County libraries offering programs around coding and computer science for Hour of Code event

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Computers are the way of the future.

That’s why branches in the Oxford County Library are offering free computer coding programs in honour of Hour of Code, a global initiative founded by code.org in 2013.

The initiative is aimed at teaching computer science to school students and Oxford County is offering drop-in events across its branches this week.

“During the Hour of Code event we have our public computers, Chromebooks, iPads and some coding toys that kids can come in and play with,” librarian Meagan Berry said. “They can spend the hour coding and programming the toys, playing coding games on the computers and just spending the hour learning and being immersed in computer science.”

Those who participate in the events will earn an Hour of Code certificate, and while the initiative is aimed at students, Berry said that anyone can drop-in on their own time.

“The Hour of Code is a worldwide movement to get kids interested in computer science, especially coding,” Berry said. “We’re just trying to take part and get Oxford County involved in learning and having fun with it.”

This is the first time the county has participated in Hour of Code, and Berry said that the library has set a goal of having 150 residents participate across all of its branches.

“It is the first time that we’ve done this and we’re hoping to reach 150 participants this year, and then beat that goal next year,” she said. “Some branches we’ve had over 20 people drop-in and others we’ve had about a dozen or so. I think we’re right on track to meeting our goal.”

There are many benefits to learning code, one of the biggest is the emergence of computer science jobs and careers.

“Learning coding can help with problem solving skills, logic and creativity, and there are going to be so many jobs in the computer science field in the next couple of decades,” Berry said. “Coding is actually becoming the most in-demand job skill. So we are just trying to get kids involved and learning young, because it’s really important that if they learn young they can learn fast and these are skills that they can take with them when they start their careers.”

Times for all of the scheduled events can be found on the Oxford County Library website at www.ocl.net, but Berry added that families can drop-in anytime to try their hands at coding.

bchessell@postmedia.com

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