Archive for June, 2008

Games and Gaming Member Interest Group Meeting, Saturday 6/27

Monday, June 30th, 2008

EDIT 7/10/08: Audio from session available!

20 people attended the games and gaming member interest group meeting Saturday at 10AM. The mission of the group is to address larger issues of games and gaming in libraries. It’s a cross platform group not intended to take the place of divisional interest or discussion groups. One of our goals is in 3 years, to be a round table: 600 member signatures are needed. Member roles may include gaming ambassadors to get info to state conferences, liasons to ALA divisions, liasons to gaming vendors/industry, people to run gaming night, market our events and programs, and more.

Games & Gaming Interest Group Members

Communication Venues for The Games & Gaming Member Interest Group:

Add your name to the member list at! ALA Community Spaces is coming, and there is a mailing list at Messages are being cross posted to the LibGaming group. Sign up at

ALA Gaming Blog

ALA Gaming Wiki

Games in Libraries Podcast

Game Lab Research Articles

The first half of the meeting was introductions and sharing. A rundown of some of the great projects from public, special, academic, school, and virtual librarians:

  • Aligning games with AASL standards http://
  • Aligning games with ACRL standards
  • Syracuse Game Lab
  • 21st century learning skills acquired in World of Warcraft
  • Second Life, Game design classes, a Game Lab, LAN and online gaming, all at Imaginon
  • Senior Center “Transforming life after 50” grant
  • Online RPG to teach info lit skills
  • Senior spaces @ old bridge library
  • Bringing in materials to support use of games in curriculum, and investigating games for info lit at UIUC @ urbana champaign
  • Game collection for circulation to university students
  • Public library gaming in 21 libraries in Columbus OH, with a tournament to utilize AADL software
  • Console based gaming @ Hennepin County Library System
  • University of CA-Davis in Second LIfe
  • Gen Con Trade Day for Educators – using games for curriculum

We gave a quick overview of proceedings at Open Gaming Night, which was only a preamble for annual 2009. Open Gaming Night and the Gaming Pavilion have been well covered by ALA press. Verizon Foundation welcomed us, and Presidential Citations for Gaming presented by Loriene Roy. (winners were Brian Myers of the Wilmette Public Library, Julie Robinson, Branch Manager of the KCPL Ruiz Library, and David Ward and Mary Laskowski at the University of Illinois Library. For next year, we hope to have better PR, better signage, and assessment of the event. The program is a development of a Best Practices Model for Gaming Night for librarians at your local library conference

Shameless plugs followed:

Upcoming Events

Now-July 15
2007 Gaming Program Survey by Library Game Lab of Syracuse

July 9-10, 2008: Games Learning & Society in Madison Wisc
video of sessions will be posted at

August 14-17 2008
GenCon – Gaming Convention in Indianapolis, IN

Nov 2-4, 2008 Games Learning and Libraries Sympoisum, Oak Brook, IL
Register soon! One thing to look forward to this year: bathroom breaks!

November 2008
CA library association preconference for technology (will include gaming)

November 15 2008
National Gaming in Libraries Day
Hasbro is donating 16,000 copies of Pictureka for simultaneous play on Saturday November 15

2009 Program Planning followed. After tossing around ideas like Legalities of Gaming, How to Run Game Night at your Local Conference, and Games You’ve Never Heard Of, we settled on Gaming Advocacy program to highlight the value of games and go over talking points, and host a poster session at open gaming night to showcase games you’ve never heard of.

Join us in Denver for our next meeting, time, date and location to be announced!

ALA Presidential Citation for Gaming Winners!

Monday, June 30th, 2008

ALA received 33 submissions in three categories for the first ever Presidential Citation for Gaming, for libraries –and librarians — of all kinds that use games and gaming as tools for learning, literacy development and community development.

