BBC micro:bits in local UK libraries for you to borrow!

Did you know you can now borrow a BBC micro:bit from hundreds of libraries around the UK?

Starter kits are free to borrow, and contain a BBC micro:bit, a mini-USB cable and a battery pack, along with some instructions to get you started … which means you can unleash your digital creativity in the comfort of your own bedroom – and get your family involved too!

The BBC micro:bit is really easy to pick up and use with little training, and can be programmed using a variety of free coding platforms on a PC, laptop or Bluetooth-enabled smartphone or tablet. And although it’s small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, it has a screen, onboard sensors and the option to add a host of exciting peripherals such as servo motors, lights, switches and all manner of sensors – and even robots.

Initially launched as part of a campaign to tackle a talent shortage within the UK’s digital sector, the BBC micro:bit is now available in over 50 countries … which means it’s well on its way to achieving the Foundation’s goal of reaching more than 100 million children worldwide.

The Library Initiative, run jointly by the Micro:bit Educational Foundation and the Kirklees Library Service, is part of the Foundation’s ambitious project to inspire a new generation of digital pioneers – supporting young people to flex their digital muscles and develop the coding skills they’ll need for so many careers in the future.

Amy Hearn, Development Librarian, Health, Learning & Digital, of Kirklees Library Service is the real BBC micro:bit hero and main force behind the initiative. She spotted the BBC micro:bit a while ago and put it on the shelves of ten libraries in her area. The Foundation saw this and teamed up with her to sponsor the scheme, providing 10 BBC micro:bits to each participating library across the UK.

More than 800 libraries now have kits on their shelves, with more getting involved every week. “Many libraries also host Code Clubs, coding workshops and other fun activities to get people excited about coding and most can also put you in touch with local micro:bit events,” said Amy. Just ask at your nearest library to find out what’s on offer or check #microbitsinlibraries on twitter.



“The scheme has proved to be a real hit,” said Philip Meitiner, International Program Manager for the Micro:bit Educational Foundation. “Though it’s been running less than a year, a phenomenal number of libraries are participating, with more signing up all the time. The BBC micro:bits are proving very popular: borrowing rates are high – as well as renewals – and lots of libraries are using them for events and workshops, to get even more children interested in coding and digital technology.”

Every registered library can apply for a set of 10 BBC micro:bits – absolutely free – so if your library isn’t in on the act yet, tell them to ask their local authority to get in touch and become a part of the sensation that’s sweeping the nation!

If you borrow a BBC micro:bit from your local library and need a bit of inspiration to get you going, there are oodles of free activities, projects and resources available:

List of participating authorities so far:

  • Barnsley
  • Blackpool
  • Bolton
  • Bradford
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Cambridgeshire
  • Cheshire East
  • Chester West and Chester
  • Cornwall
  • Coventry
  • Devon (Libraries Unlimited)
  • Doncaster
  • Dorset
  • Dudley
  • East Riding of Yorkshire
  • East Sussex
  • Essex
  • Gloucestershire
  • Halton
  • Hampshire
  • Hull
  • Inspire (Nottinghamshire)
  • Islington
  • Kent
  • Kirklees
  • Knowsley
  • Leicestershire
  • Liverpool
  • Luton
  • Medway
  • Merton
  • Newcastle
  • Norfolk
  • North Somerset
  • North Yorkshire
  • Nottingham
  • Oldham
  • Oxfordshire
  • Peterborough
  • Plymouth
  • Reading
  • Redbridge
  • Rochdale
  • Rotherham
  • Sandwell
  • Solihull
  • Somerset
  • Southend
  • Slough
  • St Helens
  • Stoke
  • Suffolk Libraries
  • Surrey
  • Telford and Wrekin
  • Trafford
  • Wakefield
  • Warwickshire
  • Wiltshire
  • Wirral
  • York

For the latest news, follow the #microbitsinlibraries on Twitter