Next Level Coders Club

McCracken County Public Library (MCLIB) is one of 28 libraries around the country to receive a grant from Libraries Ready to Code, an initiative of the American Library Association sponsored by Google.

On Saturday and Sunday, December 9-10, McLib is hosting two Hour of Code sessions from 2-3pm. Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students. These events are timed to coincide with Computer Science Education Week which is December 4-10.

Hour of Code introduces kids to the elements of coding and computational thinking skills. No experience is required and the activities are fun and engaging. With interactive, hands-on activities, attendees will be learning in an approachable way.

Design your own app or game and earn an Hour of Code certificate to bring home. There is no experience necessary, and ages 5 + are welcome to attend.

“I did a ‘build a better Web’ program last summer as part of our teen summer reading programs,’” said Lea Wentworth, a Library Assistant @ McLib. “We animated some gifs at madewithcode.org and played with remixing web sites. We also created our own web pages with Mozilla Thimble. I am certainly not a computer science, or coding expert, but I have learned some html coding for building websites, and found it fun.” Wentworth is excited about these upcoming coding workshops since these are first-time offerings at McLib.

Express creativity through code

“Coding teaches computational thinking, digital literacy, and problem solving - important skill sets for twenty-first century jobs” Library Director Susan Baier explained. “While most youth are avid users of technology, there’s a fundamental difference between consuming technologies passively versus creating your own content. Our program will empower youth to express their creativity through code, and will provide opportunities for youth to interact with a diverse group of mentors from STEM fields.”

The Libraries Ready to Code grant will allow McLib to facilitate afterschool coding classes for middle and high school students at both the Oscar Cross Boys and Girls Club and Sprocket, a regional maker space located at the Coke Plant. Classes will provide hands-on experience with coding in relation to video game design and music creation. Participants will develop coding skills, learn computational thinking principles, practice problem solving, and enjoy a collaborative, creative experience with their peers.

“As centers of innovation and information, libraries are the ideal place for youth to get the CS skills they need to succeed,” said ALA President, Jim Neal. “ALA is pleased to provide these new resources to MCLIB, and other Libraries Ready to Code grantees, to help young people cultivate problem-solving skills. That is at the heart of libraries’ mission to foster critical thinking.”

Next Level! Coders Club

The Library program, dubbed the Next Level! Coders Club, will foster an interest in computer science among youth and take steps to close the skills gap for tech-industry jobs in western Kentucky. The program will also aim to increase diversity in the field by showing that anyone, regardless of gender, race, or economic background, can achieve a career in computer science.

McCracken County Public Library boasts more than 388,000 annual visits, circulates more than 726,000 items per year, and serves a population of 65,162. Its long-standing popular programs for youth and adults reflect the fabric of the community through regional music, literature, and art. The Library cherishes its past and looks forward to the future by offering modern amenities such as computer labs, wireless internet, and downloadable books and media.