Since its founding in 1876, during the U.S. Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, the American Library Association (ALA) has been on the forefront of advocacy for equal access to information and opportunity.
Throughout the 1900s, the ALA fought censorship and segregation, with an emphasis on intellectual freedom, social responsibility, and outreach to underserved populations. The ALA’s inclusive and forward thinking focus has continued into the 21st Century, with a commitment to expanding computer literacy for purposes of empowering youth to succeed in a tech-driven economy.
Recently, the ALA Ready to Code site, which was largely funded by a grant from Google, has taken the ALA's advocacy for tech literacy to the next level.
Libraries Ready to Code grew out of a conviction that helping youth to become comfortable with Computational Thinking is key to the mission of libraries in the digital age.
The Libraries Ready to Code website required an organized collection of educational assets and an inviting and visually appealing learning path that engaged both youth and librarians with varying degrees of tech know-how. The site was designed to help librarians of all comfort levels to facilitate programs and broaden perspectives around Computational Thinking for youth.
Resources on the Drupal 8 site are aligned with the ALA’s emphasis on inclusivity. Engaging exercises are targeted toward ages that range from preschool to early teen years, and the intention is to help librarians reach children as young as possible -- before stereotypes concerning who could or should pursue technology careers begin to take hold.
In addition to the UX and UI design of the site, Promet designers also developed branding for ALA Ready to Code site which prominently features a new logo and identity for the initiative.
Once the site went live, the response exceeded expectations on every front. The primary objective was for librarians to embrace the site and actively introduce youth to all that Ready to Code has to offer. That objective was boosted by a steady stream of awards. Key among them is the American Association of School Librarians’ 2019 Best Websites for Teaching & Learning. Since this award is very much on the radar of librarians, it has added validity to the site and accelerate its adoption. Following this recognition, the site received three additional awards: the 25th Annual Communicator Award of Distinction for User Experience and General Education, as well as a 2019 W3 Award.