The aroma of lavender and other oils filled the air as almost 50 people poured rice and liquid scents into socks.

The people were participating in Adult STEM Night on Dec. 30 at the Quincy Public Market. The Quincy Public Library Circulation Specialist Shiree Ybarra referred to the craft as aroma therapy socks, which can also be heated in a microwave and used for therapeutic purposes.

The socks, along with other projects, are part of a series of events sponsored by the library the last Monday of every month. The STEM nights started in September and will continue through April or May, Ybarra said.

On average, the STEM nights are attracting anywhere from 25-40 participants or more, she said. Some ideas for projects come from collaborating with other libraries in the North Central Libraries system such as Ephrata, other ideas come from Pinterest.

Previous projects included crafts such as wood carvings programmed and cut by a machine, virtual reality, robots and tie-dye shirts. Although STEM refers to science, engineering, technology and math, Ybarra said, the projects have focused more on crafts. However, projects in the coming months will return to a technology focus with sphere-o robots in February.

“We’ll bring some other different technology games and stuff for that one as well,” Ybarra said. “We’ve kind of focused on the crafty side for a while and now we want to bring back some tech.”

Sphere-o bots are round ball-shaped robots that can be synced to an iPad. With the Ipad, a user can designate a path for the bot to follow.

Adult STEM Night started as a way for the library to be involved in the community beyond its doors, Ybarra said. When the public market opened, she thought it would be a great place to host the event and the market managers agreed.

“We’re really big on trying to work with our communities and reach people who don’t necessarily walk through the front doors of a library,” Ybarra said.

The market also benefits from hosting the STEM night. In October, STEM night brought virtual reality and other tech into the bar at Jack’s Restaurant and attendees were able to enjoy a beverage while participating in the STEM night activities. With the aroma therapy socks, Jones of Washington Winery remained open and poured wine for attendees as well.

“They’re not coming just to the winery to have some wine,” Ybarra said. “They’re coming specifically because they know of the event and they want to take part in this.

By Miles King sports@qvpr.com

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