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Libraries Ready to Code to release beta toolkit at 2018 Annual Conference

The Libraries Ready to Code (RtC) cohort announced in October 2017 is going strong. The 27 participating school and public libraries are in the midst of implementing their projects. In part, these projects were developed to test a RtC library program framework that fosters computational thinking (CT) literacies among youth. The framework grew from ALA’s ongoing RtC initiative and is the basis for a collection of tools and resources that fully support any library that wants to offer these types of youth programs. ALA continues to collaborate with Google on the initiative.

Release of the RtC beta toolkit is now scheduled for June 2018 during ALA’s Annual Conference. Photo credit:

Cohort projects range from programs that engage preschoolers and their families in computational thinking literacy activities to teen-centered projects where teen facilitators teach others about computers and coding. In addition to facilitating their youth programs, the cohort meets weekly with the RtC team to delve into RtC concepts that are integral to designing and facilitating successful CT literacy activities. A result of the RtC team’s previous work, these concepts are:

  • providing and creating inclusive learning environments;
  • connecting youth interests and emphasizing youth voice;
  • engaging with communities and families;
  • demonstrating impact through outcomes.

Now the cohort and the RtC team are compiling what they’ve learned, along with feedback collected weekly, into a toolkit that will be widely available this fall. Originally, a beta version of the toolkit was planned for launch during National Library Week. However, to be responsive to cohort feedback and project data, the RtC team is rethinking strategies for toolkit design so to successfully reflect work happening on the ground with the cohort. As a result the beta launch is now scheduled for June, during the ALA Annual Conference.

The RtC team wants to make sure that materials provided are presented in a way that supports the needs of library staff and meet the newly developed mission and vision of the project.

RtC supports library staff to facilitate computational thinking opportunities for youth in ways that are grounded in research, aligned with library core values and can broaden participation.

All youth have access to high-quality informal and formal opportunities from preK-12 to engage in computational thinking as a critical literacy, developing knowledge, skills and dispositions that enable them to take advantage of and make informed decisions about their future.

While the beta launch is in the works, cohort members still have a lot to share. That’s why starting with National Library Week, this blog will publish at least one RtC post a week. These posts, written by cohort members, will include videos of projects, articles and photos about what library staff in the cohort are learning, and audio interviews with cohort members. The posts will run until Annual Conference.

When the beta toolkit launches, there will be a feedback mechanism enabling anyone that tests out the materials to let the RtC team know what works, what doesn’t work and what’s missing. That feedback will guide revisions and ensure the final product will provide relevant and useful resources and support materials for the library community.

The RtC team and cohort members are excited about what the final toolkit will include. Stay tuned for updates, and don’t miss the weekly cohort posts starting today.

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Marijke Visser

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