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Waseca Public Library Receives Grant to Develop Youth Coding Programs

Waseca Public Library announced today that they have received a $25,000 grant from the American Library Association (ALA) to design and implement coding programs for young people. Waseca Public Library is one of 28 libraries around the country to receive a grant from Libraries Ready to Code, an initiative of the American Library Association sponsored by Google, which promotes computer science (CS) and computational thinking among youth.

“I believe our project stood out because we will be reaching out to area coders, especially those working in the agriculture industry, to come in and talk to our participants. We want to show these kids the kinds of innovation taking place in our region so they can see the great potential of returning to our region to start innovative, profitable projects and businesses. Our library system is also unique in that we have the ability to try the events out in communities that range in population from 250 people (Waldorf) to 9,500 people (Waseca). After we try out the coding activities in Waseca, we can send them out to each of libraries. Many of the other grant recipients are located in major metro areas, such as Washington, D.C. and Seattle,” said Stacy Lienemann, Waseca-Le Sueur Regional Library System Director.

With the Ready to Code grant, Waseca Public Library will be creating a coding curriculum that supports children ages 3-15. The funding will fund coding training in three initiatives:

1) Little Coders: This series features preschool and kindergarten activities geared toward teaching beginning coding skills such as sequencing, numbers, directions, and storytelling.

2) Level Up: Through this already-established STEAM activity series, kids 7-12 will learn more sophisticated skills from those targeted in Little Coders.

3) Creator Studio: This event series targets kids ages 10-15 and will focus on Robotics and Game Design. Kids will also gain exposure to coding career paths, meeting with web designers, game designers, robotics programmers, agriculture automation programmers, and farming analytics programmers.

“Libraries are the cornerstones of our communities,” said Google program manager Nicky Rigg. “We are proud to include Waseca Public Library in our cohort of Ready to Code grantees and support them with the knowledge and skills to do what they do best: empowering youth to create, problem solve and develop the confidence and skills to succeed in their future careers.”

ALA President Jim Neal said, “As centers of innovation and information, libraries are the ideal place for youth – especially those underrepresented in tech jobs – to get the CS skills they need to succeed. ALA is pleased to provide these new resources to Waseca Public Library and other Libraries Ready to Code grantees to help young people cultivate problem-solving skills, in addition to coding, that are at the heart of libraries’ mission to foster critical thinking.”

Waseca Public Library will release event dates shortly.

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