The Raspberry Pi

For the first half of September’s Tinker Group meeting, we talked about the Raspberry Pi—the $35 microcomputer that runs on Linux and is changing the way that we think about tinkering with technology.

Originally created to help kids explore the ins and outs of computer programming, the Raspberry Pi can be an amazing tool to introduce to your patrons.  At Skokie Public Library, we created a pop-up pi-powered computer lab for tech programs such as a coding club for girls. And at Arlington Heights Memorial Library, we held a teen program where we created a responsive installation called the Raspberry Pi-ano (which was based of off this stair piano).

Building the Pi-ano
Pi-ano waiting to be played

The bare bones Pi requires some extra hardware and set up to get started, but that’s half the fun of having one.  Just download the aptly named NOOBS operating system onto an SD card, grab an old mouse and keyboard, plug it into your TV screen, and give it some power.  Then you’ll have a working computer that you don’t need to worry about breaking—what a gem for tinkerers like us!

Ready to try the Pi yourself? You can purchase one here from Adafruit. Also, make sure to check out our presentation below which outlines steps for getting started with your Raspberry Pi, programming ideas, and resources for learning about and purchasing for the Pi.

Let us know what you come up with!

Shauna Masura, Skokie Public Library
Alice Son, Arlington Heights Memorial Library


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