Chancey Fleet first visited the New York Public Library’s (NYPL) Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library on a trip from Virginia in the 1990s. “I was blown away by the browsable Braille collection,” she says. “I was ten or 11, and I checked out a bunch of choose-your-own-adventure books.” Upon returning to New York as an adult, she adds, “I already had an affinity for the library.”
On April 13, the American Library Association (ALA) and Google announced the “Libraries Ready to Code” project, which will investigate the current status of computer programming activities in U.S. public and K–12 libraries with the goal of ultimately broadening the reach and scope of these coding programs. The project will include an environmental scan, practitioner interviews, focus groups, and site visits, and particular attention will be focused on opportunities that libraries are providing to minorities, girls, and other groups that are currently underrepresented in computer science and related fields, according to an announcement. The results of the project will be used to further engagement by ALA, and to inform a computer science policy agenda as part of the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy’s (OITP) Youth and Technology program.
The leader of Rosen Publishing assumes key role in advancing the thinking and learning of youth in our digital society.
As a new teen specialist at Meridian Library District in 2011, Nick Grove drew on a disengaged after-school crowd to grow program attendance by 233 percent in three years, partly by buying teen-relevant technology, such as six 3-D printers. Grove capitalized on those purchases: when he challenged a bored teen to read a chapter in a book, the teen read three and was rewarded with a 3-D version of the book’s logo. “We struggled for two months together,” says Grove, “to figure out how to print the logo; the teen became an advocate for library programs…and a bigger advocate for the book.”
Last summer, Bloomberg BusinessWeek devoted an entire issue to “What Is Code?” a single article by Brooklyn-based writer and programmer Paul Ford. Ford’s breakdown of key concepts pulls back the curtain on the fundamentals of computer programming and makes a compelling argument that any smart person can learn the basics—and that the basics are worth learning even for those who aren’t planning to become professional coders. It is, in part, a case for coding as a new frontier in digital literacy. There’s a growing interest in this type of education among kids, teens, businesspeople, career changers, and the generally curious. And a growing number of public libraries are already responding to this need within their communities. Here’s a look at ways in which a few libraries have made their programs a success.
Libraries may be going digital, but librarians still bring—and need—that personal touch. On October 14, Library Journal and School Library Journal’s virtual conference, The Digital Shift, Libraries Connecting Communities, aptly demonstrated this in a wide range of offerings throughout the day-long event.
Lauren Comito has a regular patron at New York’s Queens Library who is one of the most cheerful and positive people she’s ever met. Homeless and unemployed, the woman is also one of the neediest. Comito had trouble locating the help the woman required. “I realized that if I was having a hard time finding services as a librarian, people who don’t have my training must have an even harder time,” says Comito, the job and business academy manager at the library.