All of the programs were wonderful! For all categories, applications that clearly incorporated all three elements of learning, literacy, and community development rose to the top. Additionally, we looked for applications that focused on accomplishments, rather than future events, and that stood out from other similar programs because of unique content, structure, or outcomes. Finally, the program had to be incorporate the category element it was submitted under (education, learning, innovation).

Winners were announced in Anaheim by ALA President Loriene Roy at the Open Gaming Night on Friday June 26. Details about the winning programs follow. All of the programs will be be added to the ALA Gaming Wiki very soon.

EDUCATION: Wilmette Public Library, Wilmette IL
Brian Myers
, staff member of the Wilmette Public Library has developed Game Maker Academy, a program that teaches young people how to create their own computer games. Game Maker Academy offers a multidisciplinary educational framework combining computer programming, storytelling, graphic and audio editing, animation and analytic thinking, and other disciplines. Using a variety of free and open-source computer applications, students learn to make their own platform, scrolling, tile, RPG and sports games, while developing media literacies and foundational programming skills. Since its inception, over 100 teens have participated in Game Maker Academy and the series is now being offered at area libraries and as an outreach program at Chicago’s Intel Computer Clubhouse.

RECREATION: Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, MO

Julie Robinson, Branch Manager of the KCPL Ruiz Library, created Runescape@Ruiz to forge a bond with the teens in a small urban neighborhood. During the summer of 2007, teens gathered every two weeks for Friday night lock-ins of gaming, snacks, teamwork and problem solving. For entry to all-night lock-ins gamers must produce report cards with solid grades or win reading contests. The popularity of these events has gathered lively diverse teens who proudly declare ownership of their library. Teens diligently police themselves and peers to preserve their lock-in privileges. Appreciative parents have also joined the fun, when teens permit.

INNOVATION: The University of Illinois Library, Urbana, IL
David Ward
and Mary Laskowski at the The University of Illinois Library have developed a combination of public and classroom support programs to investigate best practices for integrating games as teaching tools into academic curricula. Their “Gaming Initiative” supports innovative teaching and research partnerships both within the academic community, and between campus and the gaming industry. Learning outcomes include: students analyzing how culture and technology affect societal growth using Civilization IV on reserve and in a library gaming lab; and students discussing and comparing the role of music in gaming through a program featuring campus researchers and local game company Volition.

Thanks to everyone who submitted, and congratulations to the winners!


Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Someone left a blue leather diary at the Beyond Game Tournaments session at 8AM in the Marriott this morning – get in touch with me if it’s yours! informationgoddess29 AT gmail DOT com

Gaming in Libraries in the News

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Board game night went over big at the Paola (KS) Free Library, with over 60 attendees enjoying snacks and board games like Twister, Uno, Chutes and Ladders, even poker.

Games for training and learning tools were highlighted at the Special Libraries Association Conference. A roundup of the conference was published in the Washington Post; Elizabeth Lane Lawley, the director of the Lab for Social Computing at the Rochester Institute of Technology, said game developers are a lot like librarians as they classify, disseminate and determine how knowledge is found. Interesting!

Westerville (OH) Public Library gets a Wii game system at last – they’ve been gaming for 2 years. Library spokesperson Linda Wilkins says, “Since (the) introduction of gaming in the library, we’ve seen a 22 percent increase in teenagers getting library cards and a similar increase of 23 percent in the circulation of young adult books and magazines. (Teens) come to play, sign up for a library card, and wind up staying to study or using their new card to check out materials.”

Racine (WI) Public Library is hosting game days for ages 55 & up, featuring Wii Sports, Wii Play and Guitar Hero. “Now you’ll have a chance to [try videogames] in a non-threatening and stress-free atmosphere,” writes Jill Lininger on the library’s blog.

Peters Township (PA) Library is already doing this, with teen volunteers to offer assistance as needed. Participants are quoted in the local newspaper, the Observer-Reporter, as saying that playing Wii Bowling is social, competitive, and good exercise!

Last but not least, this column aimed at parents published in the Bennington Banner from Wesley Knapp, superintendent of the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union. counts board games, videogames (but not GTA) and going to the library this summer amongst  activities that help students maintain skills.

