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GLLS2007: “Eli is the Coolest”

That would be Michelle again, keeping up the Twit feed about Eli Neiburger‘s Sunday afternoon GSSL2007 presentation, The Payoff: Up Close and Personal. Unfortunately, I lost battery power before the end of this presentation. I gave it my best.

Gaming fits in with our library mission statements, but what’s in it for us?

Ann Arbor Library District puts out 50 gaming events a year.

  • Equipment is a large up-front cost, but can be borrowed if necessary
  • Major expenses
    • Hardware >> biggest expense ($5,000)
    • Software
    • Food
    • Prizes
    • Promotions
  • Initial cost-per-player can be high ($35/player), but goes down considerably over time (as low as $5/player)
  • Total cost for program of 30-50 players can be $150 including prizes, food, promotions.
  • Gamers could be a larger percentage of our library users than recreational readers. If not now, then in the near future.

Entertainment Software Association statistics

  • Average gamer is 33 years old
  • 69% of US heads of households report playing video games
  • 31% are under 18; 44% are 18-49; 25% are 50+

Teen gamers

  • “If you have a knitting program, it’s not because the people need socks.”
  • People want to have fun at the library
  • Get the right game into the library and the teens will pour in the door and not leave

Senior gamers

  • Wii opens gaming to a new market of seniors
    • Bowling leagues
    • Triggers muscle memory
    • They can do it!

Certain games have a very narrow, but intense, appeal
Other games (such as Wii Sports) appeal to a larger, diverse audience

Conversations Through Content

  • Library staff delivers content (storytime) to primary audience (kids) and secondary audience (parents standing around room)
  • Kids socialize with each other, parents socialize with kids and each other
  • We make a social event out of a piece of content that would normally be consumed individually
  • Conversations about video games attract users who would not normally come in to the library to talk about books.

And then… the laptop battery died. For more about Eli’s presentation, see D.W. Free’s blogsite, David’s Random Stuff.


22 July 2007 Posted by | gaming in libraries, glls2007, learning | Leave a comment

GLLS2007: Scott Nicholson: “He is Very Funny”

…said Michelle via Twitter about Scott Nicholson‘s very entertaining Gaming, Learning, and Libraries keynote on The State of Gaming in Libraries.

The Library Game Lab at Syracuse exists to explore “the intersection of gaming and libraries

  • Goal of Library Game Lab…
    • Ludology: the study of games and play
    • Is focused on recreational games in libraries (vs. in educational settings)
    • Uses science to understand phenomena
  • How does the LGL see gaming?
    • It’s bigger than we think
    • Lacks basic research, best practices, and basic questions


#1: Understanding the State of Gaming, a survey of public libraries (see Nicholson’s white paper, The Role of Gaming in Libraries…)

  • 77% of libraries surveyed support gaming
  • 43% run gaming programs
    • types of gaming programs: board, traditional, console, physical, summer reading, card, computer, roleplaying, other
  • 20% circulate games
    • types of games circulated: Board/card, PC games, puzzles, console games
  • 82% allow gaming on public computers

#2: Gaming Census (not yet available in print)

  • Goal of the study: to collect information about every gaming program run in libraries from 2006
    • school, special, public
    • urban, rural, suburban
    • small, medium, large
  • Basic questions
    • what was done
    • goals
    • outcomes
  • Game circulation statistics
    • PC Games — 64.2%
    • Console games — 33.6%
    • Board/card games — 27.9%
    • Handheld games — 6.4%
  • Users served by gaming in libraries
    • Total gaming programs reported for 2006: 3,473
    • Unique programs described: 179
    • Average program frequency: 20
    • Average participation: 33
    • Total program participation: 90,812
    • 56,639 unique users
  • Aspects of gaming programs
    • Educational 10%
    • Competitive 50%
  • Activities from gaming programs
    • Console games
    • Analog games
    • Computer games
  • Why do libraries organize gaming programs?
    • Source of entertainment for community members
    • Provide additional service for active users
    • Attract under served group of users to library
    • Increase library role as community hub
    • Recognize cultural significance of gaming
    • Introduce users to other library services
    • Etc.
  • Single most important goal
    • Attract under served users, bring in new people
    • Increase libraries role as community hub
    • Provide service for active library users
    • Provide source of entertainment
  • Outcomes
    • Reputation of library improved with participants
    • Users attended the gaming program and returned to the library another time for non-gaming services
    • Users attended the event with friend and improved their social connections with those friends
    • Users attended the gaming program and also used other library services while there
    • Users improved their social connections with other previously unknown members of the community
    • Additional publicity for library
    • Users request more participatory services
    • Users improved skills/knowledge
    • Users request new and changed services
    • Users develop assets to help them become involved with library
    • Library developed community partnerships
    • Users attended gaming program but not return to library

In summary…

  • More than 90,000 users are involved with gaming
  • Half of programs are competitive
  • Entertainment is important, but not primary goal
  • Gaming programs improve reputation of library, encourage use of other services, improve social relations

What’s next?

  • Further analysis of data
  • Funding
  • Repeat random sample for other library types
  • Repeat census in 2008

Other projects

  • Classification of games
  • Games for the public good
  • Library Game Lab Nexus
    • Online portal to connect librarians, researchers, students, gaming industry, library vendors,
    • Will be individual-focused to include representatives of organizations and people who do not represent organizations

Are games appropriate?

  • Some aspects are appropriate, others are better served by private interests
  • Requires more research
  • If games are appropriate…
    • What’s the best way to do it?
    • How do we know if it’s working?
    • How do we improve?

