CHICAGO — The Muncie Public Library (MPL) in Muncie, Indiana has been selected to receive the 2017 Library of the Future Award, sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and Information Today Inc. publishing company. The library was selected for its innovative “Digital Climbers” program that motivates and inspires children ages eight and up to experiment with technology and master skills that contribute to learning in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.
Working from a collection of makerspace projects and activities, Rebecca Parker and Stuart Cotton, employees of MPL, teamed with Drew Shermeta, former MPL employee, to create a program that encourages students to work independently to master technology skills. Participants compete with other students as they chart their progress through badges, rewards, and public recognition. The Digital Climbers program motivates kids to learn using tools such as 3D printers and design applications, snap circuits, Adobe Photoshop, Garage Band, and the Osmo educational gaming system.
“Too often kids come into the library to check out our tech, but don’t actually give it a chance or spend any time challenging themselves to learn it more deeply,” said Rebecca Parker, Technology Coordinator at the Muncie Public Library. “This program gives them the impetus to do that.”
Information Today Inc. publishing company is a leader in providing libraries with resources to meet knowledge management needs. This award, designed to recognize innovative planning, applications, or development of focused patron support relating to information technology in libraries, is given to an individual library, consortium, group, or support organization.
The 2017 ALA/Information Today Library of the Future Award jury members include Rene Erlandson, Elkhorn, Nebraska; Deana Groves, Western Kentucky University; Ben Hunter, University of Idaho, chair; Elizabeth Joseph, Ferguson Library; and John Sandstrom, New Mexico State University.
The ALA/Information Today Library of the Future Award will be presented at the ALA President’s program, Sunday, June 25, 2017 during the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.