Digital Librarian, Kenton County Public Library, Covington, KY
MLIS, Wayne State University, 2006
Schoenenberger is one of the first public librarians to become a Raspberry Pi certified educator
Photo by Michael Wilson ;
Science Is Cool
Ann Schoenenberger knows the value of community and personal connections to the people of Kenton County, KY. Her partnerships with the local Maker community, web developers, and tech companies have helped almost 1,000 people learn new skills through STEAM-related (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) classes or groups on Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Python, and more that she organized at Kenton County Public Library (KCPL). Her annual idea exchange between school and public librarians has resulted in library staff teaching STEAM programs in schools and lending teachers Maker technology. “[Ann] is driven to facilitate learning environments that empower, inspire, and, ultimately, lead to happier, healthier, and more economically successful individuals,” says Nicole Frilling, digital branch librarian at KCPL.
In one such effort in KCPL’s Coder & Maker Club and Python Lab, Schoenenberger used Coursera, which provides massive open online courses (MOOCs), and tapped tech mentors to present a free, 12-week beginning programming class that became an experiment in project-based learning. Participants developed BookUs, a stand-alone web application to give patrons online an easier way to contact librarians for events and recommendations. The code for BookUs is open source, so other libraries can adapt it for their own use.
This year, Schoenenberger plans to use a one-year $5,000 grant for an embedded library at FORGE, a community art center. In partnership with groups such as Women Who Code, the library will offer customized resources and project-based STEAM learning. “When you meet people where they are, you have the chance to really understand [one another] and build strong and meaningful relationships,” Schoenenberger says.