Reynoldsburg News

'Time travel' possible at Living Library Museum


Visitors to Reynoldsburg's Summit STEM Elementary Living Library Museum get to step back in time as they watch a silent movie played on an 8mm reel projector; play "Pong" on an old Atari system; type messages on a manual typewriter and browse collections that demonstrate the progress of technology.

The Living Library Museum will hold open house events from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 21, and Thursday, May 22, at Summit Road Elementary School, 8591 Summit Road.

The unique school library houses plenty of books on its shelves, but also displays technology that ranges from early telegraph machines and telephones to manual typewriters, cameras and computers. The library even has a life-sized telephone booth in one corner.

"At the open house, people will see the history of technology," librarian Rhonda Eberst said. "They can sit down in our vintage living room and play Pong on the Atari and listen to a record player with the Chipmunks singing the Beatles, or Elvis or big-band songs.

"We will have a contest to see who can add faster with a calculator or old addometer, which is a little machine you dial, and we have old telephones to look at and play with," she said. "We also set up a word wall, for people to make comments about the museum, which they will type on a manual typewriter and put up on the wall."

The Summit STEM Elementary Living Library Museum Student Partners will act as docents.

"The kids will take people around to the various exhibits and man the interactive exhibits," Eberst said. "We will also be showing a black-and-white Laurel and Hardy film on an 8mm movie projector."

She said the open house will demonstrate what STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning is all about.

"We use innovative thinking to 'see, think and wonder.' We see what an item is, think about what it could be and wonder what is next or how it could be," she said. "The open house helps to introduce STEM learning to the public."

Eberst said the student partners are creating challenges in nonfiction writing for next year's classes.

"The lessons will tie in a lot to nonfiction writing, where students will come in and research and write about the exhibits and the technology," she said.

An avid collector, Eberst began bringing collections of technology to the library, such as old box cameras and radios, when Summit Road Elementary opened in 2011.

A $50,000 grant from Battelle and a partnership with the Granville Studio for the Visual Arts helped to expand areas of the museum and add an art science gallery.

This year, a $7,000 gift from a reunion group of Eberst's high school classmates from Jackson Hole, Wyo., will pay for the Stan Klassen Virtual Learning Center at the library. The area will be designed to create virtual travel opportunities for students, where they will foster connections with students and teachers across the country, Eberst said.

She said Stan Klassen was a much-loved teacher at her hometown high school.

The library will partner with an elementary school in Jackson Hole and with schools in Georgia and Alabama for distance-learning lessons, according to Eberst.

Principal Dee Martindale said the school hosts hundreds of educators each year who are interested in the STEM curriculum.

"The library is one of the most talked-about stops on our school tour," she said.