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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.

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

Minecraft at the Library

Silver Lake, Kansas is a town with a population of 1,439 people (according to the 2010 Census). Thanks to the local library, there’s a whole lot of building going on in the community… and I’m not just talking about renovations and an expansion at the library. Youth in the community have been visiting the library to play Minecraft, a game that allows them to build almost anything they can imagine.

Library helps local youth learn to design video games

Last fall we wrote about the Independence (KS) Public Library and the Scratch programming classes they were offering for kids ages 8-12. Last Tuesday, the library once again provided its community with an opportunity to learn to be digital creators. They hosted a 4 hour video game design workshop. Game industry pros from E-Line Media! traveled to the small town to provide a workshop for 30 middle and high school students.  The event was made possible because of the National STEM Video Game Challenge and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The library and children on the autism spectrum: One day and two free webinars

Where will you be on Tuesday, March 26th? If you're interested in learning more about providing technology, storytime, and other services that make the library welcoming for children on the autism spectrum, then you may want to be online! Two free online webinars are being offered.

More Scratch (and LEGO Clubs!)

Back in December, I blogged about Blinn Sheffield and the Independence (KS) Public Library's upcoming Scratch programming class. I plan to check in with Blinn as the class progresses and will post an update then. I also contacted Sherry Knight, the librarian at the Euless (TX) Public Library who inspired Blinn with her post on the PUBYAC listserv about her successful Scratch club. She discussed the overlap with the library's Lego program.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.