ALA awards 250 libraries with microfunding for CS Education Week 2018, launches Ready to Code website

For Immediate Release
Thu, 11/29/2018


Shawnda Hines

Asst. Director, Communications

American Library Association

(202) 628-8410

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the American Library Association’s (ALA) Libraries Ready to Code initiative, sponsored by Google, awarded 250 school and public libraries with $500 in microfunding each to help plan and implement coding activities during Computer Science Education (CS Ed) Week 2018 (Dec. 3-9).

“ALA is proud to continue the expansion of Libraries Ready to Code,” said ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo. “We hope this microfunding for libraries will not only generate enthusiasm for CS Ed Week, but spark year-round programming to develop critical thinking and digital skills youth can draw on over a lifetime.”

The CS Ed Week microfunding comes as part of an announcement by ALA and Grow with Google which includes the launch of the Libraries Ready to Code website, the expansion of Google’s in-person workshops for job seekers and small businesses to libraries in all 50 states, and an additional $1 million investment in funding to libraries. Libraries across America will be able to access the pool of micro-funds through ALA to implement digital skills programming. ALA will collaborate with the Public Library Association, a division of ALA, to administer the new digital skills initiative. Funding will become available as the Grow With Google tour comes to your state.

In Grow with Google’s announcement, Vice President Lisa Gevelber said, “Libraries have long been America’s go-to gathering place for learning. Now more than ever, people are using libraries as resources for professional growth. And libraries are stepping up…That’s why starting in January, we’ll also work hand-in-hand with libraries around the country, using technology to help ensure that economic opportunity exists for everyone, everywhere.”

ALA’s Garcia-Febo added, “We are thrilled by today’s announcement of Grow with Google’s new initiative to enhance the role of libraries as digital community centers. It is exciting to see what started three years ago as a collaborative exploration has grown into a broad range of investments in America’s libraries that promote computational thinking, fuel innovation and advance our nation’s workforce.” 

The 250 libraries selected for CS Ed Week funding will each host activities based on Google’s free CS First curriculum, which uses video-based instruction to introduce CS to kids through block-based coding. This year, Google’s CS Ed Week activity encourages creativity in storytelling so youth can incorporate their own interests while learning to code. Libraries will pursue projects that reflect Ready to Code themes critical for advancing youth learning, especially for building computational thinking literacies.

Google has supported CS learning in libraries since 2016 with expertise and financial support for ALA’s Libraries Ready to Code program. The CS Ed Week libraries join the original 30 Ready to Code libraries that participated in a year-long exploration of building capacity among libraries of all types to design and implement CS and computational thinking programs, which is now live on the new Ready to Code website. The Ready to Code initiative also includes a cohort of six faculty from Library and Information Science graduate programs, who redesigned their youth courses to incorporate Ready to Code themes in programs for pre-service librarians.

Ready to Code initiative leaders estimate that the CS Ed Week funding will enable more than 60,000 youth all around the country to take part in coding activities throughout the week. Library staff will share these activities using #readytocode, #csfirst, #GrowWithGoogle and @alalibrary.