Free Gaming in Libraries Course via YouTube

May 23rd, 2009

Scott Nicholson, associate professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, will be teaching a video-based course on the basics of gaming in libraries.  Every day during the month of June, participants will be able to view a new video exploring some concept of games or how libraries can integrate games into their programs. The class will cover games appropriate for all age groups in many types of library settings.

Throughout the month of June, Scott Nicholson will teach IST 600 Gaming in Libraries in three online spaces, two of which are freely available to anyone:

  • The Syracuse University YouTube channel, where video lectures and guest speakers will be posted, and where students enrolled in the class will be required to post weekly video responses.(
  • American Library Association (ALA) Connect , a social networking site for the ALA that will host the discussion of students, speakers, librarians, and other participants from the general public.(
  • The iSchool’s online learning management system, a private space for enrolled students to ask questions and submit their assignments.

Students and other participants in the class can expect to gain a solid understanding of the spectrum of types of games, know how libraries typically use games, and be able to select games for their own libraries based upon the goals of the program and the mission of the library.  They will learn how to start a gaming program, how to facilitate the activity, how to assess the program, and how to tie the assessment back to the library’s mission.

Nicholson’s biggest goal for the course, however, is to bring together students, librarians, gamers, and representatives of the gaming industry for a month-long discussion about the roles that games can play in libraries.  The course is being offered by the Syracuse iSchool to its students and students enrolled at partner schools through the Web-based Information Science Education (WISE) Consortium. The course is being funded by the Kauffman Enitiative Project at Syracuse University.

The primary Web site for the course is at .

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Gaming Census Announced!

May 13th, 2009

Ten Libraries Receive Gaming and Literacy Grants

April 28th, 2009

For Immediate Release,
April 28, 2009
Contact: Dale Lipschultz
Literacy Officer
ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services
(312) 280-3275

Ten Libraries Receive Gaming and Literacy Grants
CHICAGO – Ten libraries in 10 states from New York to Alaska will receive $5,000 grants as part of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Libraries, Literacy and Gaming initiative, funded by the Verizon Foundation.

The winners, representing a broad spectrum of libraries – seven public, two school and one academic – will use the funds to develop and implement gaming and literacy programs that provide innovative gaming experiences for youths 10-18 years of age. The 10 libraries were selected out of 390 that applied for the grant.

The following libraries were chosen:

•    Anderson Public Library, Anderson, IN
•    Brewster Ladies Library, Brewster, MA
•    Cascade Middle School, Cascade, WA
•    Henshaw Middle School Library, Anchorage School District, Anchorage, AK
•    Indian Trails Public Library, Wheeling, IL
•    Manhattanville College Library, Purchase, NY
•    San Pablo Library, San Pablo, CA
•    Sewickley Public Library, Sewickley, PA
•    Wayne Country Public Library, Goldsboro, NC
•    Weber Country Library System, Ogden, UT

“These library gaming programs will help tweens and teens build 21st-Century literacy and learning skills,” said Dale Lipschultz, literacy officer with the ALA’s Office for Literacy and Outreach Services.

The Libraries, Literacy and Gaming initiative is generously funded by the Verizon Foundation and managed by ALA’s Office for Literacy and Outreach Services. Dr. Scott Nicholson, an associate professor in the School of Information Studies, Syracuse University, is the evaluation specialist.

# # #

A little more about each of the projects…

Anderson Public Library, Anderson, IN
“Techie Tuesdays” emphasizes technology and information literacy through gaming. Held over a period of six months, the program is divided into three, six-week courses engaging students by making a video game, a board game, and a book trailer.

Brewster Ladies Library, Brewster, MA
Geocaching: YOU are the Search Engine:The library will use GPS technology to create an adventure game that requires reading, research, critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, and aligns closely with technology standards established by the International Society for Technology in Education.Geocaching, “Hi-Tech Hide and Seek,” provides the perfect blend of simplicity and complexity needed to design a successful gaming and literacy project. The library will create themed gaming events by devising a search promoting an understanding and appreciation for Brewster’s historic places and regional history and utilizing a book featured on the summer reading list (such as The Graveyard Book) as source material for a hunt could require students to do genealogical research at the library and visit a local cemetery to locate a cache.

