Posted on October 2, 2019
Computer coding will help shape the future of work and information, transforming whole industries in the process. These valuable skills are being built at the Toledo Lucas County Public Library with classes instructing youth and adults on the basics of coding.
Through interactive software, customers pursue a course at their own pace. The Library has run coding classes for about two years. Erin DeWitt, a children’s librarian at King Road Branch, said coding opens a world of opportunities.
“I want to help inspire kids to think in a different way, think about their future and think about a change themselves,” DeWitt said.
Computer programmers comprise an in-demand field. They develop code for software applications, update existing programs and test for potential errors. It’s also financially viable, with a median annual salary of about $85,000 last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
I want to help inspire kids to think in a different way, think about their future and think about a change themselves.
Children's librarian, King Road Branch
Librarians learned that parents desired greater computer science courses for their children, but found limited local offerings. The Library hosts a self-led learning method that allows students to socialize with those from different grades and schools. In practicing code, they learn basics of video game and website creation as well as robot programming. Users embrace computational thinking as well.
“A lot of what we do with our coding programs is we make it really fun. It’s basically gaming and puzzles, but you learn coding in the process,” DeWitt said. She added she is a huge fan of coding herself.
Much of the world is moving toward a digital realm. DeWitt wanted to facilitate coding because of the job market, as a number of positions in greater Toledo require it. Federal statistics report about 250,000 computer programming jobs last year. Similar careers of computer and information research scientists, web developers and database administrators are available as well. DeWitt hopes the Library courses kick start inspiration from a young age for the field.
“The whole purpose of the Toledo Library is to be there for the community in order to meet its needs,” she said. “Coding is something we recognize as a community need.”