Finch Robots Land at CPL

finch robot
Source: Majaohalo, Wikimedia Commons

Chicago Public Library is partnering with Google Chicago to provide hands-on computer programming Finch Robots. Thanks to Google's donation of 500 Finch Robots, anyone with an adult Chicago Public Library card can now check out one of the state-of-the-art robots in order to learn the basics of computer coding, helping to meet Mayor Emanuel's goal of providing STEM education for Chicagoans of all ages.

Continuing to promote innovation and creativity throughout Chicago's neighborhoods, CPL is the first library in the nation to lend out Finch Robots, which were invented by the Carnegie Mellon University Create Lab as a user-friendly introduction to computer science learning and the art of programming. They support more than a dozen of the most commonly used computer languages and environments, including several appropriate for students as young as 8 years old.

As users learn the basic concepts of coding, they are able to program the robot to do various functions, such as move, make noises, light up and even draw. Users simply hook the device to their home computer or laptop and download various instructional tutorials from finchrobot.com.

The robots are housed at six CPL locations: Austin-Irving Branch, Back of the Yards Branch, Harold Washington Library Center-YOUmedia, Sulzer Regional Library, Woodson Regional Library and Wrightwood-Ashburn Branch. Any adult patron can place them on hold; simply request the robot be delivered to the CPL location of your choice. You can check out one Finch Robot or a pack of five, making it easy for teachers or community groups to check out multiple devices to teach larger groups.