teens

How to Bring Digital Literacy to Your Library with Coding

Girls Who Code Club at Mountain View Library

Over the last few years the library world has been buzzing about programming in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and coding, the new digital literacy. For many librarians like myself, who come from a humanities background and are used to planning programming around books and literature, this new digital literacy can seem daunting. Add in the fact that many celebrated STEM and coding programs are backed by large budgets, multi-system libraries, and lots of staff, the idea of putting together a meaningful program at your own library can seem almost impossible!

However, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need a big budget and oodles of staff to bring computer science to your community. You just need Girls Who Code.

Your Library Can Do Minecraft; Here's How

Kids playing Minecraft

The Groton Public Library, part of the Finger Lakes Library System, runs a simple Minecraft program that has led to a boost in youth attendance and book circulations. Additionally, Minecraft has had a positive influence on the lives of the young patrons who play it, increasing creativity, teaching cooperation, and even helping develop social skills.

Why Consider Minecraft?

Minecraft is especially popular with elementary and middle school-age kids, and is a tremendous draw that can bring this age group into the library on a consistent basis.

Minecraft books are also immensely popular. Since the beginning of 2015, a number of Minecraft books rank near the top in total circulations at Groton. This includes both "how-to" non-fiction books and fan-created fiction.

Author Sean Fay Wolfe at the library

In September 2015, Groton hosted Sean Fay Wolfe, a rising star in the world of Minecraft literature. More than 50 youth turned out for this author visit, with each family getting a free autographed copy of one of Wolfe's books.

Minecraft players learn to cooperate with one another to survive, have their creativity spurred, and learn basic social skills as they interact with each other and library staff. A number of Groton kids have shown tremendous social growth from playing Minecraft — a benefit that has measureless worth.

MathAndCoding Turns the Library Into a Coding Classroom (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this series, we introduced MathAndCoding, a nonprofit that offers teen-led programming classes for children in public libraries in the Silicon Valley area. In part 2, we offer a librarian's perspective as the host for this program.

As the first librarian to host it, Karin Bricker, library manager for youth and outreach services at Mountain View Public Library, had to overcome some initial skepticism. "They [Vineet Kosaraju and Nikhil Cheerla] are certainly capable, well-meaning kids. But they are still kids. So there was some initial back and forth early on in regards to curriculum."  

Bay Area Teens Share the Love of Coding (Part 1)

On a balmy Californian Saturday afternoon, 14 kids, 8 boys and 6 girls, are figuring out the profit and loss of a lemonade stand. There's no real money involved, nor is it a real lemonade stand. And they're doing this using the programming language Java on their laptops.

With lines of code projected on a screen, these children listen intently in a conference room at the Mountain View Public Library, as part of a four-week course on programming. It's free to anyone who wants to attend, regardless of where they live. 

Kids learning how to code at the library

The Mix Brings Cutting Edge Tech to San Francisco Teens' Fingertips

The Mix banners

When I heard way back in 2013 that the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) was building a dedicated teen digital media space, I was thrilled. The city of San Francisco is the home of many technology companies, such as Twitter and Adobe, and many residents work for tech companies in the surrounding Bay Area.

Think Outside the Box When it Comes to Teen STE(A)M Programs

How can you organize STE(A)M (Science Technology Engineering [Art] Math) programs for teens — and actually have them show up? At our May webinar, Teens and Tech: Creating Successful STEM Programs in Libraries, we invited three librarians to share practical planning tips and programming ideas.

  • Heather Booth and Jacquie Christen (Robot Test Kitchen) shared ideas for engaging teen technology programs that any size library can do.
  • Amanda Allpress (Shasta Public Libraries) spoke about a successful graphic design workshop for teens that went beyond the technology to also explore creativity and business.

In addition to programming advice and ideas, our speakers shared some of their programs' shortcomings and what they learned from them. If you're looking to try something new when it comes to teen programming, you'll discover some new ideas to put into action.

Teens and Seniors Learn New Skills Through Genealogy

I first got hooked on genealogy in library school — a reference services course to be exact. We had an assignment where we had to look up information about an ancestor using primary and secondary library resources. After that little taste, I was hooked and started exploring even more of my family's history (and yes, signed up for an Ancestry account).

Genealogy is a great way to learn library resources, but I never really considered how it might be a tool for digital inclusion until I heard about the Burlington (Washington) Public Library's ROOTS program.

Host a Coding Class at Your Library: Resources and Tools

 

Did you know? This week is National Computer Science Week! You may have heard about the Hour of Code, a fun event to get students interested in computer science. The Hour of Code can happen at any place (like the library!) at any time.

Youth-led Tech @ the Library: Thank you Jennifer Nichols!

Thank you so much to Jennifer Nichols for sharing her experiences and ideas related to youth-led technology at the library in today's webinar! Thank you also to the participants for sharing your questions and experiences, too.

Clash of the Libraries

The Public Library of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County (PLCMC) in North Carolina has so many innovative programs and initiatives that I could probably write a book about it. I'll spare you that, however, and just discuss the coolest thing that I learned about from my talk with Kelly Czarnecki at PLCMC. Kelly is a Technology Education