Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center has received a Community Grant from Best Buy Foundation for $6,580.00 to be used to purchase MacBook Pro laptops, a GoPro camera, a 3-D printer, Cubelets (build-your-own modular robots) and Squishy Circuits (electronics built using play dough) to be used in programming that will enable teens in Cumberland County to expand their knowledge of and experience with technology. This supports the library’s five-year goals of support its users in connecting to and participating in the digital world and supporting lifelong creative expression.
The programming made possible with the money from this grant will enable teens to explore computer programming by learning how to code, designing games, and creating animations and express themselves through the arts by filming and editing their own movies, by electronically creating a publication featuring their own writing and their own book cover design, and by performing and recording their own music, dramas, or radio shows. Teens will discover engineering principles as they use computer-aided design software to design models to be printed using a 3-D printer and apply their knowledge of coding to the development of a website. These new-found technology skills will give teens the confidence they need to discover new career paths. Programming using this new technology has already begun in conjunction with Teen Read Week in October and is planned out through April of 2016.
With 56.9% of Cumberland County Students receiving free or reduced lunch, it can be inferred that the families of many students cannot afford technology in their homes. Through its relationship with community organizations who serve teens with disadvantages, the library will be able to reach out and help these teens bridge the technology gap.