Ignite (6829) and I just started working with the Library. It’s a 10 year plan. We have 15 branches in our county library system. We’re first rolling out FLL. Initially the Library had 1 branch that had 2 FLL teams. We launched a 2nd branch this past year, but it was rocky. We will be supplying training to the branch staff on how to run FLL and limited support since we can’t cover all 15 branches continually. But bringing in advanced techniques such as 4 bar linkages and and pid-ish stuff for line following. Work with the Lego digital designer so students get used to “cad” first. The idea is elementary and middle schools can’t support the need for FLL interest, and students can then go to the library. 50-60% of students trying to get on a FLL team are turned away in our schools. Once we get FLL working over the next couple of years, we’ll bring on FTC. Once students get to high school, they can join their school team if their school has one or they can join Ignite (we’re a community team) with us based out of a library.
I’m working with the leadership of the library and not a specific branch and I have support from some of the county commissioners. I promote FIRST as swiss army knife of tools. It can do so many things, based upon the need of the students it serves. It’s a 'increase STEM majors in college" program, it’s a “work force development” program, and it’s a ‘STEM equity’ program helping those students who didn’t make the school team find a path at the library. And all the cool toys you need to run an FRC team are all the cool toys that adults want to play with at a makerspace.
If anyone wants to work with libraries, PM me and we can setup a talk. I can go in to all the details of what we’re working on. The idea is to look at it from a point of view of “what can we do to help libraries” and not “what can they do to help you” so it can become a partnership.
Our library is AWESOME. While they don’t sponsor FRC, they are a huge part of our FLL program. As a library, they have access to funds we don’t, and were able to buy We Do sets. We administered the coaching and ran an Expo. The most wonderful part is that the sets go into circulation outside of the FLL season (Sept-Dec) so we have families learning and trying things outside of the limited person power we have.