Category Archives: Gaming & Gamers in Libraries

Want your own Mii & Wii? Read On!


Jenny Levine and I are joining forces to run a fundraiser for good ole LISHost.

Jenny just posted about it at TSL:

If you’re a regular online, you probably know or know of Blake Carver. Even if you’ve never met him, you know his work. He’s been running and maintaining the incredible LISNews hub since 1999. This contribution alone is why many of us admire him for his dedication and vision.

In 2002, Blake started LISHost, an affordable website hosting service for libraries and libraries. On the very rare occasion the LISHost server goes down, you can tell something’s amiss because half the known LIS world must house their sites there. I do, as does Michael Stephens, and we can both tell you from first-hand experience that Blake does a superhuman job of maintaining the server (especially security) and providing technical support.

I can’t think of a time when Blake hasn’t responded immediately when there was a problem, when he said no to a request to add software just for me, or when he didn’t come up with a creative solution to a problem no one else would have wanted to deal with. And for all of his hard work (truly, the man must not sleep), he charges next to nothing for the services you get.

So to thank him for all of his efforts, both on our behalf and for the profession, Michael and I are raffling off a Nintendo Wii to help show our appreciation in the form of a fundraiser. Please note that neither LISHost nor LISNews is in financial trouble, and this is not a call to “save” them. This is simply a way for us to acknowledge Blake’s efforts and thank him for everything he does.

So here’s how it works. Everyone who donates $10 or more to LISHost by 11:59 p.m. on March 14, 2008, will be eligible to win the Wii. We’ll pull a name out of the digital hat, so-to-speak, and send you the Wii if you’re the lucky winner. To enter/donate, click on the button below. Your donation is your entry, as we’ll have a full list of names from Paypal.

I can’t begin to tell you, TTW readers, how helpful Blake has been getting this blog ported into WordPress — and he worked with me on it during the Holidays! If you’ve enjoyed the blogs and sites that LISHost serves, please consider a donation.




Gaming in Libraries: Jenny Levine Speaks at Dominican GSLIS

GSLIS speaker series attendees

Originally uploaded by The Shifted Librarian


As part of the Emerging Library Leaders series, Jenny Levine spoke to a group of students, faculty and staff last Monday night. I was thrilled to be there and hear her full length Gaming in Libraries talk. The students — many gamers themselves – had some great questions. I am tickled that Jenny got to speak at our school.

Her presentation is here:

http://theshiftedlibrarian.com/presentations/2008/20080204DominicanGaming.pdf

Link Hotness

Greetings! I’m embedded at the Panera Bread at the corner of State Street and Congress Parkway in downtown Chicago, waiting for my first class of the semester to begin. LIS701: Introduction to Library and Information Science will be Wednesday nights inside the Harold Washington Library Center of the Chicago Public Library. I am really looking forward to starting with a new group of MLIS students.

While embedded, I’m updating my course Web sites with some wonderful recent links. I thought I’d share them here as well for any TTW readers who might be designing their own courses, enhancing a Learning 2.0 course, or reading up on some of the topics we visit here. These, to me, are some hot links:

Quick Guide to Second Life for Librarians: http://oedb.org/blogs/ilibrarian/2007/a-quick-guide-to-second-life-for-librarians/

Hey, Isn’t That… : (fascinating little article about photos used without folks’ permission..) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/08/AR2008010804626_pf.html

Sarah Houghton-Jan’s Top Tech Trends: http://librarianinblack.typepad.com/librarianinblack/2008/01/sarah-houghton.html

What’s Playing at the Library: (Gaming at the library) http://www.philly.com/dailynews/opinion/20080111_Whats_playing_at_the_library_.html

Infinite Touch Points: (Great post about touch points in Web 2.0 and beyond) http://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/2008/01/infinite-touch.html 

Socializing Around Games

After our discussion Monday night in lass of Beck and Wade’s “Got Game,” it was nice to see this at The Shifted Librarian:

I think the social interactions and socialization that takes place around gaming are often overlooked as being something less valuable than when it happens around books. This is one of the reasons that (as with anything) you can’t truly understand the benefits of video games in libraries if you’ve never played them. It’s why I encourage regional organizations (like state libraries and consortia) to purchase a console in order for their member librarians to experience this. It’s difficult to have an informed discussion without the experiential learning aspect. It’s like deciding if a library should offer a book discussion without ever having read a book. Not everyone has to do this, but the folks involved in the discussion should be familiar with the subject, and they can learn from playing the same way seniors at the Old Bridge PL will learn.

