The Library Development Department of the North Dakota State Library has begun a new initiative focused on coding in libraries. It’s our goal to see libraries throughout the state participate in this year’s Hour of Code. More than that, we want to work with you to start a coding club in your library. Please, please, please don’t be frightened or rage quit your job. You’ve totally got this and we’ll be with you every step of the way. Before we get into the weeds, I wanted to provide a few reasons behind why we’re doing this:
- Currently there are more than 500,000 computing jobs open nationwide (572 in North Dakota)
- Last year, less than 43,000 computer science students graduated into the workforce (117 in North Dakota)
- Computer science drives job growth and innovation throughout our economy and computing occupations are the number one source of all new wages in the U.S.
- North Dakota has no K-12 computer science curriculum standards nor are North Dakota high schools required to offer computer science courses (though to their great credit, many do)
- Learn more at: https://code.org/promote
Coding clubs are more than simply a means to augment elective courses and foster necessary job skills, however. Coding clubs are social and develop soft skills alongside STEM skills. What’s more, coding is surprisingly really fun. It can stir the imagination and inspire our youth just as stories and art can.
In future articles and workshops, we’ll be delving into just what it takes to teach coding at your library (you’ll be pleased to know that you don’t have to know how to code—though we’ll get you there, if you’re interested), fully prep you to take part in the Hour of Code, teach you about different coding languages and which ones are better suited for different age groups, provide you with a list of recommended books to support coding at your library, assist you with marketing, and show you great coding games and fun programmable robots. We will also be getting a number of circulating kits to support coding curricula at schools and public libraries, though we don’t anticipate they’ll be available until early next year.