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Librarian brings ideas, technology for kids

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Timothy P. Howsare Photo Children’s Librarian Claire Gutierrez holds up one of the 10 iPads she obtained through a grant for children to use at the Roswell Public Library.

Scratch coding programming language?

Most adults have no idea what this is, but there are children in Roswell as young as age 4 who are quite familiar with this computer language, which uses a simple block-like interface for youngsters to create their own apps and online projects.

A good bit of the credit for opening up this infinite window of knowledge for local kiddos should go to Claire Gutierrez, the children’s librarian at the Roswell Public Library.

Starting out as a part-time reference librarian in May 2015, Gutierrez is coming up on her third year as children’s librarian in September.

“I love the kiddos,” she said. “It’s so much fun to see their faces brighten up. The library is a fun place — not just for books. Any kind of brain stimulation is a good thing.”

Gutierrez is a graduate of Goddard High School. She studied fine arts at the University of New Mexico and has a librarian certificate through the State of New Mexico.

Her other interests include photography, drawing and painting.

In her free time, she likes to hang out at Stellar Coffee and spend time with her Chihuahua, Roo.

The name is a short form of “kangaroo.”

“He jumps just like a kangaroo,” she said.

She likes to visit the Roswell Museum and Arts Center and meeting the artists-in-residence who come to Roswell.

“I love the after parties,” she said.

In her short time at the library, Gutierrez has been successful at obtaining a number of grants, including one that helped the library purchase 10 iPads loaded with educational software.

There’s dinosaurs and other fun stuff, but along with that is a program called ScratchJr, which introduces visual programming language to children as young as 5.

But if you ask Gutierrez, there’s kids as young as 2 who already know how to use a computer.

She plans to start a monthly class called “Let’s Get Coding,” which will be an hour-long workshop to create apps.

In the spring of 2016, Gutierrez obtained a New Mexico Makerstate Initiative grant, which promotes digital literacy and excites New Mexico communities about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math).

Another one of her new projects is the Brick by Brick/littleBits Mashup program for children of all ages. During the mashups Legos and littleBits, color-coded electronic modules, are brought out for kids to enjoy.

Kids can build create their own inventions, like remote-controlled cars.

But as much as she loves new technology and teaching it to her kiddos, Gutierrez confesses she is still a good old-fashioned bookworm.

“I read all the time,” she said.

Community News reporter Timothy P. Howsare can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or vistas@rdrnews.com.