Group pic of the librarians and children from the Code Club Kircauldy Library in Fife.

Public libraries across Scotland have launched innovative new Code Clubs to inspire the next generation of coding experts. Aimed at 9-11-year-olds, the Code Clubs give young people the opportunity to learn a wide variety of digital skills in a fun environment.

Libraries throughout Scotland will host regular Code Clubs where children can learn how to create digital games, build animations and even develop websites. With activities being group based, they will also have the chance to boost their self-esteem and develop communication skills – improving their employability.

SLIC Training

The Scottish Library and Information Council trained over 140 librarians in basic coding skills to make the pioneering Code Clubs possible. Working in partnership with the UK-wide charity Code Club, SLIC delivered a series of one-day digital training events during the first few months of 2017.

Gillian Daly, SLIC Head of Policy and Projects, explained: “Public libraries in Scotland are a place where people can access technology and learn how to use it. Digital technology touches every aspect of our lives and digital literacy is vital to tackle inequality and social exclusion and promote self-improvement.

“Code Clubs are a fun and engaging way for young people to learn new skills. Most young people these days know how to work a smartphone better than any adult, but we still need to equip them with the right skills and knowledge for their future as technology and computing specialisms become embedded into our careers.”

Digital Xtra Funding

SLIC was awarded £47,000 in funding from Scotland's Digital Xrtra Fund to deliver the Code Clubs across Scottish public library services. The fund provides grant support to organisations delivering extracurricular computing and digital activities to young people aged 16 and under across Scotland. It has been developed and funded by the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership whose partners include the Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland and tech trade body ScotlandIS.

Phil Worms, Computing and Schools Project lead at ScotlandIS, added: “The Digital Xtra Fund aims to make a real and lasting impact in the provision of extracurricular computing science-related activities for young people aged 16 years and under across the whole of Scotland. We have a range of amazing activities and projects being delivered across Scotland to encourage young people to participate and engage in computing activities, thus developing skills which will be vital for them to thrive in their future careers.

“Working with organisations like SLIC means we are delivering scalability, sustainability and innovation meaning even more young people have access to these fantastic opportunities.”

Code Club Benefits

Coding is becoming increasingly popular with young people, who enjoy the creativity associated with programming. Establishing Code Clubs in Scotland’s public libraries not only encourages new skills, it also promotes social wellbeing.

Lorna Gibson, Scotland Coordinator from Code Club said: “The benefits of coding are far broader than just developing important digital skills. At a Code Club children are problem solving, collaborating, persevering and creating, all whilst having fun designing games and animations. We want to see a Code Club in every community, so that all children can have the opportunity to make and share their ideas using technology.”

Visit our Code Clubs page to find out more about this ground-breaking project.