Neighborhood Science: Working Locally to Confront Global Challenges
Since 2018, the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) has been working at the forefront of citizen science in public libraries. By transforming its branches into community citizen science hubs, LAPL has engaged and empowered communities to partake in real scientific studies to raise awareness, help generate new scientific knowledge, and accelerate research on locally relevant issues. By doing so, LAPL has taken the public library’s role in the open science movement to the next level of activism.
This presentation will explore how LAPL’s inclusive Neighborhood Science programs enable participants of all backgrounds to do real science, right in their own backyards, on wide-ranging topics including biodiversity, air and water quality, the expanding range of mosquitoes, light pollution, and the urban heat island effect. LAPL will showcase some of the circulating citizen science kits that have been created to encourage local residents to contribute to these citizen science projects at their own pace.
Additionally, LAPL will highlight the successes and insights gleaned from the citywide launch of the BioBlitz challenge and participation in NASA's GLOBE Observer citizen science campaigns, in which volunteers make and log observations of clouds, water (particularly as a habitat for mosquitoes), and vegetation (land cover and tree height), thus connecting local activities to global science. These examples demonstrate how, through strategic partnerships with various stakeholders, citizen science can enable active exchange and alignment of local government and community goals, creating a sustainable future and ensuring good health for all.