Hello! This is Miss Sherry. I do not have a personal blog and so to best share information I have chosen to use the Library’s blog because this presentation is about– you guessed it1– the Library! I am speaking in regard to our coding programs we offer at the library.
I am Sherry Scheline and I am the director of the best little library in the West. It is a self proclaimed title. It’s not some award you missed out on. My pronouns are She / Her. A few months back I was ask by ICFL to participate in a Girls Who Code infomercial, for the lack of a better word. That presentation ended up getting mentioned at ALA and suddenly people thought I knew what I was talking about. I better back up. Donnelly, for those that do not know, is a little south of McCall and in the same school district as McCall, but often gets overlooked. Donnelly does not receive many of the resources that McCall receives. I was desperate to fill a much needed void in our community.
Before going any further, I am letting you in on a secret: I know nothing about coding. You have all been fooled if you came here for me to teach you the art of coding. One of the joys you experience when you are an accidental librarian is how many things you can do that you have no idea how to do. Like teach coding.
I want to tell you about my excitement when I first went to the Girls Who Code Website. Girl Power! I was drawn by the wonderful images of diversity, the promotion of sisterhood and the encouragement of a workforce in a growing tech field. All of those things are wonderful for any library no matter the size. Girls Who Code and their mission are amazing. The truth is however … I did it for the snacks.
TACOS!!! I say it joking and it is humorous, but the truth is, in my situation there was no humor about it at the time. I am still new to the game. Our Library is on the 2 year mark. We have a very low budget. Our elementary school is a Title 1 school with no after school options. We have no funding for after school and so I was winging it when it came to programming. I was trying to find something that would cover after school snacks. Our after school program runs anywhere from ten to forty kids and food insecurities are a major thing. I legitimately got serious about signing up because I was going to get money for snacks. I do need to clarify for the purpose of this… at the time Girls Who Code offered a $300 grant for snacks. Now they offer a snack box in addition to the money you receive. I stumbled upon them originally because I was looking for grants that covered food or staffing. If you handle your library’s gants you know it is hard to find grants for ebooks, staffing and nearly impossible to find food grants.
I am very proud of our library. I am continually advocating for a minority population in the United States that is overlooked and that is rural communities. Access for rural populations is so important. We had boys included in Girls Who Code because it was their only opportunity in our community. I love the inclusion mission of Girls Who Code. The heart of their mission is to support the underserved. GWC is leading the way in closing the gender gap. They did not hesitate for us to include boys, when presented with the idea for our rural community. They allowed us the freedom to do what worked best for us. (Play Video)
Only 435 Computer Science Graduates and yet Computer Science is one of the fastest growing occupations today.
Quickly, many of these slides were created for the ICFL presentation for Girls Who Code which I will link at the end of the presentation.
I want to add that many in our area have little to no access. These statements are unfortunately often far too familiar for much of our rural populations as well. I want to talk about WHO WE SERVE in a different way.
For Our Girls Who Code program, we welcome students of all genders!
Rural America is a minority. We often do not realize the opportunities our kids miss. The bottom line of that last slide is the most important for our Girls Who Code program as we allow students of all genders to join.
Let’s Taco Bout your lack of knowledge when it comes to coding? I promise you likely have more tech experience than I. I struggle even setting up the slides for this presentation. The struggle is the learning process. On one of the days of the program the kids had to learn to write code to get a taco. We had all the ingredients, but the robot (aka the volunteer) could only read code. Kids would take their sheet of paper to the robot. Many forgot [“hardshell”] or [“softshell”] and many forgot the quotes or something small and missed out on a particular ingredient. I did not realize I could choose chicken or beef and just put meat. The robot kicked my order out because it didn’t recognize meat. Coding Tacos is an easy lesson and the joy when the “I got it lightbulb” comes on not just for the students, but yourself is an incredible experience.
We added boys, we added much younger children, we did it outside, and the kids loved it.
We needed programming for K-5th and had no budget.
We also added another day of coding: We started an additional coding class. Amy Stavynskyy, one of our faithful volunteers, volunteered to teach an additional day of coding that would involve the younger kids and we went for it.
Basic Coding 101.
- Dream Robots
- Binary Code (necklaces)
- Color Coding
- Circuits (Makey Makey)
- The Inside of a Computer
- Dot and Dash
- Kami Gami Robot Battles
Last fall we successfully ran after school programming three days a week and had very little financial output. Girls Who Code served 3-5th grades on Thursdays, and Fridays we served K-5th with Coding 101 ( a combination of Girls Who Code, Countdown to Coding and our own flair.) On Tuesdays of the following week the students could come in and independently practice what they had learned the previous week.
We have stopped doing surveys for kids’ programs. (That is probably an entirely different session) I feel it is silly to expect a survey from an early reader. If they are young, they may be able to read, perhaps even code, but putting their thoughts down on paper may be a struggle. We do let our kids give us reviews. They can choose to write a review, they can have help writing a review or they can video their thoughts.