Cascade Middle School, Cascade, WA
CMS Gaming Zone: The library’s Gaming Zone initiative will develop two afterschool programs a week, encompassing board and video game creation workshops, tournaments, developing a gaming council, hint book/cheat sheet development and more.

Henshaw Middle School Library, Anchorage School District, Anchorage, AK
Game on in Alaska!: With purchase of additional equipment, the library will make Dance Dance Revolution available to all middle schools in the district, host a lunchtime gaming group using PC games such as Spore & Civilization, offer gaming as an incentive to specific classes, host family game nights, and extend gaming year during a summer Internet Camp.

Indian Trails Public Library, Wheeling, IL
Operation Game Creation: Participants will learn about four categories of gaming from gaming experts:  computer animation games, card games, board games, and role-playing games, then work in teams to create games. Then, they will participate in a Game Fair using the Science Fair model, and compete in the Chicago Toy and Game Fair Young Inventor Challenge.

Manhattanville College Library, Purchase, NY
Student Created Games as a Tool for Academic Success: At Manhattanville College, a small liberal arts college dedicated to educating its students to become ethically and socially responsible leaders for the global community, students will design games for middle school students on how to use the library to find a book, use a general database, ask for reference help, navigate the library website, and develop a time management plan.

San Pablo Library, San Pablo, CA
Make Music at the San Pablo Library: Youth will track their participation in a variety of music-literacy
related activities via a ‘Musical Scavenger Hunt’ big game. Activities include music enrichment assemblies, creative writing workshop featuring a song writing contest, musical Jeopardy, performances by local teen musicians, music composition workshop featuring hands on experimentation with music composition software, music video games like Wii Music and Rock Band, an “Iron Musician” competition, a build your own musical instrument contest, and more.

Sewickley Public Library, Sewickley, PA
Teen Gaming Initiative: This afterschool gaming partnership with the local school districtstresses programs & projects “based on constituents interest.” Middle school youth will plan and facilitate gaming events for younger students, which will then be held at the public library. Participants will document their efforts by producing a video of the steps they followed, to be showcased at the local school and serve as a marketing device for the next program session.

Wayne Country Public Library, Goldsboro, NC
Play Me a Story: This narrative focused experience includes a variety of creative and competitive events to give the youth in the community a place of their own that caters to their interests while fulfilling their needs for intellectual growth. The current gaming program will be expanded to include an ongoing Dungeons and Dragons game wherein participants will develop back stories for their characters and create detailed synopses of the adventures they encounter, tabletop games such as Warhammer or Settlers of Catan, and created content will be made available for public viewing, a fan-fiction contest where young people will write original stories about their favorite video game characters and create stories incorporating characters they create in games, a workshop where young people create their own board game and/or concept for a video game, with emphasis on character and narrative development, LiveJournal groups dedicated to role-playing and world-building, creation and publication of machinima and a group project where several authors contribute to an ongoing narrative.

Weber Country Library System, Ogden, UT
Get Into Gaming: Move tween/teens beyond merely playing games and to immerse them in a physical, creative, visual, and written game creation process to foster artistic, literary, and media literacy. Activities include a board game modification program, classes to teach teens to develop and write game storylines and to design their own professional-grade video games, an interactive Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) program for participants to write and construct CYOA novels and have the opportunity to play a live-action CYOA game, each tween choosing his or her own path, console RPGs gaming as research, a hands-on workshop to teach teens the fundamentals of designing and building gaming PCs, podcasting workshops will teach teens to write, produce, and post podcasts featuring book and video game reviews and an interactive Alternate Reality Game that will use the real world to immerse players in a fictionalized narrative quest involving geocaching. In addition, the library will develop a collection of 50 gaming novel
s to be used in a traveling display for GIG events, complimented by bookmarks, book lists, and booktalks will be developed to market this circulating collection of novels.

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Another Grant Update!

April 22nd, 2009

I’m very excited to let you all know that 10 grant recipients have been identified by Dale Lipschultz, project manager of the ALA/Verizon grant, assisted by myself, Dr. Scott Nicholson, and our stellar expert panel! A sincere thank you goes to our generous funder, the Verizon Foundation, for proving this amazing opportunity to allow us to showcase the gaming & literacy connection.

