Today, ALA and Rosen Publishing released the video “Libraries Ready to Code.” Introduced during Computer Science (CS) Education Week, the video depicts coding activities in public and school libraries and underscores how libraries can increase exposure and access to CS learning opportunities for youth. The video will be used as an advocacy tool to increase awareness of library coding activities among decision makers, influencers and other stakeholders at all levels.
“Libraries are community hubs for learning a variety of skills relevant to modern life, and computational thinking skills learned through coding are among the most critical,” said ALA President Julie B. Todaro. “By showing what libraries can and are already doing to build a successful future for our nation’s youth, the Libraries Ready to Code video powerfully communicates the infrastructure of expertise and resources found in school and public libraries.”
Video sponsor and President of Rosen Publishing Roger Rosen added, “People today are not only digital information consumers, we are all digital producers – and the jobs of the future demand skills to create. Youth need places to practice and develop coding skills outside the traditional classroom environment, especially for girls and others who have less exposure to coding and computer science.”
As part of the Libraries Ready to Code project launched earlier this year, the video released today is the first in a series to come out in 2017. It features library professionals engaged with youth in coding activities as well as interviews with youth and parents:
“The library is a great place to introduce the ready to code concept because we’re public, we’re free, we’re easily accessible.” – After School Services Manager (Queens, New York)
“It’s really not just coding. It is a way of thinking and perceiving and problem-solving.” – Teacher Librarian (Norman, Oklahoma)
“When I’m coding… I really feel like I accomplished something.” – Student (Bronx, New York)
“Coding is the new literacy.” – Parent (Norman, Oklahoma)
There is growing recognition of the need to provide young people with the requisite skills to fully engage in the economic and civic society now and in the future. This week the White House announced new actions related to its CS for All initiative, a plan to provide all U.S. students the chance to learn CS skills needed to be creators in the digital economy. ALA was one of the organizations recognized by the White House in their new fact sheet highlighting programs like Libraries Ready to Code that expose more students to CS education.
There is also growing awareness of opportunity gaps for girls and other youth who face barriers to developing digital skills. A recent study by the Pew Research Center indicated that low-income families, rural residents, African Americans, Latinos and people with disabilities are disproportionately disenfranchised by digital opportunity gaps. The Libraries Ready to Code video illustrates the ways public and school libraries are helping close the digital divide for many of these youth.
“Our nation’s school libraries assist tens of thousands of youth daily, and our public libraries serve all community members – regardless of where they live, where they come from or how much experience they have,” continued Todaro. “The equitable access to technology and training that libraries provide means more equitable access to opportunities – economic and otherwise – for everyone in America.”