Coding at the Library – a few examples
June 9, 2015

At Fiero, our goal is to introduce as many kids as possible to the wonders of computer programming. We think the public library (supercharged with the internet) is the perfect place to do it.


Fortunately we are not the only ones who feel this way. Over the past few weeks, we have been combing the internet to find examples of computer programming at public libraries, then reaching out to the organizers to learn more.

The first thing we discovered was that the people running coding programs are very willing to share! Conversations were filled with detailed information, lessons learned and plans for future improvements. It is inspirational to see the efforts of so many great people in a cause that is truly transformational.

The second thing we learned is that there is not enough dialogue and sharing happening. Almost everyone we talked to expressed a desire to learn from peers and improve their programs. So in the spirit of fostering a dialogue and building a tighter community around library coding programs, we decided to create this post. It’s a list of the coding programs, clubs, classes etc that we found, all happening at public libraries. We certainly missed many of them, so please let us know in the comments or by email and we’ll be happy to add the ones we missed. In addition to the name of the program, we are posting a short summary (in our words) and links to websites or news coverage.

If we misrepresented anything about your program, we’re sorry! Please reach out and we’ll fix it right away. Also, we plan to create “deep dive” profiles on a few of these programs, so let us know which ones are the most interesting.

Here’s the list in alphabetical order:

Austin Public Library (TX). Betsy Evans and team have taken partnership to the next level with their use of General Assembly, a popular learning platform for technology entrepreneurs. The program is geared toward adults that want to learn web development.

Chattanooga Public Library (TN). Justin Hoenke, better known as Justin the Librarian, engaged with local tech experts to create Dev Dev Summer of Code camp. The program was successful out of the chute, but unfortunately Justin left town. Hopefully the momentum will keep building in Chattanooga.

Cupertino Library (CA). Matt Lorenzo – with support from the library foundation – has put together an exciting overnight computer programming event called CU Hacks for teens ages 14-19. With over $1800 in prizes, it’s no surprise that the event registrations filled up quickly!

Louisville Free Public Library (KY). Code Louisville is the brainchild of Julie Scoskie and a number of community partners. The adults in the 12-week program meet once a week for two hours, work through Treehouse lessons, and eventually get a shot at local technology jobs. In addition to helping hundreds of people, being recognized by President Obama, and expanding in its third year, the library has put its  money where its mouth is by hiring Mike Ward, who graduated from the program and now uses his technology skills to improve the program.

Maplewood Memorial Library (NJ). The Coding Club meeting in the makerspace at the Hilton branch met 4 weeks in a row as a way to build continuity and go deeper with the kids (grades 4-7) that came to code.

New York Public Library (NY). Keeping up the image of bright lights and thinking big, the New York library has built an impressive coding program called Project Code. The target audience is adults wanting to transition into tech jobs, and the stories are inspirational.

Palm Beach County Library (FL). Cicely Douglas had taken programming classes in grad school, and recently decided it was time to share her talents with the kids at her library in Boca Raton. She took them straight into websites with HTML and CSS.

Pierce County Library System (WA). Even though they did not have backgrounds in computer science, Elise Doney and Jami Schwartzwalder saw the success of the amazing Seattle CoderDojo program (not through a library, but still pretty cool!) and decided to organize a coding program. Read more about their experience.

Portsmouth Public Library (NH). Steve Butzel, the library director, attributes his library’s coding program to customer demand – apparently. They offer an HTML/web development program for adults.

That’s it for today. There are lots more out there, and we want to hear about them! Drop us a line and let us know what we are missing.

Additional Resources

Resource Library

The Code Club Training Course

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