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'Lab Girl' Library Programming Explores Conservation Efforts, Women in STEM Fields

The Chillicothe Public Library's NEA Big Read starts Tuesday.

"Lab Girl" is geobiologist Dr. Hope Jahren's autobiography, showing how her youthful fascination with plants evolved into a career in science.

Chillicothe Public Library librarian Catherine Barnett said organizers have planned several programs around the book. COVID-19 changes what those offerings look like, but also offers opportunities.

"It's been kind of unique in this season to take advantage of the virtual tools in order to partner with libraries that are more far-flung," she said.

That includes an online keynote address with Jahren herself on April 17, and a panel on women in science conducted by the Peoria Ag Lab.

"We hope that it promotes inclusivity in the STEM fields, and it does have that modeling idea, that you have to see something to be it, to imagine yourself in that role," Barnett said.

Barnett hopes the book also inspires people's enthusiasm about nature and conservation.

"We hope that people in the community, too, that read this book, maybe they'll start imagining ways they as citizens can be involved in some conservation efforts or some volunteer opportunities with local organizations and park districts," she said.

To find out more about the Chillicothe Public Library's "Lab Girl" programming, click here. The Morton Public Library also is hosting "Lab Girl" events.

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