Plan for Robotics at The Library

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service

Surprised by amount of excitement among teens at the Williamson Road Branch library after buying one inexpensive robotic kit for an impromptu program has led to the desire to establish a robotics program at the library.  Following the example of the Arapahoe County Library District in Colorado, we would like to purchase several robotics kits that teens can program (Hood, 2014).  Creating spaces for teens to participate, collaborate, and program robots prepares them for careers of the future.  I was excited at how engaged the teens were taking pictures of the robot as it moved and was working. They were all crowded around it coming up with ideas on how to improve the program and build the robot into a different configuration. Stephen (2011, mentions how today’s society is engaged with technology and participatory in nature. I have noticed in the library the teens are often creating snap chats, music videos and interacting with each other. Programming the robot engages them in participatory learning.

By implementing a robotics program at the Williamson Road Branch Library in Roanoke, Virginia, we will be inspiring the teens to think creatively, solve problems and collaborate together. Often, when the teens are left unengaged, they find divisive activities to participate in. This program will channel the energy of the teens into something positive. By implementing a robotics program with middle school students, we can foster the positive and also prevent negative behaviors. We will teach the middle school students tangible tech skills. Create a sense of belonging and community among the kids.  

Description of Community you wish to engage

We have a large population of middle school students that come to the Williamson Road Branch Library after school. They are kids between the ages of 7-13. We are working to provide a safe environment and create engaging programs for the kids during the afterschool hours.

Action Brief Statements

For library Administrators and Library Foundation

Convince stakeholders that by buying robotics kits they will inspire youth to learn new skills which will impact and influence the future lives of youth because they need positive experiences that will enrich their future and prepare them to be successful adults.

For Patrons (Students)

Convince middle school students that participating in the robotics program they will have fun and learn new skills which will impact and influence their future because they need to expand their knowledge base which will enrich their future and prepare them to be successful adults.

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service

 The library director will determine the feasibility of the robotics program. She will present to the board the details of the program and establish the policies. The mission of program is to provide innovative after school programming to the Breckinridge Middle School students served by the Williamson Road Branch Library. The policies linked to the robotic technology purchased will be comprehensive. The robotic equipment will remain at the Williamson Branch and will not be checked out. A minimum of two robotic sets will be purchased so that there can be two groups of teens working simultaneously.

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service

 There are many funding considerations necessary to implement this robotics program. The amount of funding secured will determine the number of robotics kits purchased and the scope of the program. Ideally this program will be funded with a 10,000 grant from Louise Lester Foundation. The 10,000 grant will allow for the purchase of several robotics kits for the middle school students. If the technology is purchased through a grant, the library will allocate the staff needed to facilitate the program. The staff for the program will come through the youth services department. They will come to the branch weekly and facilitate the program. The salary for one staff member will be approximately 44,000 plus benefits.

Action Steps & Timeline

The project must be approved by the library director. She must examine the budgets, goals and mission of the project to determine if it is feasible. Once she approves the project, the library grant writing team must write the grant for the program and submit it to the Louise Lester Foundation and perhaps some other agencies. If the library receives the grant, youth services can determine what robotic items to purchase. This approval process and grant writing process will take approximately six months. If the grant is not approved, other funding sources must be considered. Perhaps asking the foundation for funds may be another method to begin purchasing the robotics kits. Purchasing the kits will take a few weeks. Once the kits come in, youth services will bring the program to the Williamson Road Branch Library once a week.

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service

The staff will come from youth services. They have a team of five people. They will assign one of their team members to the Williamson Road Branch and they will facilitate the program once a week when the Breckenridge Middle School students are released from school. From 3:30-5:00 they will lead the robotics program.

Training for this Technology or Service

Ideally, a youth services person will be trained on the robotics equipment and someone from the branch will be trained as well. In case the staff from youth services is unable to lead the program,  a staff member from the branch should be trained as well, so they can facilitate the program.

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service

The library’s communication coordinator will create flyers and add the program to the library event guided called the Spot. The branch will display the flyers on their tv screens and provide patrons with the information at the branch site. The communication coordinator will also post the event information on Facebook and Twitter. Advertising is not critical; there are about 60 middle school students that come to the library afterschool. We will probably have too many participants for the program.

Evaluation (What benchmarks and performance metrics will you use to evaluate the technology or service.  What stories are you envisioning telling about it? How might you expand the service in the future?)

We will calculate the number of students who participated in the program, as well as, utilize Survey Monkey to get feedback from the students regarding the success of the program and see if there are areas where we can approve for the next year. At the end of the school year we will complete an evaluative study to determine whether to continue the robotics program.

References 

Hood, G. (2014). Five ways Colorado libraries are going beyond books. Retrieved from 5 Ways Colorado Libraries Are Going Beyond Books.

Stephens, M. (2011). Scanning the horizon. In The Heart of Librarianship, page 37

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