NY Public Library Experts Teach Coding
There’s been a huge interest in coding around the world as of late. The evolving requirements of technological literacy are making programming a more useful tool in personal and professional settings. High quality online providers like Codecademy have made courses more accessible. However, for those who want to explore this skill and get some exposure, it can come at a high cost and for many, there is a great deal of learning frustration. The New York Public Library’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness makes it an ideal forum to help coding courses reach neighborhoods currently underrepresented in the coding community; this is where the NYPL TechConnect Project_<code> program steps in.
In 2012 NYPL began a pilot to improve and expand its technology training courses under the banner NYPL TechConnect. The program offers more than 80 courses in over 80 locations to the public in the New York area at no cost to them. In two years, patron attendance has doubled and it’s new series based program called “Project _<code>” has New Yorkers buzzing.
The program was a great success with over 90 percent of students completing the eight-week course and participating in the graduation ceremony. Some patrons even travelled from long distances such as Staten Island to attend the program in the Bronx. Project_<code> reached a broad audience, cutting across age groups, education levels, income brackets and ethnicities. The diversity of the participants demonstrated the program’s wide appeal. The program has since generated a lot of interest resulting in over 1000 people signing up to take part in upcoming semesters of the program and we are now building a teen coding program as well.
NYPL has found a way to provide its patrons a practical entry into coding while allowing them to build websites for family businesses and in support of hobbies and interests, whilst injecting themselves into the coding community.
Brandy McNeil is the Head & Steven Deolus is the Department Coordinator of Technology Training at the New York Public Library.