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BBC micro:bit lending at Essex Libraries

16 October 2017

Essex could soon become home to the coders, programmers and digital pioneers of the future as part of an initiative to lend pocket-sized computers to library visitors.

From 23 October, library members will be able to borrow BBC micro:bit computers free of charge.

The tiny computers, launched last year as part of the BBC Make it Digital initiative, allow people to get creative with technology, whatever their experience, and aim to build a new generation of digital pioneers.

Over the past year they were given to all Year 7 students across the UK who turned them into simple games, smart watches and even fitness trackers, by using one of the code editors at microbit.co.uk and connecting them to other devices and sensors.

Cllr Susan Barker, the cabinet member responsible for libraries, said: “Coding skills are vital for many jobs in flourishing high-tech industries, as well as being great fun for all ages to learn.

“I’m delighted that everyone in Essex is being given the chance to explore the vast potential of these computers for themselves. Along with our Makerspaces and Code Clubs, this is another example of the innovative work Essex Libraries is doing to spread digital expertise.”

To mark the launch there will be two Code Club events at:

  • Chelmsford Library, Tuesday 17 October 4-5pm
  • Rayleigh Library, Friday 20 October 4-5pm

Visitors will be able to learn how to turn them into all sorts of cool creations, from robots to musical instruments – the possibilities are endless.

The device has a lot of features, such as 25 red LED lights that can flash messages, and there are two programmable buttons that can be used to control games or pause and skip songs on a playlist.

They can also detect motion and tell you which direction you’re heading in, and use a low energy Bluetooth connection to interact with other devices and the internet.

If you have a micro:bit you can bring it along, but there will be ones available to use also. Children must be accompanied by an adult and booking is essential.

Micro:bits will be based initially at Chelmsford, Colchester, Rayleigh, Witham, Harlow, Basildon, Braintree and South Woodham Ferrers Libraries, but customers will be able to request them to pick up at any Essex library as they can with other items.