"But I'm a Book Person!": Learning to code with SWON
I get it, coding can seem intimidating. And, after all, aren’t we “book people”? I once told a child that while I was glad to try and help her with her trigonometry homework, she probably didn’t want my assistance. “I went into Library Science for a reason,” I told her. I do words, not numbers! But necessity, as always, is the mother of invention.
None of the first codes I learned were very difficult or even counted as fully-fledged coding languages, but they were a start! First there was “
,” which allowed me to format posts in message boards I frequented. Then, for some reason, I decided I wanted to build a web page. It was a little simpler in the days before CSS, but still, following the instructions on
(while borrowing a lot of code from web pages I admired!), I taught myself to build a website. More recently, frustrated with the “record macro” function on Excel, I taught myself Microsoft’s
to make a spreadsheet perform how I needed it to.
There’s still plenty of math I cannot do in my head.
Coding, really, is both a language -- each variety, like French or Japanese, coming with its own syntax and vocabulary -- and a
way of thinking
. It’s almost-ruthless logic teaches us not just how computers work, but how to work through problems in a logical, scientific manner. Coding is not just a skill -- it is a type of literacy. Yes, that’s exactly why libraries should be involved.
Andrew Carnegie funded over 2,500 libraries
because he believed
that the literacy skills we provide are essential to eliminating poverty. While coding may not be traditional literacy, many have argued that it is
the literacy skill of the 21st century
. Thus, arguably, libraries have a duty to help their patrons become fluent in this language.
There are many excellent, free resources on the web.
is an excellent nonprofit, with great
available for free to all. Speaking of resources, it is from Code.org that you can
learn all about the state of coding and computer science
here in the Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana areas. Did you know that in all three, for instance, there are many more computer science jobs than computer science graduates and that those jobs pay well above the median income in each state (around $75,000 in all three)?
Because HTML is an easy and fun way to get into code, sites like
are another fun way for the autodidact to learn a bit of the language. There’s lots of resources from
or you can attend a local meeting of
Girl Develop It
But I think we also learn better, together. In December, we’re going to
delve a little into the programming language
is a free, simple language meant to teach children how to code, so there’s no doubt you can get the hang of it! We’ll just, pardon the pun, scratch the surface, but it will be a great intro to coding.
Even if you don’t work with kids but want to get started in code, this will be a great place to start. Level-Up Labs are always FREE to all, but space is limited, so sign up today and join us for “
Coding from Scratch
” on 12/15/16 at SWON HQ here in Blue Ash, OH. Looking forward to learning with you!
Cassondra Vick, MLIS
Technology Educator, SWON Libraries
2017 Pat Carterette Professional Development Grant
The ALA Learning Round Table will award up to $1,000 to an individual to attend a professional development event between July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. The award recipient will be required to share their new learning with other Round Table members in some way (newsletter, blog, list serv, etc.). Applicants do not have to be ALA members to apply. Applicants must respond to this Survey Monkey questionnaire by February 15, 2017 at 11:59 pm CST.
This grant, named after our much admired past-president, the late Pat Carterette, is designed to honor her passion for professional development in the field of library and information sciences. A former staff development and continuing education coordinator, Pat believed in quality library service, leadership development, and continual learning.
Please note: The maximum grant amount is $1,000 (with receipts). Any costs above this will be the responsibility of the participant. In addition to the financial award, the recipient will also be provided with a member of LRT, who will serve as a personal "Career Development Mentor" throughout the award year. The recipient will be notified in May of 2017.