Northern Tier Library offers block parties, robotics kits

The Northern Tier Library proves that there is more than books to browse. It offers free open sessions with hundreds of wooden blocks to build anything and miniature robots to program.

The library which serves approximately 26,633 patrons in Pine and Richland Townships offers free block parties and access to robotics kits to expand educational and social opportunities for its visitors.

Neighborhood parties are aimed at all ages and take place in one of the library’s meeting rooms. The first one took place in early January and the next one is scheduled for February 2 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

“It’s an open play time for kids and their families to play with construction and manipulation toys,” said Jessica Federkeil, public relations manager for the library.

With winter, it’s nice to have opportunities to play indoors, said Janina Kvedaras, Youth Services Librarian at Northern Tier. “Families have this free option where they can engage with other families who are in the same situation as them.”

The block party features a large collection of wooden blocks in different shapes, which are larger than the typical children’s building block set. The set includes figures of people and animals as well as other construction products. “There are so many ways to approach this kind of game,” Kvedaras said.

“When kids have an unstructured environment, you allow them to develop or explore at their own pace,” she said. “When they are exploring with other children, they have a way of communicating by working together.”

The block party concept and materials have been part of a program offered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Libraries since 2015. Northern Tier joined the program before the pandemic but was only able to roll it out this year.

Another new program offered to youth and adults this year is “Robotics and Coding Club” on January 24 from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm This is another initiative offered by Commonwealth Libraries with Robotics Kits and other devices available to customers. on site during special open sessions.

The Coding Club offers an increased understanding of robotics with hands-on programming and coding experience, Federkeil said.

The availability of robotics kits for on-site play is a special opportunity for all customers. “The kits are a great way to spend an evening with the family,” Kvedaras said.

“We have robots and other toys that can be coded or programmed to do a variety of things,” she said. “You can learn to code while playing. It’s a great introduction to coding for kids, ”she added. Staff will be on hand to help and answer questions about the robotics kits.

Masks are required for children’s events and library programs. However, adult guests who have just visited are requested to wear masks but are not required.

Mary Ann Thomas is a writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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