Preparing the future: IST600: Gaming for Libraries

  • 3-credit graduate course @ SU iSchool
  • Meeting 3 weekends in Syracuse, then online
    • Role of games in society
    • Experience variety of games
    • Match games to users
    • Marketing programs

22 July 2007 Posted by | gaming in libraries, glls2007, learning | Leave a comment

GLLS2007: “Henry Jenkins is a Very Smart Man…”

So went the Twit posted by Dave from the back of the room at today’s Gaming, Learning, and Libraries opening session. Jenkins presented What Libraries Need to Know About Games, Media Literacy, and Participatory Culture

Participatory Culture is…

  • Low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement
    • Strong support for creating and sharing with others
    • Some kind of informal mentorship
    • Members feel that their contributions matter
    • Some degree of social connection between members
  • Is not a culture created just by kids
    • Adults and kids learn from each other
    • Is fundamentally different from the structure of schools

The Harry Potter experience is a form of “participatory culture”

  • Readers have been waiting years for the end of the series
  • Anti-HP spoilers disclose the end of the story
  • Pirates in Russia released unauthorized translations of Deathly Hallows before its release

Check out the white paper that Jenkins wrote for the MacArthur Foundation, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century.

Also check out MIT’s Games to Teach Project and iCue, a blog/game designed to help students connect with issues in the news. iCue is supported by NBC and top news journalists and is scheduled for debut in time for the 2007 school year.

Gaming is about thinking what play means as an alternative system of learning. It is NOT simply about turning the library over to gaming.

More than half of all American teens–and 57 percent of teens who use the internet–could be considered media creators.

  • 33 percent of teens share what they create online with others
  • 22 percent have their own home pages
  • 19 percent blog and 19 percent remix content they found online

The “Participation Gap”

  • Is not just a “digital divide”
  • Is about kids who have 24/7 broadband access, mobile connections, etc. — the ones that are “always connected” – and those who have limited access to and time on the computer
  • Most kids have access to networking computers through home or libraries
  • Librarians must also consider how to help young users with ethical issues of the Internet

What do students need to know to participate in networked culture?

  • Traditional print literacy
  • Research skills
  • Technical skills
  • Media literacy

Competencies for participation in the online environment:

  • PLAY: capacity to experiment with surroundings as a form of problem solving
  • SIMULATION: ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real work processes
  • PERFORMANCE: ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery
  • APPROPRIATION: ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content
  • MULTITASKING: ability to scan one’s environment and shift focus onto salient details on an ad hoc basis
  • DISTRUBUTED COGNITION: ability to interact meaningfully with tools which expand our mental capacities
  • COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE: ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others towards a common goal
  • JUDGMENT: ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources
  • TRANSMEDIA NAVIGATION: ability to deal with the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities (books, TV, movies, etc.)
  • NETWORKING: ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information
  • NEGOTIATION: ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative sets of norms

Participation in the online environment is about diversity. We must learn about and value diverse perspectives and teach them to our youth.

As librarians, we must see ourselves as information facilitators and coaches rather than simply managers of books. We must consider our roles in different ways and help young users not only with what is physically present in the library, but also with what is available across networks. We can use our natural role as information service providers to help kids bridge the gaps in online networked culture.

Homeschoolers are early adopters of technology and are socially networked. The library can become a hub for these users.

(Jenkins trivia: Despite his passion for the medium, Jenkins admits he is not a good gamer. His favorite game is Tetris.)

22 July 2007 Posted by | gaming in libraries, glls2007, learning | Leave a comment

GLLS2007: We Got Game!

Me and Jenn by D.W. FreeI just returned from a healthy 15-mile bike ride to kickstart my day. Now if I could just get myself dressed and fed, then I’ll be headed to the 1:00pm opening of the ALA TechSource Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium here in Chicago. I’ve transferred my Mii into my Wii-mote for tonight’s open gaming doubles tennis match with Jenn. I practiced yesterday and found that I have a mean serve (although I’m much better at baseball). I was signed up for the DDR tournament, but Eli Neiburger’s conference record scared me off and I went running like a girl to the GH2 co-op tourney instead. I’ve never even met Eli, but he’s a legend in the library gaming community and he has a tattoo.

OK. Here I go. More later…


Made it! Now read what it’s all about…

…and follow the symposium in pictures, too, through the flickrpics shared by several GLLS2007 attendees.

22 July 2007 Posted by | conferences, gaming in libraries, glls2007, learning | 1 Comment

iTunes U podcasts

I was browsing the iTunes online store for free goodies and found the new iTunes U, a.k.a., “The Campus that Never Sleeps.” iTunes U is packed with free college- and university-authored audio and video podcasts from that can be played on any PC, Mac, or iPod. You get to iTunes U through the iTunes software, which is also free and PC friendly.

iTunes U currently lists 16 participating universities including ASU, Duke, MIT, Stanford, Texas A&M, and UC Berkeley. The storefront features ‘cast subscriptions for ASU’s Introduction to Exercise Science & Wellness, Stanford’s Geography of World Cultures, Penn State’s Research Unplugged, and Lit2Go: Audio Files for K-12 from USF’s College of Education. There’s even an audio/video course in Elementary Greek from Concordia University, complete with pronunciation help.

I downloaded one audio- and one videocast to check the file format. Audio is encoded in MP3. This is a good thing, as users don’t need an “iPod” to listen on the go… any MP3 player will do. The videocast is MPEG-4, which also plays well with other portable devices that support video.

iTunes U is definitely worth a look, a download, and a link at the reference desk (if your network manager is willing to install iTunes, of course).

I couldn’t find any shirts or mugs, though. Bummer… I’d really like a t-shirt!

4 June 2007 Posted by | innovation, internet, learning, web resources | Leave a comment