Learn (and teach!) Code

Computer Science Education week is coming up and libraries across the country, including mine, are participating in Hour of Code. If you haven’t hear of it, Hour of Code is a world-wide learning event where people can learn basic computer code. Last year, over 15 million people participated and I was one of them. During my session, our coach took us through a 20-step tutorial that included videos and exercises using Scratch, which is a drag-and-drop coding platform. By the end of the hour, I had learned about repeat-loops, conditionals, and basic algorithms – all important aspects to writing code. After the one-hour session, I felt confident that I could present the same material to another group of learners.

Why is this important to libraries? Coding is a literacy skill for the 21st century. Having a foundation in writing computer code helps today’s learners understand the digital environment and empowers them to participate in it. In a way, we’ve been teaching different types of codes to our customers for years – we teach the alphabet during storytime, the Dewey Decimal system to anyone who wants to find a non-fiction book, even our use policies are a type of code (i.e. if behave inappropriately, then you will be asked to leave the library). Spelling conventions, organizational rules, and library policies are all examples of types of code – they are a way of doing something that is based in logic.

You don’t have to be a computer scientists to learn code, and if you can give it an hour, you will learn a lot. Computer Science Education Week is December 8 – 14 – my library will be coding, will yours?