When reading became more digital with the introduction of tablets and e-readers, libraries became pressured to innovate and remain relevant. As a former classroom teacher and current literacy specialist at the Muskingum County Library System in southeastern Ohio, I have had to step back and rethink how to ensure that children are not just achieving foundational literacy skills such as reading and writing, but also developing digital-literacy skills.
The original purpose of the public library was to be a repository of knowledge and experience. Now, we are not only a supplier of knowledge but also a facilitator for learning experiences.
Wanting to help build skills through library resources, I decided to create community workshops at which kids could explore coding, engage in 21st-century learning, and, most important, have fun. When it comes to organizing library programs and events, our staff focuses on giving patrons opportunities to “read, discover, learn, and create”—and not just in isolation, but in concert with each other. The following guidelines to creating an effective workshop reflect that mission.
4 guidelines to creating an effective digital workshop
1. Conduct due diligence on resources. As you may already know, there is an overwhelming supply of tools available to help introduce young learners to coding. I suggest first identifying what you want to accomplish in your workshop and then building a strategy for finding resources. We were intrigued by the Hour of Code concept and wanted tools that would work for long-term skills development and engagement. From there, we found resources that matched that need.