Decision makers: libraries are ready to code

Ready to Code Brief cover page.

Released today, ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy latest brief explores how libraries are increasingly offer programs in coding and computational thinking and are poised to do much more.

Computing jobs represent the largest source of new jobs and are among the highest paying, yet hundreds of thousands of openings go unfilled. And such employment needs are projected to continue growing in the coming years. Libraries are part of the solution in preparing more of America’s youth for these jobs

Libraries are ideal venues to provide career opportunities for youth in the digital age, explains a newly-released brief from the American Library Association (ALA). In “Careers for America’s Youth in the Digital Age: <libraries / ready to code>,” libraries are found to increasingly offer programs in coding and computational thinking—the broader intellectual skills behind coding—and are poised to do much more.

The brief is being released at the #HouseOfCode demo, panel and reception event on Capitol Hill on April 3-4. Nearly 100 students from over 50 Congressional districts will participate to demo their winning apps from the 2016 Congressional App Challenge. ALA is a sponsor of this event and we will have an exhibitor table and strong representation including our coding policy extraordinaire Marijke Visser as well as Shawnda Hines and Emily Wagner of the ALA Washington Office.

“Careers for America’s Youth in the Digital Age: <libraries / ready to code>,” discusses how libraries stimulate youth awareness in coding, serve as innovation labs to develop coding skills and leverage their national reach to encourage youth engagement from groups under-represented in tech careers. Perspectives from industry leaders such as Michael Petricone of the Consumer Technology Association (and a member of ALA’s Public Policy Advisory Council) and Mo-Yun Lei Fong of Google are included in the brief.

This brief is the sixth one in a new series targeted to national decision makers and influencers. ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy gratefully acknowledges the guidance and financial support of ALA President Julie Todaro for the establishment of this series. The previously published briefs are:

Libraries Help and Honor Our Veterans: Employment, Education and Community Connection
One Small Business at a Time: Building Entrepreneurial Opportunity in America’s Communities
The Manufacturing Sector & The Knowledge Economy: Expanding Opportunity through Libraries
Digital Empowerment and America’s Libraries
From Baby’s First Words: Libraries Promote Early Learning.

Additional briefs will be released in the coming months.

As always, we look forward to feedback. In particular, we seek to learn about compelling library programs on these topics or ideas on new topics for which briefs should be produced. Though motivated for use at the national level, much of the content and argument is applicable at the state and local levels and so we are interested in any such adaptations of this material. Let us know!

About Alan Inouye

Alan S. Inouye is the director of ALA's Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP). Previously, he was the coordinator of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee in the Executive Office of the President and a study director at the National Academy of Sciences. Alan completed his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley.

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