Law Librarians Learn About and Support Local Innovation

By the LLNE Service Committee

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On November 12, 2015, law librarians Nicole Dyszlewski and Raquel Ortiz stopped by the Rochambeau Library’s Girls Who Code club to deliver 10 Raspberry Pi computers that members of the Law Librarians of New England donated to the club. The club is currently made up of six girls ranging in age from twelve to fifteen who have an interest in computer science and coding.

Girls Who Code is a nationwide organization that is working to close the gender gap in technology careers and education. The national organization supports local clubs to help inspire girls to pursue computer science careers by exposing them to instruction in computer programming, web development, web design, and robotics. The one public chapter of the Girls Who Code Club in Rhode Island is held at the Rochambeau Library in Providence. Kendra Saunders from Johnson and Wales University serves as the club’s volunteer instructor.

“Prior to the donation the girls were using Dell desktop computers that were running on Windows XP, which is quite out of date” wrote Rashaa Schoolcraft, the organizer of the Rochambeau Library’s chapter. “We were looking to get a few Raspberry Pi computers but were unsure of how we would purchase them.” So when Law Librarians of New England approached Schoolcraft to ask how they could be of service, the timing could not have been better. Raspberry Pi computers are approximately the size of a credit card, plug into a computer monitor, and use a standard keyboard and mouse. The units donated by LLNE cost about $70 each and are capable of running a variety of operating systems, giving users the ability to experiment with coding and creating their own programs.

Law Librarians of New England (LLNE) is a non-profit organization for professional law librarians throughout New England. Twice a year, LLNE hosts educational meetings for its members on different topics. This year’s fall meeting, titled Successfully Supporting & Igniting Innovation, was hosted by the library at Roger Williams University School of Law and featured local innovators and businesses from Rhode Island on the panels. In conjunction with the event, the LLNE Service Committee sought to support local innovative projects and ultimately chose to raise funds for the local public Girls Who Code club.

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