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SWON Weekly: Learning to Code

Wednesday, November 16, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Cassondra Vick
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"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 “ BB Code ,” 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 HTML goodies (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 Visual Basic 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 courses , resources and workshops available for free to all. Speaking of resources, it is from 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 HTML Goodies are another fun way for the autodidact to learn a bit of the language. There’s lots of resources from Khan Academy to Kodable 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 Scratch. Scratch 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

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Level-Up Lab: Coding from Scratch

Level-Up Labs are a chance for you to get some hands-on help to take your tech skills to the next level. We'll meet at SWON's offices here in Blue Ash (though all labs can be presented at your site for your staff or patrons, just contact us for details) and spend up to two hours looking at a tech topic in depth, with time to practice what we've learned.

In this lab, we'll be working on coding in Scratch. Scratch is a free programming language and online community where you can create your own interactive stories, games, and animations. It is easy-to-use and kid-friendly. In this lab, we'll learn about Scratch and create a simple program. You can use these skills to lead your own coding programs!

Level-Up Labs are always FREE for everyone, but space is limited, so register today to reserve your place!

  Register Now!  

Swap Meet  

Swap Meet: Free Law and Patent Books

SWON's "Swap Meet" provides you the chance to find a new home for anything in your library you think others may need. We've helped folks connect with those giving away everything from printer toner to a circulation desk

This week, we have an offer of free law and patent books from one of our members. So take a look at Swap Meet and let us know if you are interested.

Have something you need to let go? Post it on Swap Meet any time to offer it up to other folks in the SWON area!                                   
  Check it Out!  

American Library Association  

 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.                                   
  Apply Here!  

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PCI Webinar - Mastering Difficult Workplace Communications Challenges

Interpersonal communications in the workplace poses challenges even for the savviest of professionals. Yet some skills stand out. These include dealing with difficult people; handling complaints or tricky questions; incorporating tact and professionalism into diverse situations; and responding to negativity and gossip.

This interactive and informative webinar will probe the nature of these and other thorny issues you’re likely to encounter no matter where you work. Most important, we’ll explore different strategies you can employ to manage these challenges with aplomb.


FREE for employees of Supporting Member Institutions 
$20 for members in our Ohio service area 
$40 for everyone else


  Register Here!  

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SWON Libraries
10250 Alliance Rd. Suite 112
Blue Ash, OH 45242

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