high-schoolers: technology in the library

letting high-schoolers know that Libraries offer creative, dynamic, and rewarding technology careers

2 min, 370 words

In late September I saw an announcement about a computer science talk which referred to an acronym I wasn’t familiar with: CS4RI. A bit of googling led to the organization 'CS4RI: Computer Science for Rhode Island'. Its website included a link to their 'CS4RI Summit 2016', which stated as a goal: "The CS4RI Summit aims to inspire the next generation of computer scientists, entrepreneurs, and engaged tech sector employees… let’s excite students with the many educational and career opportunities that result from studying CS…"

Our Digital Technologes department is a vibrant place to work. We combine focused productivity with a culture of learning about new technologies and practices. And Libraries at our peer institutions are also known to be terrific places to work.

It occurred to me that while CS middle and high-school students would suspect that robotics or game-design organizations could be interesting places to work — they’d very likely never think that Libraries could be worth considering. A few of us set out to remedy that; we reserved an exhibit-table at the CS4RI Summit held at the University of Rhode Island on December 14, 2016.

It was a wonderful event. All sorts of interesting tech companies and organizations exhibited for some 1,500 students. At our exhibit, we talked about how Amazon and Google set the bar for making things easy to find, and easy to get — and how Libraries have worked hard to improve the discoverability and accessibility of our services. We shared that we’ve hired and are continuing to hire people with computer-science and other technology backgrounds. We noted that our Digital Technologies team gets to partner with researchers working on all sorts of interesting issues and technologies. And we let students know we work with, and contribute to, open-source technologies so that our work benefits not only our users, but a much wider community of learners.

A few hundreds of middle and high-schoolers now have some awareness that Libraries are worth considering for working with technology in a variety of creative, dynamic, and rewarding ways.

(For making this possible and successful, thanks to Bruce Boucek, Hector Correa, Jean Rainwater, Kerri Hicks, Patrick Rashleigh, and Shashi Mishra.)