Celebrate Scratch Day, May 16, 2009!

On Saturday May 16, 2009, MIT is sponsoring Scratch Day! Various organizations will be hosting Scratch events across the globe, and libraries have been especially invited to participate. The Scratch Team recognizes the important role libraries play in informal (and formal) learning and appreciates the technological infrastructure that our buildings support. Register and get more information at the official Scratch Day website at http://day.scratch.mit.edu/.

Scratch is a free software tool that allows anyone to create animation, interactive stories, computer game projects and more. It was designed and developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Lab at MIT, and has a strong international community of followers. The Scratch website has hundreds of thousands of projects uploaded, any of which can be downloaded, remixed and uploaded. The site has  discussion forums and lots of support for novice users.

Libraries have started to use Scratch as the basis for technology programming for youth. In the Minneapolis area, Hennepin County Library has been using it for almost three years with much success; Hennepin County Library is implementing an IMLS Nation of Leaders Demonstration grant that brings the project to a set of five national partners. Now, libraries around the globe have an opportunity  to become involved in the Scratch-in-Libraries movement!  Scratch isn’t just for youth – Hennepin County Library has had success with Scratch with adults as well as with children as young as eight years old.

If you are interested in participating in Scratch Day, here are your next steps:

  • Create an account on the Scratch Day site, to get updated information from the Scratch Day Team. The site will include resources for developing programs.
  • If you use Facebook, join the group Scratch On as another way to stay in touch with the project.
  • Email Jennifer R. Nelson if you’re interested and would like to be on her distribution list.  The IMLS Project Team plans to develop a couple of lesson plans that can guide your program/workshop.
  • Start working with your IT department to get Scratch installed on your computer and those in your computer lab.  Open up Scratch and get a feel for it; visit the Scratch website and look at some of the projects and galleries.