Behind every app and computer program, there’s code. Code delivers the directions to a computer to complete complex tasks.
The good news: Coding is not hard.
Anyone can learn to code. We are teaching kids to code in our fall series, Coding Music. Even if your child’s future career does not involve computer programming, they will benefit from learning to code. It will give them a new way to think about the world that involves math, logic, and computational thinking.
Want to get your kids coding but aren’t able to attend the program? Or even if you want to learn a little for yourself, check out these books at the library today.
How to Code in 10 Easy Lessons
Author: Sean McManus
Following the 10 lessons in this book will have you creating video games using the programming language Scratch. Then, you can build your own website using HTML and CSS to share the game with the world.
Coding Games in Scratch
Author: John Woodcock
This book also teaches how to build games using Scratch, but with sample games and more detailed instructions. Readers are encouraged to hack and tweak the games into something uniquely their own.
Kids Get Coding series
Authors: Heather Lyons and Elizabeth Tweedale
Kids Get Coding is set of four books introducing code concepts to an even younger audience. These books use very simple language and offline activities to introduce the concepts behind computer programming. There are also links provided where you can go to learn more.
Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World
Author: Reshma Saujani
Girls are underrepresented in the tech field, so this author decided to do something about it. In 2010, she set out to teach girls to code and encourage them in a world that can be full of boys and men. The book is packed full of information about coding in a way that makes it feel like just a fun chat with a friend. Interspersed throughout are short biographies of women who are paving the way in companies such as Pixar and NASA.
For all K-12 students, Elkhart Public Library provides a space for after-school tutoring.
Starting Sept. 18, National Honor Society students from area high schools will be available to help any student with their homework, no matter the subject. Tutors are not unlimited, so it is a first come, first served basis.
Each location will host a night of Homework Help each week.
Monday – 4 to 6 p.m. at Cleveland*
Monday – 5 to 8 p.m. downtown
Tuesday – 4 to 7 p.m. at Dunlap and Pierre Moran
Thursday – 4 to 7 p.m. at Osolo
* – Cleveland schedule through December 2017
Students interested in coming to Homework Help should bring their assignments, as well as the materials and supplies needed to complete projects. They will get help from qualified and knowledgeable National Honor Society students, and they also get to create a bond with a good role model from the community.
“Homework Help has been an ongoing program at EPL for more than 15 years,” says Chuck Pieri, Branch Children’s Librarian, “and when it started, I think it was especially important since the schools didn’t offer a lot of after-school programming for the students.”
But things are different this time around, and Homework Help is more of a supplement to the programs offered at schools. Pieri is hopeful this program will serve students well.
“I hope that the kids get the help they need for their assignments, as well as new skills and strategies to tackle these subjects on their own in the future,” Pieri says. “I’m happy that we can collaborate with the schools and create a safe learning environment where young kids and their peers can work together.”
While students are here for Homework Help, they will also get the chance to check out more of Elkhart Public Library’s resources.
“I also hope that while they are here they take advantage of all we have to offer,” Pieri says, “like getting a free library card, checking out books, or accessing digital music, eBooks and much more.”
Homework Help runs through Memorial Day.
Downtown storytimes just got more exciting for the 4- to 6-year-old set.
Preschool-age children are invited to join the downtown Tuesday Tales for an hour of stories, songs, and learning activities. Each week until Oct. 24, the 10 a.m. Tuesday Tales will give kids the chance to learn from a different presenter, meet the many friendly faces of Elkhart Public Library, and prepare for kindergarten.
“We will feature longer stories, and the songs and rhymes between stories will have more advanced application of early literacy skills,” says Allison McLean, head of Young People’s Services. “The crafts after the stories will be designed to help children develop their fine motor skills.”
Along with parents, child-care centers are encouraged to bring groups build even greater connections with the library.
“I hope that kids who come to Tuesday Tales,” she says, “see the joy of reading, learn to love the library, and are better prepared to enter kindergarten as a result of coming to our program.”
With the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey still prominently on everyone’s mind, now is the perfect time for National Preparedness Month, or September as it’s more commonly known.
This year’s theme focuses on having a plan for when the unthinkable happens because “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.”
Having a plan gives you the ability to respond to the challenges nature might throw at you quickly. Elkhart Public Library wants to make sure you have those plans in place.
This month, commit to research and read up on how to make an effective plan for your family and your business to respond in case of a natural disaster.
Books are a great place to start when you’re making a plan for how to respond to a disaster, and there are a number to choose from. To get you started, Elkhart Public Library’s research librarians can get you plugged into plenty of resources. The following is not an exhaustive list – instead, it’s just meant to get you started.
Are you Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness
Agency: FEMA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
This guide was prepared using the available information, including research on what actually happens during disasters, but it does not include all possible variables or outcomes. The main goal of this guide is to be used to help people create, practice and maintain emergency plans.
The Disaster Preparedness Handbook: A Guide for Families
Author: Arthur T. Bradley, PhD
The handbook will help you create a practical disaster plan for your entire family, and it covers the 14 basic human needs that need to be at the forefront of any plan. The content has been well researched by an army veteran and current NASA engineer and can serve as a good starting place in creating a survival plan.
Just in Case: How to be self-sufficient when the unexpected happens
Author: Kathy Harrison
In a disaster zone, people cannot rely on public services to take care of their families. This book will give tips to survive when disaster strikes: take inventory, pack an evacuation kit, rotate your food supply, stay in contact with your loved ones and more.
