Category Archives: Gaming & Gamers in Libraries

On Gaming in Libraries: Levine Steps Up

As I posted a few days ago, I am eagerly awaiting Jenny Levine’s Library Technology Report on Gaming in Libraries. Until then, read her insightful post “How Do we Measure gaming…”:

Or do we somehow try to measure participation, like we do for the summer reading program or the teen advisory committee? Is there a way to equate the literacy of the number of books a kid reads in the reading program versus the literacy a kid needs to advance playing a video game? We don’t measure the actual literacy of the kids participating in the summer reading program, just the numbers. We just hope the readers are reading and learning. Does starting with Dance Dance Revolution show the obvious physical benefits of gaming, allowing us to move the discussion to the mental and learning benefits of gaming?

In the end, though, whatever numbers we use, they blow away whatever else we’re doing for teens. And for twenty- and thirty-somethings, too. For those libraries that run family game nights, true or false: your attendance numbers for these events rival or better your storytime numbers?

Gaming Resources at UIUC

Gaming Resources at UIUC

From Joy, one of my summer session students, comes this link:

Great resource for those interested in gaming in libraries and the News area has an RSS feed. Personally, I am eagerly awaiting the October release of Jenny Levine’s Library Technology Report “Gaming and Libraries: Intersection of Services.” Jenny’s take on gaming in libraries is most insightful and I believe her future view is most clear. Be ready folks, for more and more gaming in libraries.

Carvers Bay (SC) Branch Library: Gaming the Way to Literacy

Fascinating article at WJ about Carvers Bay library and their gaming program — take a look for inspiration!

Located next to the middle and high schools, the library is physically convenient for the Carvers Bay teens, but director Dwight McInvaill knows that it takes more than proximity to get the kids through the doors. Gaming is the key. The library has extended its hours until 7 PM most nights to accommodate the students’ schedules. However, McInvaill intends for the new library to have an impact on the low literacy and high dropout rates, so he’s applying a few rules to the video game lure, linking reading with gaming. In the spirit of the game, kids can aspire to different levels of accomplishment.

The gaming consoles are filled to capacity. The library extended its weekday hours until 8 PM in order to accommodate the teens’ school schedules. Photo by staff member Beverly Smith.
Level one: Any individual can use the games for two hours/week (“Just enough to whet the appetite” says McInvaill.)

Level two: Extra gaming time is earned by joining the Gaming Club.

Joining requires:
a current library card
good standing (no serious misbehavior)
a commitment to checking out four items/month, two of which must be books
Level three: Once in the Club, points are accumulated to be eligible for additional gaming time, group gaming parties, special prizes (headphones, memory units, gift certificates), or use of the conference room with the 46″ TV.

Points are earned by doing at least one of the following:
writing book reports
attending an after-school program
participating in a youth service organization
embracing other positive, self-improvement activities

Gaming Gospel

Blyberg writes about gaming at AADL (and Eli!):

AADL’s Gaming initiative “is one of those programs that I still shake my head at in disbelief, because it has been such a staggering success born out of such unorthodox ideas. If you’re looking for evidence that the role of today’s libraries is changing, look no further.

That’s what we need more of, folks, unorthodox ideas in the library. The return on this investment? It’s precious:

And that’s what draws in the kids. They come in knowing that they are going to be part of something big. These tournaments are their opportunity to shine in a venue that validates them and gives their interests legitimacy. I think Eli says it best, “If you don’t offer them something that has value to them now, you’re going to be irrelevant to them for the rest of their lives. It’s not a risk we can afford to take.”


In the grand tradition of Abram-isms:

“We need to stop thinking we are Information Priests and Priestesses…”

“If you wrap something up in the mantle of training, you’re going to turn them off..give them short cuts instead…”

“Nobody ever died of bad cataloging…”

“We need to get over the fact that libraries are not the first place people go for information and never have been…we need to be something else.”

On change in Libraries: “We need to appeal to different learning styles…”

“IM is the way people are communicating today..we need to use it.”

“Bring Digital Natives into your planning process (even if they don’t have an MLS)…”

“Let’s try things…”