and middle school students the opportunity to come together as problem solvers and innovators to make the world a better place. Here at the Ridgefield Library we are enthusiastic about this approach because it helps provide a real world context for computer programming skills with the goal of igniting a passion to learn more.

The event gave 40 Ridgefield elementary and middle school students in fourth through eighth grades the opportunity to explore the power of computing by developing technical solutions to practical problems. The goal of the event was to show students how important technology is through participating in a one-day hackathon which will enable them to create technical solutions for local non-profit organizations. The students worked in groups of four (with a mentor and an adult facilitator) to create prototype smartphone apps for the participating non-profits.



Ongoing STEAM Initiatives

Makers Meet-Up

Do you like to tinker, design, and build things?  Would you like to design something and print it using our 3D printers?  Are you interested in having fun with electronics and computers? Come join an intergenerational group of like-minded people as we help each other bring our ideas to fruition. 

 Meetings are held every other Wednesday in the Donofrio Family Technology Center. Children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult. Registration is recommended.

Lego Robotics Club

Join Sleepy Hollow Middle School teacher Michael Garguilo for our monthly Robotics Club. He leads 3 teams as they learn how to build and program robots to navigate our challenge board.

This is on on-going program running from September - May, with registration taking place each September and a final competition in May to see which team can complete the challenge first! Registration is complete for 2015-2016.  Stay tuned for announcement of upcoming sessions.

Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code is a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in the technology and engineering sectors and bring high-quality computer science education to girls in grades 6-12 nationwide. Employing a flexible and proven curriculum, girls are equipped with skills that provide the foundation for a future in technology. This is accomplished by running 7 week summer immersion programs and through chapter clubs. 

The Ridgefield Library is host to a local chapter of Girls Who Code for high school girls in 9th-12th grade. Girls complete 40 hours of instruction and participate in several exposure activities during the year. In the inaugural year, the girls visited Rent the Runway in NYC where they met 20+ women who are driving this tech based business and they participated in a Women in IT panel discussion at the Library where they were introduced to 6 diverse women working in computer science fields.  In addition to learning, the girls also gave back to the community. They helped staff the Hour of Code celebration event at the library that saw 300+ people in attendance and as a final project, created a game for use in freshmen orientation to introduce incoming freshmen to Ridgefield High School. Of the 17 girls that completed year one, all 17 have returned for a second yea,r and several are planning on majoring in computer science. For information on starting a Girls Who Code club chapter visit: Getting Started.

Ridgefield Girls Who Code club projects completed and in progress may be viewed at


View the Girls Who Code promotional video partially shot at the Ridgefield Library and featuring some members of our 2014-2015 Girls Who Code club.





Donofrio Inspiring Girls (and Others) in Science Program Series

For more than 10 years, the family of Nick and Anita Donofrio has supported the Library's efforts aimed at inspiring young people, especially girls and minority students, to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields through school, college and beyond.

This ongoing series of programs, workshops and events, dubbed Inspiring Girls (and Others) in Science, has also helped the Library receive several prestigious grants to participate in other science related programs such as NASA's astro4Girls model project, the International Year of Astronomy 2009 and the Einstein's Big Idea outreach initiative, for which the Library won an Outstanding Library Service Award in 2005.

Starting in 2015, the Inspiring Girls in Science series is being incorporated into the Library's broader Making STEAM initiative.  For details of the projects undertaken in the first 10 years, visit our Donofrio Technology Series page.

Scheduled STEAM Programs

Each month Library staff and outside experts conduct numerous instructional classes and hands-on workshops on STEAM subjects.  Some require registration and others are drop-in opportunities. Click on the topics below to see what activities are scheduled.

Teen Crafternoons

Teen Tech Thursdays

Coloring and Coffee for Adults

Hands-on Craft Workshops

Tech Topics Classes

Maker Cart on the Move!

Creativity is not confined to one room here at the Ridgefield Library - we treat the whole building as our Maker Space!  STEAM activity can happen in the Donofrio Family Technology Center, the Ellis Family Teen Center, the Leir and Kellen Family Children's Program Rooms, Main and Dayton Program Rooms and even in our numerous small study and meeting rooms, thanks to our portable Maker Cart.  The cart is equipped with bins containing tools and supplies for many different STEAM activities, from circuitry to crafts.  Look for the Maker Cart around the Library and join us for creative and educational fun.

Thanks to donors participating in the 2015 FairfieldGives online giving day organized by Fairfield County's Community Foundation for providing the funds to get our Maker Cart on the move.

Other Resources & Equipment

Color Scanner

3D Printer
The Library's 3D printer is available for use by appointment by patrons who have completed an orientation session. Use is restricted to Ridgefield residents aged 12 and up.  At this time, use of the 3D printer for most purposes is free-of-charge thanks to the Friends of the Library.  Complicated or large projects may require special arrangements.  Please read the 3D Printer Policy below or contact the Adult Services Desk for further information.

VHS to DVD Conversion
Do you have home videos in VHS format that you would like convert to DVD?  Reserve an individual two-hour session to make a DVD from one of your personal VHS videos (NTSC format only).   Please note that it takes the entire playback time of the video for the conversion to DVD. Available to Ridgefield Library cardholders 13 years of age and older.Contact Adult Services Librarian Dorothy Pawlowski at 203-438-2282 x11003 or to make an appointment.  Thanks to the Friends of the Library for purchase of this equipment.

Further Reading An initative of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) to explore the convergence of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math with Art + Design.

Hour of Code Learn more about this global computer science education movement.

Ridgefield Library program promotes technology to students
Danbury News-Times 2/15/15

IT experts present diverse opportunity
Ridgefield Press 1/26/15

An unexpected, high-tech career: A profile of panelist and Ridgefield High School graduate Alicia Harder
Ridgefield Press 2/25/15

Join the Conversation

See a fun STEAM project? Use the hashtag #XXXXXXX to share it on our social media channels.



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Using Technology in the Library

Computer &  Technology Reference Resources

Library on the Go Digital Collections

Library Apps for your Mobile Device

Donofrio Technology Series

2012 Creativity Conference

PDF Adult Programs Newsletter

PDF Printable Calendar for      Preschool Children

PDFPrintable Calendar for School-aged Children

Thanks to the Friends of the Library for their support of many STEAM programs and equipment.

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