The Disaster Recovery Handbook
Authors: Michael Wallace and Lawrence Webber
When the unthinkable does happen, you need to know what to do next. Businesses and organizations will be disrupted by disasters, but they can be destroyed by those disasters if they aren’t prepared. This book offers strategies and practical guidance on how to come up with a recovery plan and how to implement it.
52 Prepper Projects: A project a week to help you prepare for the unpredictable
Author: David Nash
Through each project, this book will help teach you how to be self-reliant in the midst of a crisis. The projects will start at the very foundation of how to be prepared for disaster, and along the way, readers will gain more knowledge and become more self-reliant.
Having evacuation and recovery plans are essential for dealing with disasters, but the basis of those plans come from studying history. If we don’t understand the past, we are more likely to repeat it. Learning from past disasters is the only way to make future disasters more bearable and survivable by making ourselves more prepared, so here are a few titles to get you started.
The Unthinkable: Who survives when Disaster Strikes and Why
Author: Amanda Ripley
This book takes a closer look at various disasters from recent history, starting with the explosion of the Mont Blanc munitions ship in 1917 and ending with the journeys of the 15,000 people in the World Trade Center on 9/11. With the help of brain scientists, trauma psychologists, and other disaster experts, Ripley sets out to understand how human beings react to danger and what can be the difference between life and death.
Charlie Mike: A True Story of Heroes Who Brought Their Mission Home
Author: Joe Klein
When two war heroes returned home, they wanted to continue serving their country. They each founded organizations providing space for veterans to come together and give aid to people in the midst of disasters. The Mission Continues and Team Rubicon have been on scene after disasters like 9/11, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and Superstorm Sandy.
Shall we wake the President? Two Centuries of Disaster Management from the Oval Office
Author: Tevi Troy
Whatever party leanings, Republican or Democrat, the person in the Oval Office needs to be able to have a handle on disasters affecting the nation. This book analyzes how recent history has seen an increasing number of disasters and how the nation looks to Washington leadership when disaster strikes. Troy focuses on the role of the president in response to tragedy, as well as how presidents in the past have responded.
Disaster! A History of Earthquakes, Floods, Plagues, and Other Catastrophes
Author: John Withington
While it may seem as if havoc is increasing, Withington wants people to rest assured these disasters have been happening since the beginning of time. This look at current fears through the lens of past horrors reveals natural disasters and manmade destruction are as old as time. Taking a closer look at the Black Death in the 1300s, the Nazi Holocaust, train crashes, shipwrecks and more, you’ll find that hurricanes, threat of nuclear war and terrorist attacks are nothing new.
Here in northern Indiana, the threat of disaster from severe weather is not unimaginable. Snow storms and icy weather can cause destruction during the winter months, possible tornadoes during the spring and summer, and the chance of flooding at any time.
For those who want to learn more about the municipal response plans in the event of disaster or want to sign up to be a volunteer, here are some local resources:
Reading books to children at an early age gives them a jump start on learning how to read. Studies indicate it’s positive preparation for school, too.
Children’s author Mem Fox once said, “If every parent and every adult caring for a child read aloud a minimum of three stories a day to the children in their lives, we could probably wipe out illiteracy within one generation.”
With “1,000 Books by Kindergarten,” Elkhart Public Library wants to do exactly that. The early literacy initiative, part of the library’s strategic plan, encourages parents and supports children to start reading as soon as possible.
“It sends a strong message to parents that reading is important and that it can start at any age,” says Allison McLean, who leads Young People’s Services at the downtown library. “Children are never too young to be read to.”
Parents who want to make sure their children are prepared to go to school should prioritize reading aloud.
“Reading together develops vocabulary and comprehension, nurtures a love for reading, and motivates children to want to learn to read,” McLean says. “Reading aloud to children is the best way to prepare them for school and for learning how to read.”
Three-year-old Graham Steffen is in the program, a continuation of what parents Laura and Wes already were committed to doing for their two boys.
“Graham’s always liked reading,” Laura Steffen says, “but just by reading to him, he’s able to retell stories, and he’ll often incorporate the stories into when he’s pretending.”
When she finds him reading on his own, Steffen is amazed to find that what he’s saying is often close to the actual book. Every day, she and her husband read one-on-one with each of the boys.
“Reading is just part of our daily routine,” she adds, “so it’s nice that we just get to spend time with them.”
Graham has about 300 books to go in the program. Laura Steffen already is looking beyond 1,000 books, as her boys take on new opportunities with reading.
“I’m always putting books on hold that I think they’ll enjoy,” she says. “I’m just looking forward to keep on reading together.”
In Elkhart Public Library’s “1,000” program, parents and children get incentives for every 100 books read. At the finish line, children completing the program will receive two books to take home.
“Children need books of their own to have easy access to reading, and we are glad this program is one way to get those into their homes,” McLean says. “We make a big deal of their accomplishments. … I love making reading a fun and positive experience for families.”
Nearly 150 children have started on their 1,000 books, and nearly one-third have completed the first 100. Families can sign up at any of the five Elkhart Public Library locations, and for record keeping, kids color in numbered train cars as they complete each book along the way.
“I hope to see more and more families participate and continue expanding the program,” McLean says, “by taking it to partnering organizations (such as Head Start and Triple-P Parenting) to reach families who might not be coming to the library right now.”