Meet the Winners of the Little Free STEM Library Design Challenge

By Sarah Nelson

Hackster and element14 recently hosted a Little Free STEM Library Design Challenge sponsored by Avnet Cares, which encouraged makers from around the globe to design and create a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) library that local communities could freely access.

The initiative was designed to promote STEM education and foster a love for learning. The contest challenged participants to use their skills to create a little library that could spark curiosity, inspire innovation, and make STEM learning a fun and engaging experience for people of all ages.

“The Little Free STEM Library Challenge resulted in some truly innovative library designs!” said Megan Hanson, Senior Manager for Digital Marketing, Acquisition & Engagement at Little Free Library. “It was wonderful to see participants use STEM skills to make Little Free Library book boxes even more engaging.”

With more than 100 participants, there were a variety of unique designs created. In total, four Little Free STEM Libraries were awarded STEM Library Starter Packs and e-gift cards, plus a feature in Avnet’s magazine. Meet the four winners below!

Most Over-Engineered Library

Tech-Enabled Interactive Little Free Library by Raunak Singh

“Building the Little Free Library was a fantastic experience where I combined electrical and mechanical engineering to create a project that impacted my community,” Singh said. “I decided to participate in the Little Free STEM Library Contest on when I noticed that the Little Free Library outside my local elementary school needed renovation.”

“I had the idea to tinker with it to transform it into a STEM technology-enabled interactive experience for other avid readers like me. With the support of the Little Free Library nonprofit, Avnet, and the Scitech Institute throughout the contest, I was able to turn this idea into a reality and install the Little Free STEM Library in my local elementary school, where an eco-friendly solar-powered interactive experience introduces visitors to both STEM and reading. Now that this project is complete, I plan to continue spreading my passion for technology and reading throughout my community.”

Most Secure Library

My Little Ballycotton Free Library by Dan Benitah

“My main motivation for participating in the Competition was creating and working on an exciting STEM project with my two children during the summer holidays. My children are avid readers but noticed that the nearest library to a small Irish village where we spend some of our holidays, called Ballycotton, was miles away in the car. We decided to combine our love of books and interest in STEM to build and provide a Free Little Library for this village which could be enjoyed by all its inhabitants, young and old. My children are so thrilled and proud that our Library has won Most Secure Library and are so excited to enjoy the prize books and micro:bit boards. Next, I would like to run STEM workshops at my children’s schools once the prizes arrive so more children can benefit from them and learn how to use them. Thank you again to Avnet for sponsoring that challenge.”

Most Illuminated Library

Candy Pages: Reading Rewards for Little Bookworms by Rifqi Abdillah

“This is the umpteenth contest I’ve participated in on Hackster. Joining contests on Hackster has ‘forced’ me to learn a lot of new things,” Abdillah said. “I’ve also encountered numerous new and exciting projects that I can follow on Hackster. This has motivated me to create another project.”

“In this particular project, I’ve designed a Little Free Library with a reward system that gives prizes to children who have read books. By combining these elements, I aim to inspire more children to stay interested in reading books. Looking ahead, I aspire to collaborate with local kindergarten schools to install this device there,” Abdhillah said. “Of course, I’ll also add some enhancements to perfect this tool to work more efficiently and be more attractive. I also plan to find other books for children to read to fill my Little Free Library. For Hackster, I hope it continues to be a platform for the development and innovation of everyone worldwide. In the future, I will keep creating new projects. I hope the projects I create inspire others to start their own projects.”

Most Eco-Friendly Library

Empowering Native Indian Communities, a collaboration between students at Education Empowers and Saint Peter Indian Mission School

“The Free STEM Library Challenge proved to be an exceptional engineering event, offering our students a practical and culturally responsive learning opportunity to use the engineering design process for solving a real world problem in their community,” said Anna Prakash, co-founder at Education Empowers. “In the process, our students learnt to research problem statements, brainstorm, and design innovative solutions as a team. It became a remarkable opportunity for them to not only utilize their technical skills but also contribute meaningfully to their community. Collaborating closely to address this distinctive challenge not only strengthened the team’s bonds but also fostered personal connections among the members and industry mentors. This collective effort not only enhanced their teamwork, but also nurtured valuable soft skills crucial for their future growth.”

Learn more about starting a Little Free Library (featuring a STEM component or not!), and check out other cool Little Free Library designs.

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