Gaming in Libraries in the News

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

Gaming Nite in the Malpass Library was covered by the Western Illinois University campus newspaper, The Western Courier in this article, “The library isn’t just for books anymore.” “It’s a good thing to have gaming in the library because it brings people to the building,” said Dr. Jeffrey Darensbourg, Marketing and Outreach Librarian at Malpass.

The Westfield (IN) Washington Public Library has been awarded an LSTA grant to purchase a Wii and games for multigenerational gaming.

Librarian Mr. Raroo makes a compelling case for circulating videogames on his blog.

The new teen area at the North Gloucester Branch of the Ottawa Public Library (Canada) hosts a Wii. “The whole idea of the library is that it’s more than a place to see books … it’s a community space, a meeting place…” says Lori Nash, President of the Friends of the Library.

New Jersey’s Bordentown Branch library offers a Wii Bowling Event for seniors.

Laconia NH library director Randy Brough is honored by his local paper for creating a renaissance at the LPL, that includes a 3 million dollar renovation, audiobooks, and Guitar Hero. Says Brough, “[Libraries are] maybe a little noisier than before,”  and that’s a function of the fact that a library has increasingly become “more of a community center, I think.”

If you missed Library Journal’s webcast on serving teens, it’s still available! The final speaker is Scott Nicholson, who talks about playing games vs. creating a gaming experience, discusses research on gaming in libraries, and mentions a couple of gaming resources and ALA events.

In other gaming-related news…

Game sales for Jan-May 2008 were 6.58 BILLION; it’s anticipated games sales will top 21-23 billion in the US in 2008.  With the high price of gas, people appear to be spending money on home entertainment, like games, instead, writes John Gaudiosi for Guitar Hero 3 is still outselling Rock Band almost 2:1, and althought GTA IV was the top selling game in May, Mario Kart for the Wii was a close second.

The free trial of Electronic Art’s Spore Creature Creator is now available for Mac or Windows platform!

Nintendo has added two new titles to the WiiWare Library, Cocoto Fishing Master and Block Breaker Deluxe.

Gamer dad Torrence Davis demonstrates Scott Nicholson’s point about the games are not as important as the gaming experience. For a graduation party for his son, he offered a videogame tournament of retro games like Midways Atari Classics, Street Fighter III Second Impact, Ikaruga(DC) Super Puzzle Fighter HD,  Sega Rally Revo, and more, on original PSOne, Dreamcast and Sega consoles. This translates well to a library setting. Kids can have just as good a time playing old school classics – having the newest thing isn’t as important as you might think.

Speaking of new games, both Harmonix (Guitar Hero) and Konami (DDR) will be releasing games that feature drumpads. Guitar Hero 4 and Rock Revolution are both due out this fall.

Seriously, what's the deal with serious games?

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

The Serious Games Initiative is coming into it’s own, and getting some notice from librarians. Serious games focus on education, training, health, and public policy, so they are educational in nature and may be easier to justify in some libraries. One type of serious games are games for change; titles that have a “change the world” or social justice slant to them.

Jenny Levine attended the Serious Games conference at the beginning of the month, and blogged it over at The Shifted Librarian — look for entries from June 3 & 4.

Jennifer Borse provides some serious games resources over at Tidbits of Interest.

Kelly Czarnecki talked a little about serious games in the thrid episode of the Games in Libraries Podcast.

The following may be good games to link to from your library website, or, games to build programs around. Of course, no media should be consumed in a vacuum, and playing serious games and then talking about them is fast, cheap and easy program that may lead to citizen activism, volunteer projects, fundraising and more.

Darfur is Dying
An advocacy tool to raise awareness for conflict in Darfur. The goal is to take on the role of a water forager, get water back to your refugee camp, and keep the camp functioning in the face of possible attack by the Janjaweed militia.