Read the whole post here: http://theshiftedlibrarian.com/archives/2007/11/28/still-more-reasons-to-offer-gaming-in-libraries-and-the-value-of-play.html

LIS768: Gaming & Learning

Last night was our “Gaming in Libraries” session in my Library 2.0 course. We read some articles, discussed gaming programs in local libraries, and had some time for open play. Who knew that in library school you might get to do DDR? :-)

Thanks to the LIS768’ers who brought gaming consoles, handhelds and the like – and to those who showed others how to play various games.

Some folks explored Second Life as well, whiles others had a blast from the past with a rousing game of Asteroids. Thanks to Ruth for shooting the video. Photos to follow.

Gaming & Libraries Symposium Audio

Do not miss sampling the incredible audio from the presentations and panels from the Gaming Symposium. jenny has put loads of content up at:

http://www.techsource.ala.org/blog/Gaming+and+Libraries+Symposium/

The image is the evening teen panel moderated by Stephen Abram, where Jenny noted: “Our favorite quote from one of the teens when he talked about using .gov sites versus wikipedia: “who are you going to trust – the government or the people?””

Gaming?? In an Academic Library? Oh YES!

http://librariansmatter.com/blog/2007/07/31/gaming-in-my-academic-library/

Like many academic libraries, our library has just remodelled two floors to make a Learning Common. It is aimed at capitalising on the building as a social space – a place that creates a community of learners and provides a venue for students to hang out and (hopefully) do some self directed learning. We are opening part of it 24/7 and have soft drink vending machines, junkfood vending machines, comfy couches, a coffee shop…

Is a gaming space really so far from that continuum? During mid semester break, we have PC labs that stand empty. Would a leisure reading collection also fit in somewhere? I’ll bet our DVD collection isn’t borrowed primarily for scholarly reasons. Would it be just too hard to justify to funders who want academic libraries to be only about research? Would our funders laugh and ask when we were going to install the laudromat, the minibar and the exercise benches?

People who know how to game know a lot about human/computer interfaces. They have an intuitive understanding of how to quickly read and understand a screen. Problem solving, creative thinking, and even teamwork in MMPOGs are developed via gaming.

Great post from Kathryn Greenhill. Glad to see posts like this and the discussions at the Gaming Symposium. Kathryn concludes her post with a mention of engagement and offering a place for students to take a break from their studies. Those are great reasons to explore gaming in the academic library setting.

Library Books versus Gaming

A blog post describing a teacher’s personal reservations about allowing students certain types of technology use, on a blog site that promotes technology and libraries may seem paradoxical, but here it goes. By the way, my name is Michael Westfall and I’m a media information specialist in a Chicago public elementary school and a Dominican University LIS graduate student. A big thank you to Michael Stephens for allowing me to get my voice out there. So here is my issue: I don’t like kids playing games on the computers in my library because I feel it is at the expense of the reading of books.

I’m not anti-computer, a killjoy, or a raving modern-day Luddite. I will admit to a little technophobia, but I really do enjoy working with my students on computers. We’re very fortunate to have a fully functional computer lab within our school library, and this year we’ve learned to make Power Point presentations in fifth and sixth grades, used clip art and word art in documents starting in third grade, and have begun typing in first grade. This type of engaged time on a computer is different for me than playing games because working in Power Point, Word, and Excel produces tangible products, something I can view, enjoy, and assess. The tangible product doesn’t exist after playing a game. In the give-and-take spirit that pervades modern day teaching, I have begun to allow game playing as a reward in the last few minutes of library time. I don’t force kids to check out books, but encourage it as strongly as I can. But frequently those books still sit there, ignored and untouched (especially by those in fifth grade and up), waiting for the attention I so strongly feel they deserve.

At heart I am a book person. It’s why I chose to leave general classroom teaching and become my school’s librarian. I’ve worked hard to find and add to the collection books that kids request or show an interest in, and I have been heartened by the reactions of many students to this throughout the year. But beneath my game racism – my gamecism – is a fear. What frightens me is that many of my students have significant difficulty reading and comprehending text online, whether it’s a Wikipedia entry, an advertisement, or even detailed directions for a game. Many of them just don’t seem to get that to use the internet you have to read. To me, this is life skills reading that in importance resides alongside being able to read street signs, food labels, and directions for how to assemble furniture from IKEA or Target. I believe my personal conflict raises a serious question: how to fully use limited school library time on two very different activities – building reading comprehension skills through engagement with books, or fostering the strategizing, problem-solving, and collaborative skills that gaming is supposed to aide in developing.