Raspberry Pi

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What is it?

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming. It’s a little computer that encourages programming play and innovation at a very low cost. It will connect to analog TVs, HDMI monitors and TVs. It has audio and runs on wall power or batteries. It is very simple in its configurations, which opens up the option for creativity. You must install an OS on it; Raspberry Pi developers recommend Debian (a Linux operating system). The foundation hopes the Raspberry Pi will provide inexpensive computers that are ready for programming play, and will cultivate an environment for computer science experimentation and learning.

How do I get one?

You can buy the Raspberry Pi through Premier Farnell/Element 14 and RS Components. Both distributors sell all over the world. The Model A will cost $25 and the Model B $35, plus local taxes and shipping/handling fees. You will get the Raspberry Pi Board itself. A power supply or SD cards are not included but can be purchased at the same time from Farnell and RS. You will be able to buy preloaded SD cards too. Model A has 256MB RAM, one USB port and no Ethernet (network connection). Model B has 512MB RAM, 2 USB port and an Ethernet port.

Why would libraries be interested?

Put one in a Makerspace area and let everyone play.
Partner with local high school or college students planning a career in Computer Science as a mentoring opportunity.
Encourage library staff to explore different operating system environments.
Establish a code curriculum for STEM programming in your library.
What ideas do you have?