Telescope, NASA & STEM take center stage at Port Arthur Public Library

Published 12:34 am Friday, December 24, 2021

Weather delays may have pushed back the launch date for the James Webb Telescope, but the Port Arthur Public Library is still busy preparing youth in the topics relevant to space.

A pre-launch party at PAPL went on as scheduled this week even though weather caused the actual launching to be delayed to approximately 6 a.m. Christmas Day.

Port Arthur Public Library was selected earlier this year through a competitive application process to be part of NASA@My Library, an educational initiative created to increase and enhance STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) learning opportunities.

L’Tunya Bernard, elementary science supervisor with Port Arthur ISD demonstrates a tornado in a bottle. (Mary Meaux/The News)

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The telescope is an “orbiting infrared observatory that will complement and extend the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope,” according to information from NASA.

The telescope will take a closer look at the beginning of time, hunt for the unobserved formation of the first galaxies and look inside dust clouds where stars and planetary systems are forming.

Carolyn Thibodeaux, children’s librarian and program director for NASA@My Library at the PAPL, kept the ball rolling throughout the day, directing them to the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering Trailblazer museum on wheels.

Inside the mobile classroom were Port Arthur Independent School District educators as well, as Allison Gonzales from Total, who each took a station inside and brought science to life for students.

Carolyn Thibodeaux, children’s librarian and program director NASA@My Library at Port Arthur Public Library welcomes patrons to the James Webb Telescope Pre-Launch Party Wednesday. (Mary Meaux/The News)

Emanuel Hodge enjoyed the weather station while Cama’e Hodge liked the exhibit using a bicycle wheel, which transferred energy and turned on light bulbs.

Sixth grader Tannika Roberts, who wants to be a pediatrician, said her favorite was the biotechnical area.

Tying the STEM topics to real life application was Annie Carter, a Texas A&M graduate and retired engineer.

She once worked at Gulf Refinery, later known as Chevron, for more than 35 years.

Carter knows the importance of science, technology, engineering and math play. To parents, she advised “care,” consistency, adventure, reading and engaging activities.

Jolina Rodriguez, bottom, learns about robotics surgery as Linda Nguyen watches. (Mary Meaux/The News)