Photo courtesy of the WBRPL

The library’s summer reading program theme this year is A Universe of Stories. The theme is centered around Space because this is the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, who were part of the U.S. mission, were the first men to walk on the moon. Landing men on the moon was a huge engineering project that involved hundreds of thousands of people performing a variety of jobs. Many of the tasks carried out on space mis-sions involved robotics.Robots are good in space exploration because they can do things that humans can’t, such as withstand-ing harsh conditions like extreme temperatures and high levels of radiation.

Robots operate off instructions, specific sets of things that they are programmed to do. To ac-complish a specific task, a robot needs a series of instructions called an algorithm which is coded into a program that it can run. To explore the importance of robotics, West Baton Rouge Library staff visited camps around the parish. Students at summer camps worked in teams with library staff to write beginning codes to tell their robot team mates what to do.

Using six symbols, the program-ming teams coded instructions for stacking cups in a variety of formations. The student robots were sent to the Robot Library where they waited until they were retrieved to run the program. The team watched for “bugs” in the program or robot malfunction. When necessary, the robots were sent back to the Robot Library while the team debugged their code and then tried again with the “robot reboot.”

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