In one way or another librarians play a crucial role in cultivating world-class research. And in most disciplinary areas today world-class research relies on the use of software. Software Carpentry offers introductory software skills training with a focus on the needs and requirements of research scientists. Library Carpentry offers comparable introductory software training with a focus on the needs and requirements of the library professionals.

This exploratory programme of four three-hour introductory sessions is held at City University London between 1730 and 2030 on Monday the 9th, 16th, 23th, and 30th of November 2015 and hosted by the Centre for Information Science. Around 50 participants from nine institutions have expressed interest in attending, most of whom will come as part of a group. Please note: Library Carpentry has been super popular and is now full! Hopefully we’ll get to run it again sometime…

The planned ‘syllabus’ for each session derives from existing, openly licensed training materials. These include materials created for Software Carpentry, the British Library’s internal Digital Scholarship Training Programme, and the Programming Historian. Sessions are designed to be practical and after some introductions and follow-my-leader tutorials primarily involve participants working in groups from worksheets at their own pace. Session leaders and helpers will be on hand to troubleshoot.

Library Carpentry is an introductory software skills programme, meaning that no knowledge of programming or the principles of programming are required. If you know more about the one or more of the topics we plan to cover, you are of course still welcome to join us. At the beginning of each session you will be asked to self-identify as knowing ‘Nothing’, ‘A Little’, ‘Lots’, or ‘Lots and Lots’ about the topic at hand and to proudly wear a badge signifying your confidence level. This will help us build a rich and collaborative learning environment that benefits all participants.

The programme is subject to change depending on how we get along, what you want, and what you need. It is anticipated, however, that it will take the following form:

Week One: Basics

Week Two: Shell

Week Three: Versioning

Week Four: Open Refine


Do I need to bring a laptop to Library Carpentry?

What software will I need?

What’s the wifi password?

If your institution is part of the eduroam network you shouldn’t need to make any changes to get online at Library Carpentry. Otherwise, guest wifi will be available to participants.

Who will lead the sessions and help me out?

Can I just come to a few sessions?

Do I have to stay for the whole three hours?

Is this an official Software Carpentry event?

You say that ‘lessons learned will feed back intro the work of Software Carpentry’, so will you be collecting information about me?

Will food and drink be provided?

Can Library Carpentry pay for my travel expenses?

Who funds Library Carpentry?

Who coordinates Library Carpentry?

By James Baker