The Akron-Summit County Public Library’s Science and Technology Division reached a rather unique milestone. The librarians who index the Science Project Index books (www.akronlibrary.org/scienceprojects) recently indexed the 50,000th experiment.
The Science and Technology librarians have been creating an index of science projects in books published since 1960, with the publication of Science Fair Project Index, 1960-1972 by Scarecrow Press in 1975. This was followed by three more print editions, and finally moving to an online index in 1996. People from all over the world regularly search this index to find experiments illustrating scientific principles from Abacus to Zygotes.
The Akron-Summit County Public Library holds the distinction of being the only library that does this. “We haven’t taken a break in 45 years,” said Division Manager Monique Mason, who has headed the division since 2012. “At first, the index consisted of a file of 3x5 inch cards. In the 1970’s we were encouraged to publish it in book form. Today the index is available from our website.” Current indexers are librarians Michele McNeal, Curtis Bower, and Stephanie Jolliff.
The Science Project Index remains popular, all these years later. “It provides access to science experiments and demonstrations, and it’s a way to find something either for school or for enjoyment,” said Mason.
“Searching the Index can be fun for finding things to do on a Saturday. People hear about science-y things all the time, but don’t know how to explore them.”
Science fair experimenters around the globe are also logging in to search the Index. “Google Analytics shows people all over the world, with the largest number of overseas searches taking place in India and the UK,” said Mason.