Spotswood Library launches programs teaches kids coding

businessman using laptop computer sitting working office.

SPOTSWOOD–Seeking to educate children about the art of coding, the Spotswood Public Library will hold  two “Hour of Code” programs this month.

Director C.L. Quillen said that both programs will be for children in grades 3-6. The first program is scheduled for Dec. 9 and the second on Dec. 30.
“We are receiving the $300 grant from the Public Policy and Advocacy Office of the American Library Association with sponsorship from Google,” Quillen said. “They consider it a mini-grant and require that we hold one program during Computer Science Education Week and offer one more program before Jan. 6. The activities were made available from Google CS First and this year’s theme is ‘Code Your Hero.'”
The library’s “Creating a Superhero” will be held at 6 p.m. on Dec. 9 at the library, which is located at 548 Main St.
Participants will learn how to create their own Superhero sprite using the programming language Scratch. Pizza will be served, according to Quillen.
“I applied for the grant, but Team Leader Debbie Carmody will be running the program. Carmody facilitates our tween, [which are] grades 3-6, programs and has really developed a rapport with the kids who attend our tween events,” Quillen said.
The library’s “Becoming a Superhero” program will be held at 4 p.m. on Dec. 30 at the library. Participants will decorate superhero capes and then learn how to create their own superhero sprite using the programming language Scratch or evolve the Superhero they created at the Dec. 9th program. Cookies will be served, according to Quillen.
“The library applied for the grant because the approach that we’re taking to coding teaches kids rational thinking, relationship skills, and helps them to become lifelong learning through fun activities,” Quillen said. “Coding teaches teamwork, collaboration, problem-solving, and critical thinking.”
Quillen also explained how productive the programs can be.
 “There are also statistics to indicate that there will be 1 million or more unfilled computer programming jobs in 2020, and in our role as a community leader, the library wants to promote activities that could lead to jobs and economic development. The other great thing about this program is that it is structured to be self-guided, and doesn’t require that we have staff who are experts in computer science.”
Quillen said that the library’s mission is to provide opportunities to explore, inspire, and strengthen its community by connecting people with information, ideas, and enriching experiences and she thinks that these types of activities go a long way towards accomplishing this.
“We want to offer kids the opportunity to learn through play and experimentation in a safe environment. We want to be part of the lives of everyone in our community and part of that is reaching people through the activities and topics that they are interested in,” Quillen said. “While books and reading are still the library’s brand, we recognize that there are other ways to make a story a part of people’s lives.”
For this grant, Quillen said that the library is only planning to offer these two programs; however, the library offered a very successful code club last summer and are hoping to offer something similar again next summer.
“We are also starting a Girls Who Code club in January and are hoping that this program will stimulate interest,” Quillen said. “We’re very excited to have been selected to receive the grant.”
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