AYIT: The Cost of Life
Designed by kids, this simulation of life in impoverished Haiti challenges players to balance education, money and happiness. Pick a goal and lead a family of five over four years.

Free Rice
Getting correct answers not only builds your vocabulary, but earns grains of rice (20 for each correct answer). Approximately 20,000 grains of rice provide enough caloric intake to sustain an adult for one day. In exchange for advertisements on the website, various sponsors donate the money necessary to pay for the rice and other costs to run FreeRice. There are no facts about world hunger integrated into the game play; players are directed to

Get Your Game on at ALA!

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Wow, there are almost enough activities for a whole gaming TRACK at ALA! Sessions and Events are listed on the ALA Conference Wiki; here’s what I added to my Event Planner:

I love starting conference with a low-key social event, and here’s a free one! On Friday June 27 from 7:30-10:30pm, ALA hosts Open Gaming Night sponsored by the Verizon Foundation at the Hilton Anaheim – Disneyland Hotel. Games include Rock Band, Dance Dance Revolution, Boom Blox, Mario Kart Wii, and Wii Sports. Free food, and prizes for high scores, this is going to be a hot spot. I wonder if they’ll have board games too.

Saturday June 28 marks the start of the Big Game, California Dreaming. I’ve read Steinbeck, visited a dozen different towns in CA through my work with Infopeople, and listened to the Beach Boys, but I’m notoriously bad at trivia. I might have poor recall, but my Google Fu is pretty good. Hopefully, it will come in handy for California Dreaming.  It’s like a conference-wide scavenger hunt to test your information-seeking skills and problem solving abilities, with clues to decipher dropping from sessions, events, exhibitors… Maybe I better hook up with a team, instead of going it alone. I hear prizes will be awarded, from Cartoon Network, Electronic Arts & more!After the Exhibit Hall opens  at 9:00am on Saturday morning, I’ll be making a beeline for the new  Games Pavilion. This pavilion will group gaming industry suppliers in one specific area of the exhibit floor making it convenient for attendees to find your products and services for your library. The Games Pavilion will feature board games, electronic platform companies, furniture, and electronic games that can be used for curriculum-based teaching and recreation.

The first gaming program session is hosted by LAMA, on Saturday from 8:00-10:00am. At Are You in the Game? Harnessing Millenial Learning Strategies to Market (LAMA PRMS) at the Disneyland Hotel in Disneyland Center Ballroom, millennial learning strategies in terms of gaming and Second Life will be discussed by speakers who have worked with these technologies at Arizona State University and Fresno County Public Library. Participants will work on a sample idea in break-out groups. Hands-on is ALWAYS a good strategy for gamers!

Maybe there will be Big Game clues at the Games and Gaming Member Initiative Group (MIG) Meeting! It runs from 10:00am-noon on Saturday at the Sheraton Park Hotel Anaheim, Plaza A/B.

After lunch, I’m co-chairing the YALSA Teen Gaming Interest Group Meeting at the Disneyland Hotel, North Exhibit Hall, Meeting Room F from 1:30pm-3:30pm. A new convener of the group will be elected during this meeting by a show of hands vote. If you are interested, please attend; if you are not able to attend, but are interested, please email Beth Gallaway or Kelly Czarnecki and let us know and we will add your name to be voted on at the meeting. Review convener responsibilities and recommended meeting guidelines first! Anyone that shows up at the meeting, is a YALSA member, and supports the mission of the group, is eligible to be a convener. Other agenda topics include creating a publication for YALSA, sharing best practices and resources.

