The Bruce C. Clarke Library hosted a Mad Scientist S.T.E.M. Lab Jan. 18, kicking off a new program designed to boost science, technology, engineering and math concepts among children.

The monthly S.T.E.M. Lab will replace the library's popular Creation Lab program. The kick off gave community members an idea of what is coming in 2018.

"We had a bit of everything during that program to show what types of projects we will be doing in the future. We will only be covering one subject at a time, for example, month one, we could cover magnets; month two, we cover measurements; month three, we build robots, and so on," said Tyffany Hollenbeck, library technician.

Claretta Crawford, library director, said the community has embraced the program.

"We had more than 150 people that attended the S.T.E.M. lab event," Crawford said. "It was a huge success."

The program, open to children and teenagers, featured food projects, games and crafts -- all with a S.T.E.M. theme.

"We want to promote the program and get the word out. We want to help children grow and learn, we also want to get the kids interested in new things," said Amanda Williams, library technician.

"Many children have a hard time focusing on subjects such as math, science, etc. Often, they don't understand, or think it's boring, or just don't find it interesting. By finding new approaches to these subjects we help kids at an early age find interest in them," Hollenbeck added.

"S.T.E.M. programs and kits don't just teach children the fun side of the subjects, but also help parents see how their child best learns and carry that on in the future," Hollenbeck said.

Jennifer Dye brought her sons, Campbell, 6, and Liam, 3, to the event.

"I am hoping they get more interested in science and they want to learn more about it today. At home, we are always interested in S.T.E.M. stuff, so that is why we came," Dye said.

The regular monthly S.T.E.M. Labs will be held in the Bruce C. Clarke Children's Room from 5 to 5:30 p.m. every third Thursday of the month. The next program is scheduled for Feb. 15.

Programs will be open to all ages and can cater to all learning types and levels. Anyone interested in the program is welcome without signing up in advance.

For more information, contact the library at 573.563.4113.