ALA is working with the tech giant to make resources available to librarians in an effort to make exploring code as easy for kids as exploring a book at the library.
Libraries have always been important places to learn, especially for kids—and they’ve never been exclusively about books.
It’s in that spirit that the American Library Association joined forces with Google to teach kids something new—about coding.
Google recently announced its involvement in the Libraries Ready to Code project, which was spearheaded by ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy. The goal of the project is to ensure that library employees have the knowledge to assist kids in finding the resources they need for learning to code.
Crystle Martin, secretary of the Young Adult Library Services Association, noted on Google’s blog that the initiative highlights how libraries can help encourage education outside of the classroom.
“Libraries and library staff can create opportunities for youth to gain basic exposure and a basic interest in coding,” Martin told Google’s Hai Hong. “From there, with support and mentorship from librarians and staff, they can develop long-term engagement and possibly computer science as an envisioned future.”
The project is not about teaching librarians to code. “Rather, we want to provide them with the knowledge and skills to do what they do best: empower youth to learn, create, problem-solve, and develop the skills needed in tomorrow’s workforce—all while having fun, of course,” Hong wrote.
It’s just the latest partnership between Google and traditional libraries. The company famously teamed with large academic libraries for its Google Books project, and in 2014 it assisted with a library lending program in New York City involving wireless hotspots.