Monday, May 04, 2015

Collection Development for Kids: Computer Science and Coding Books

I've worked for 3 different library systems and one thing I've noticed at all of them is that the computer science books don't check out. I actually think the problem is that libraries are collecting the wrong kind of computer science books for kids altogether. (Feel free to disagree with me on this point in the comments!) I've observed that collections tend to focus on writing emails and the basics of computer history and how a computer works (this is a monitor, etc.). Those are not books that are going to interest a lot of kids. In fact, most of our books along those lines haven't checked out in three years or so.

J nonfiction is one of my collection responsibilities at my current branch. I took a huge leap of faith that people would be interested in computer programming and ordered some titles in late summer and fall of 2014. No one had asked me for these types of books, but I am immensely pleased with the interest our patrons have shown in them. So I thought I would share some of the titles we have and their checkout stats, bearing in mind that we are the main branch of a county system and therefore have a bigger collection than many libraries would. I hope this is helpful! I've found good computer science books hard to locate and this is not everyone's area of expertise. Nearly all of these books are checked out as of this writing, so I cannot give you detailed reviews except what I can remember of the books I have looked at closely.

I'd also like to add that computer science books for kids may be a great alternative for adults who find the format or language involved in similar books with an adult-only audience intimidating or over their heads.

Adventures in Raspberry Pi by Carrie Ann Philbin (2014) 6 circs in past year.

Coding for Kids for Dummies by Camille McCue (2014) 4 circs since January.

Help Your Kids with Computer Coding by DK Publishing (2014) All public libraries should carry this book! It's really great about explaining the basics of programming concepts and it teaches beginning two languages: Scratch and Python, both are free to try. It's titled to be from a parent's perspective but I see could independent learners working through this on their own from about 10 years old and up. 6 circs since August. 

JavaScript for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming by Nick Morgan (2014) 2 circs in 2015.

Learn to Program with Scratch: A Visual Introduction to Programming with Games, Art, Science, and Math by Majed Marji (2014) More in-depth on Scratch than Help Your Kids, this is another good resource. 7 circs since July. 

Python for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming by Jason Biggs (2012) 3 circs since August.

Ruby Wizardry: An Introduction to Programming for Kids by Eric Weinstein (2015) 1 circ this year. 

Super Scratch Programming Adventures: Learn to Program by Making Cool Games by the LEAD Project (2013) In my opinion, the other Scratch books are stronger entries. 5 circs since August

And ones I have on order:
Teach Your Kids to Code: A Parent-Friendly Guide to Python Programming by Bryson Payne (May 2015)

PHP and MySQL: A Playful Introduction to Programming by Johann-Christian Hanke (September 2015)

2 comments:

YES! This is very helpful! I was just weeding in our 000's and noticing that the computer books were all on my pull list. I'm going to save this post and give these books a try!

This is incredibly helpful! Thank you! I too am weeding and am slightly horrified at the state of our 000s, but didn't want to start purchasing new books on how to write email :)