The Abington Township Public Library (ATPL) has launched micro:bits, a new technology item available for borrowing. For ages 10 and up, a micro:bit is a pocket-size programmable micro-controller, enabling young people to get creative with technology through coding, computer hardware, and electronic circuits. Featuring motion detection, a built-in compass, LED display, and Bluetooth technology, the micro:bit can be programmed to create games, robots, and more. Hook up other devices, sensors, and objects to experiment with electronic circuits.
While some US public libraries are incorporating micro:bits into library STEM programming, ATPL is at the forefront of lending micro:bits for in-home use. There are two kinds of kits available to borrow: basic or advanced. Programs will be provided throughout the year to help young people create fun coding projects with the micro:bit. These kits are a new addition to other non-traditional items available for borrowing, such as Kindle Paperwhite e-readers, museum/cultural passes, and Wi-Fi Hotspots.
With a valid library card, patrons can borrow a micro:bit kit for one week, with a one-week renewal. Patrons will need an Internet connected computer to use the micro:bit. A borrowing agreement must be signed by an adult (age 18 and up). Access more information about ATPL’s micro:bit kits.
The micro:bit was created in 2015 by the BBC in the United Kingdom and is supported by the Micro:bit Educational Foundation. After giving away up to 1 million free micro:bits to students in the UK, a BBC impact study from 2017 found that:
• 90% of students agree that BBC micro:bit helped to show them that anyone can code.
• 88% of students agree that BBC micro:bit helped them to see that coding isn’t as difficult as they thought it was.
• 45% of students said they would definitely do ICT/Computer Science as a subject option in the future, up from 36% before they used BBC micro:bit. This was even more accentuated for girls, increasing from 23% before they used BBC micro:bit to 39% afterwards, a 70% increase.
Abington Township Public Library is a suburban public library in Montgomery County, PA, serving a population of over 55,000. In the past year, 303,368 visitors borrowed books, DVDs, and other library items; attended one of 3,000+ programs; learned technology and literacy skills; and used computers and Wi-Fi Internet.
Young Adult/Reference Librarian
Abington Township Public Library