Coding for Children and Young Adults in Libraries

128p. (Practical Guides for Librarians). index. photos. Rowman & Littlefield. Jul. 2018. pap. $65. ISBN 9781538108666.
This valuable resource for public librarians considering implementing coding programming kicks off with a history of the practice, listing luminaries from Ada Lovelace, the original computer programmer, to Mitch Resnick, the pioneering creator of the kid-friendly language Scratch. Harrop suggests that librarians learn to code themselves and provides guidelines and resources for further education, but a basic description of how coding works keeps the facts clear and simple for the non–scientifically minded. The author explains the merits of visual and text-based programming languages and how appropriate they are for different age groups. Thoughtful arguments discuss why to teach coding in public libraries. Beyond the acquisition of technical ability, Harrop notes, coding also develops critical thinking and problem-solving. The work also mentions apps and other texts, such as picture books. The chapter "Coding Unplugged" offers ways to teach skills through music, art, and toys and games. The meatiest section, on integrating coding with making, includes detailed ideas involving robots, programmable micro-controllers, and creation kits that are available commercially. The book ends with tips on reaching women and those from underrepresented groups, encouraging community and school partnerships.
VERDICT Public librarians curious about the importance of coding should pick up this title.

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