L.A. Library Teaches Kids to Code 

AP Photo/David Wallis
AP Photo/David Wallis

The Los Angeles Public Library has created a program to teach coding to elementary and middle school children, using a grant from the Eureka leadership program.

Children’s librarian Joanna Fabicon, who started the project, told Southern California Public Radio (SCPR), “Historically we’re the place that offers opportunities. I named it coder time because I would love coding to be as ubiquitous in libraries as story time.” She joined with the afterschool program “L.A.’s Best” to expand the coding program to 160 children at eight LAUSD schools.

Brooke Sheets, a children’s librarian at L.A. library’s central branch, noted that the majority of children in the library’s coder class were girls. She said, “Nobody makes them feel uncomfortable here, so it’s a great chance for them to collaborate and explore, without any of the traditional barriers that are keeping girls out.”

Code.org stated that in 2012, of the students taking AP courses in computer science, only 15% were women, and only 8% were Latino or black. Code.org has stated that over 80,000 computer jobs are available in California.

The Association for Library Service for Children listed various examples of libraries across the nation instituting classes to teach technology, including Maryland’s Frederick County Public Libraries, which created STEM Lab; Connecticut’s Darien Library’s TEA Room, which teaches technology, engineering, and the arts; Washington State’s King County Library System, which offers Everyday Robot Heroes Science Workshop, Yes, It’s Rocket Science Workshop  or Rockets to the Moon Science Workshop; the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh with its My Storymaker site; and the Skokie Public Library, which teaches Photoshop elements, green screen photography, and Stop Motion Animation.