The newest member of the team at the Guerneville Regional Library hangs out in the manager’s office most of the time, never needs a coffee break, came here from France and is only 22.6 inches tall.
The team member is named Nao (pronounced “now”) and is a learning tool created by Aldebran Robotics, a French robotics company.
The library received a $10,000 grant from the California State Library to purchase and use the robot in the library to teach coding and computational thinking, as well as collaboration and problem-solving skills.
Nao is working with teens as part of the library’s CoderDojo program, which launched earlier this year and is open to kids ages 8 to 17.
Nao can be programmed using several programming languages, including C++ and Python. The kids write computer code commands that tell the robot to move, dance, pick up things and talk (he speaks 19 human languages).
Guerneville teen librarian Melissa Carroll said Nao has been a popular addition to their coding program.
“The kids love it!” she said. “They think it’s really cool, and I think they understand how to use it more than any of the adults.”
“Actually some of the adults are kinda creeped out by it, but the kids are not creeped out by it at all,” she said. “It’s an interesting generational difference.”
The library staff are also working on other ways to incorporate the robot into learning activities, including in their upcoming summer reading program.
In the future, Carroll said, Nao may travel around to other Sonoma County libraries to help with their coding classes, but for the foreseeable future Nao will live at the Guerneville library.
Name that robot
Nao is the robot’s original name, but Carroll said that the library will be launching a naming contest on Facebook in the next couple of weeks so the robot can have an appropriate local moniker.
CoderDojo happens at the Guerneville Library every Tuesday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at 14107 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville.