Robots, Gadgets and Books, Oh My!

Local libraries offer our communities a range of services. Parents can bring their children to storytime. Teenagers can take part in book clubs and enjoy quiet study rooms. And there are staff who can help with anything from getting a library card to assistance with technology and even taxes. But did you know you can help with events the libraries put on? You absolutely can! 

I volunteered at the Worthington Park Library and discovered it’s a great way to help the community. Family Fun Nights at Worthington Libraries are a popular event. I helped with their “Robots and Gadgets” Program in early October. The event’s goal was to encourage kids of all ages to be comfortable using different technology. 

I arrived at the Worthington Park Library, one of the branches of Worthington Libraries, thirty minutes before the event. The youth services library associate, Laela, was in charge of showing me and two other volunteers the ropes. She explained to us the different robots and interactive learning iPads that the children could use. The iPads were a popular choice among the children who attended the event. The program that made the tablet games possible was Osmo. Osmo is an interactive tablet game that allows children to get some hands-on learning with a wide range of subjects–math, spelling, and even coding.


A base for the iPad and an Osmo reflector allow real-life game pieces to show up on the screen. When the device is set up, users can play different games, like Pizza Co., an interactive pizza shop game where users learn how to calculate money and ‘cook’ pizza!

Since there were so many different activities and robots, each of the volunteers was put in charge of a station. I opted to oversee the Sphero robots, which included a car and eight colored tiles with each of the different colors triggering a different action for the car. For example, the green tile was the starting tile, the pink tile would move the car to the left, and the purple tile would stop the car and spin it around. Kids could create patterns with the colored tiles and turn them into their own mini race track. The Sphero robots teach kids the building blocks for computer science principles and computational thinking. Playing with these robots early on can help introduce children to learn a wide range of tech skills that they may build on later in life. 

There were kids of all ages that attended the event. Some played with the Osmo iPads, Sphero robots, or the Nintendo Switches that came with Mario and Luigi robots. Even though this event took place inside the library, it was not a quiet evening! There’s a common misconception that libraries are quiet and there’s no talking allowed. In actuality, libraries are not quiet places, at least not every room. Today, libraries encourage patrons to be themselves. Read that book out loud, or stop and say hello to your neighbor or a new friend. 

The Worthington Park Library Family Fun Night encapsulated the core of what libraries are all about– community. For one fun-filled hour, kids played with cool robots and made new friends. It was so refreshing to see how important these events are for the community and the connections that you make while in the library.

The Worthington Library offers a range of events for the community each month. Events at the Worthington libraries include arts and crafts, technology-related activities, and even free English learning courses. If you want to volunteer at your local library, take part in a Family Fun Night or one of the dozen other library events, make sure to call your local library and ask how you can help!

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