We’ll be funding 7 public, 2 school, and 1 academic library. The libraries are in 10 different states and represent a diversity of communities.  The winners were notified by telephone and follow-up email on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. The names of the libraries and projects are embargoed until ALA releases an official press release next Tuesday, April 28, which I will be posting here.

If you are at one of the 380 libraries that did NOT receive a congratulatory phone call this week, we are so sorry to disappoint you! This was an extremely competitive grant round, and we are pleased so many people participated. There were so many wonderful applications. Choosing just ten was a very difficult choice and a complicated process. Liz Danforth provided a little insight into her own rigorous experience over on her Games, Gaming & Gamers blog, hosted by Library Journal.

I hope that completing the proposal will spur some of you to action – we’ll keep posting about grant opportunities from other sources, such as the next round of Best Buy Community Relations grants announced this week; proposals are due June 15, 2009 and Fun Again grants with a rolling application deadline and monthly winners.

In the meantime, CONGRATULATIONS to our winners — you know who you are! — I’m thrilled for you, and to be a part of this. Stay tuned!

Grant Update – Postponing our announcement until Tuesday April 21

April 16th, 2009

I know you were all hoping to hear who the winners of the ALA/Verizon Libraries, Literacy & Gaming Grants are on Monday April 20!  The expert panel has read through the top 10% of the grant applications and made recommendations to myself, consultant Dr. Scott Nicholson, and Dale Lipschultz, the project manager. We haven’t notified any winners yet, but we think we have our finalists!

We are going to have some VIPs at ALA take a look before making our final decision on Tuesday April 21, 2009. There were so many good projects, it was really difficult to choose! Thanks for your patience, everyone!

ALA Connect features community for Gaming

April 10th, 2009

GGMIG logoThe Games & Gaming Member Initiative Group (GGMIG) is just one of the many communities featured in ALA Connect, ALA’s new site for members AND non-members to create personal profiles, meet, discuss, and contribute content.

Check it out at and add your name to the GGMIG roster!

Funagain Games offers $100 gaming grants, monthly!

April 7th, 2009

Each month Funagain Games will provide a $100 grant to a school, library, or community organization, and another to a game group, to be used for any merchandise offered on the Funagain website. More information at Thanks to Kelly Czarnecki for this tip!

Gaming in Libraries podcast, April 2009

April 3rd, 2009

The Gaming in Libraries podcast is one year old!   The April 2009 episode of the Games in Libraries podcast is up.  You can get it over at

In this episode,

– Beth Gallaway presents an update on the ALA’s Verizon grant to fund libraries.

– Kelly Czarnecki interviews Rafael Chandler, author of the “The Game Writing Handbook.”

– Brian Mayer does a review of Dancing Eggs from Haba.

– Beth Gallaway talks about different ways to fund a library gaming program.
– Scott Nicholson starts a series about Library Gaming Experiences.

– Eli Neiberger talks about GT System, a service for libraries to use to manage gaming events and multi-library tournaments for 2009.

You can chat about the episode right here!

Libraries, Literacy & Gaming Grant Update!

March 31st, 2009

We knew that libraries, literacy, and gaming was a hot topic and growing hotter by minute. We were very pleased that ALA’s Verizon grant gave us the opportunity to fund 10 libraries to develop and expand  literacy and gaming programs for 10-18 year olds.

We knew the process would be competitive and that there would be many strong applicants. Even with our lofty expectations we greatly underestimated the response to the RFP. By the time the application process closed on March 20,  we had received 390 grant applications from 47 states!  315 applications were from public libraries, 69 were from school libraries, and 6 were from academic libraries.

We are determined to carefully review and seriously consider every application. That said, we are deferring the notification date by one week. Please note that funded libraries will be notified April 15 –16 and an official press release will issue the week of April 20, 2009.

Thanks so much for your commitment to literacy and gaming in libraries. Thanks for your hard work and thanks for your patience.

Library Journal Debuts Gaming Blog and Column

March 10th, 2009

Authored by Liz Danforth, librarian, gamer, author and artist, Games, Gamers and Gaming debuted this week, bringing a “deep background to understand games, gaming, and gamers, in and out of the library.” We can’t wait to read more!