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It’s a bird, it’s a plane…

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Actually, it’s a robot! Or, rather, two robots! The Wellesley Free Library is excited to announce the arrival of two NAO Robots. However, a proper introduction requires proper names, and that’s where the library needs your help.

From August 4 through September 9, the library is asking residents to suggest names for these two humanoid newcomers. Entry submissions can be made online at #nametherobots or by stopping at the circulation desk in the Main, Hills Branch or Fells Branch Libraries. The winning names will be announced at a celebration on September 17 in the Wakelin Room, when the robots will be officially introduced to the public.

Even without names, the robots have been maintaining a busy schedule getting acquainted with the Wellesley community by visiting businesses, schools, and sponsors of the WFL Foundation Gala. Residents can watch what they are up to online by following @wellesleylib on Facebook, WellesleyLib on Twitter and wellesleylibrary on Instagram.

NAO are programmable humanoid robots used in STEM education and designed to teach computer coding. Their user-friendly demeanor encourages curiosity and a healthy passion for figuring out “how,” “why,” and “what if.” Users of all ages and skill levels can put concepts into action using Choregraphe, an easy to learn “drop and drag” software application that allows anyone to create complex multi-step behaviors without writing a single line of code.

The library will begin offering robot programs and classes in September. Not interested in coding? No worries—the library will also host scheduled Demo Days where patrons will have an opportunity to interact with the robots, see them dance, or listen to them read a book in any one of the 19 languages they speak. Future outreach and learning activities with the robots will train teachers to use a special software package that allow the robots to engage children with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) and autism.

The acquisition of the NAO robots was made possible through a grant from the Wellesley Free Library Foundation. Guests at the last Foundation Gala, held on March 31 at the Wellesley Country Club, “raised their hands” for robots in a general appeal that netted nearly $30,000 to fund the purchase. It is this type of ongoing, private philanthropy that enables the library to continue its support of initiatives such as the English as a Second Language program, technology training classes, operation of the branch libraries, and now the NAO robots.

Remember, naming the robots is all up to you! Enter the naming contest and save the date for the celebration on September 17.

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