'Robots for Everyone' – a first for Australian Public Libraries

NAO robot at Noosa Library

Noosa Library Service has become the first Australian public library to recruit a ‘NAO’ (pronounced ‘now') humanoid robot, which they have named ‘Dewey’. The fully-programmable robot’s mission is to provide fun and practical robotics and computer programming training for adults and young people. ‘Dewey’ assists the Noosa Library Service by presenting robotic demonstrations, programming workshops, cyber safety eSmart messages, storytelling and special appearances at all 3 branches of the Library Service. 

The library’s program, 'Robots for Everyone’, introduces the community to robots in a fun-filled, non-threatening environment; hopefully enticing people into further STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) related learning. “Coding has been described as a necessary language for the 21st century and a key skill for future economic success in digitally driven communities,” says Library Collections and Services Coordinator Tracey King.  “Robots for Everyone participants will learn these new skills, and then use them to bring the robot to life.” ‘Dewey’ also travels into the community, making guest appearances at schools, organisations and events ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to see 21st century robotics and learn coding.

The future of robotics at Noosa Library Service will see the creation of a Robot Club, which will provide a meeting space for like-minded people to connect and engage with innovative robotics technology.  The Noosa Library Service intend to provide training on how to operate Dewey, to organisations who work with specific groups such as children on the autism spectrum and older people with dementia. This will provide an opportunity for them to explore how ‘Dewey’ can be used to help bridge communication and learning challenges.

The 'Robots for Everyone' project has been extremely popular, with the first two workshops booking out within 48 hours and the positive response from the community continuing to grow. Dewey's key attraction is his ability to help people learn firsthand about the present day rise of robotics, whilst being so cute and appealing. Dewey the NAO robot is the latest, most high-tech and popular community and learning resource that Noosa Library Service offers.

Dewy was purchased with the help of a $18K grant through the State Library of Queensland's Technology Trendsetters 2015 funding program. 

To learn about more about the ‘Robots for Everyone’ program please contact Noosa Library Service: http://www.libraries.noosa.qld.gov.au/contact