Back in December, I blogged about Blinn Sheffield and the Independence (KS) Public Library's upcoming Scratch programming class. I plan to check in with Blinn as the class progresses and will post an update then. I also contacted Sherry Knight, the librarian at the Euless (TX) Public Library who inspired Blinn with her post on the PUBYAC listserv about her successful Scratch club. She discussed the overlap with the library's Lego program.
How did the Scratch club at the library overlap with the LEGO club?
Sherry let me know that she moved to adult services so no longer runs a Scratch club at the library. However, it sounds like the club ended with a bang! Sherry says,
“Towards the end I had also incorporated Lego WeDo robotic sensors, which can be controlled with Scratch. It served as a nice cross-over with our Lego program. On Lego club days, I would set up a Scratch laptop and make a Lego propeller spinor something like that. Big wow factor!”
How did Euless (TX) Public Library fund the program?
The library received a grant from the local Wal-Mart for $1500 to purchase Legos to start up the Lego Club, and Sherry bought the WeDo kit out of that money as well.
How did Sherry's background and interests prepare her for this program?
It was personal interest that led me to create the Scratch program here. I am not a typical children’s librarian (although I enjoyed my time working in that area and learned a lot). I have had a couple of programming courses over the years, but I’m definitely not a programmer. I started out as a cataloger, moved into ILS system admin, then library admin, then when my kids were born and I preferred part-time work, I moved to Youth Services. I’m now back on the adult side full time (all at the same library). I had seen Scratch demonstrated at a local library technology conference before I became a children’s librarian, thought “Wow, that’s neat” then didn’t give it much thought until a couple of years later when I was looking to start up an after-school activity, and Scratch was a great fit.
LEGO Clubs in Libraries
I love hearing about Lego clubs in libraries, not only because the blocks are cool and inspire learning, creativity, and fun, but also because I think they are an excellent example of the non-book types of things libraries do to foster community and literacy.
School Library Journal article Block Party: Legos in the Library (includes examples and resources)
Read Build Play is a collaboration between LEGO® DUPLO® and the Association for Library Services To Children (ALSC).
How to Host a Lego Club, a blog post from The Show Me Librarian