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Robotics in Libraries

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Robotics in Libraries

Palo Alto City Library, Calif.

Education - Children & Adults | 2019 | Top Innovator

Innovation Synopsis

Palo Alto City Library is taking the lead in exploring nascent robotics technologies with a humanoid NAO robot. The library developed a regular coding workshop Robo Dojo and a regular Sunday Robot Show program to expose kids, teens and adults to robotics technologies. This program is selected as the California State Library LSTA Copycat Grant.


The general public expressed mixed feelings toward the technology advancement in the area of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). Libraries have the opportunity and responsibility to expose the public to these nascent technologies. The goal of our project is to help the public to better grasp and prepare for the future. Robotics and AI education is also an integral part of digital literacy, and it fits well with the library's mission to “inspire and nurture innovation, discovery and delight.”

Key Elements of Innovation

  1. Coding innovation. The library developed a series of awesome robotics applications. We inspire and encourage customers to develop new ones.
  2. Sharing innovation. The library developed a coding workshop toolkit. We shared the resources with libraries and the public via an open source GitHub repository.
  3. Program innovation. The library designed a set of robotics programs that serve kids and teens together with their families. The programs have created a great synergy in the community.

Achieved Outcomes

  1. From Fall 2018 to August 2019, 23 Robo Dojo workshops have been held with a total of 430 attendees. Families learn robotics, coding and collaboration.
  2. From January 2019 to August 2019, 17 walk-in Sunday Robot Shows have been held with 597 attendees.
  3. The program was awarded as the California State Library LSTA Copycat Grant in 2018, which will be continued in 2019.
  4. The library networked with other libraries. We ran a Skype Robotics workshop with Girls Who Code from Pioneer Library System.
  5. We have presented our robotics programs in three national library conferences since 2018.