I’ll be up bright and early on Sunday for a panel discussion sponsored by the YALSA Teen Gaming Interest Group on  Beyond Video Game Tournaments. That’s at the Anaheim Marriott, Salon E from 8:00-10:00am. we know; it’s EARLY. By if you arrive by 8:15am, you can get a  door prize entry slip to win either a copy of Multimedia Fusion, a copy of animation software (either Toon Boom Studio or Flip Boom or a t-shir. (Thanks to Youth Digital Arts CyberSchool for donating!). At the session, you’ll discover best practices beyond gaming tournaments in such programs as avatar creation, character worksheets, video game clubs, machinima contests, Cosplay and more. Elizabeth Saxton, Cleveland Public Library; Craig Davis, Youth Digital Arts CyberSchool and Amy McNally, Ridgedale Library, Minnetonka, MN, with teens Karina Grimaldi and Brigit Boler, share their successes in delivering high quality engaging programs that go beyond game play to spark creativity and broader types of participation. The second half of the program consists of a breakout session to try program activities and exercises yourself. There will be door prizes available of the following software.
This is an ambitious program! If you are an early riser and would like to pass out/collect the slips for the door prizes please show up at the panel presentation at 8am and let us know! OR,  If you are going to attend the session and want to contribute a non-gaming activity to run in the second half or donate use of your laptop for game testing, please let Beth Gallaway or Kelly Czarnecki know.

My next session is right at the same hotel, the Anaheim Marriott! After lunch, I’m going to the ALSC gaming session, Hey! I Want to Do that, too!: Gaming and the Elementary Age Child from 1:30-3:30 pm at the . Children are excited to play electronic and online games. What’s available and appropriate for children in second to fifth grade? With a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, Warren Buckleitner, editor of Children’s Technology Review, will share his knowledge of child development and emerging technology products, followed by a discussion of electronic game collection development, age-appropriate online games, and implementation of gaming in your library/media center.

On Monday June 30 from 8:00am- Noon, ACRL is sponsoring a FOUR HOUR SESSION on “Next Media.” One Part Inspiration: Creative Trends that Further Science Learning takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center in 201 D. Social and cultural changes resulting from new technology continue to have an exciting impact on libraries as well as the scientific community. Why do some ventures into cyberspace find an immediate and extensive audience, and how can we apply their playful aspects to encourage learning? This program will combine a theoretical look at phenomena such as gaming and Web 2.0 with the whimsical viewpoint of those who are actually creating and applying the “Next Media.”

Can’t make it to the events? I’ll be covering most of them right here on this blog, with links to session presentations as speakers make them available. Stay tuned, and to those of you who will be competing, at Open Gaming Night, the Big Game, or in the Gaming Pavilion – good luck!

Last Call for GLLS08 Proposals!

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

This MONDAY June 15th marks the deadline for proposals for the Gaming, Learning & Libraries Symposium in Oak Brook (a Chicago suburb), IL from November 2-4, 2008.

Topics of particular interest include game design, the gaming industry, accessibility, and assessment and evaluation of gaming programs. The Call for Presenters on the ALA TechSource wiki has details, or you can complete a form on Zoho Creator.

Good luck!

Games in Libraries Episode 3!

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Listen up at

In the wake of this week’s Games for Change conference in NYC, Kelly Czarnecki talks about the Serious Games initiative, especially in terms of partnerships with libraries like NYPL, and a recent post on the ACRL blog by Michelle Boule. Check out Immune Attack, or the 3-D modeling software, Maya.

Jason Puckett reviews the Wii version of Lego Star Wars, touching on the gameplay aspects and applauding the humor and attention to detail of the fun series based on Lucus’s films. Lego Indiana Jones came out Tuesday June 3.

What’s the deal with game ratings? Beth Gallaway provides an overview of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board process and ratings.

In the school library segment, Chris Harris explains how librarians in his district align AASL’s educational standards with games and recommends Settlers of Catan and Puerto Rico, in particular.

Eli Neiburger delivers a WiiWare Roundup concerning content that can be downloaded from the Wii Shop Channel directly to your Wii console. Titles mentioned include:

Wondering if a gaming program at the library constitutes public performance? Scott Nicholson discusses the hot topic of the week, Public Performance of Games in Libraries and the precedent setting 1996 case of ALLEN v. ACADEMIC GAMES LEAGUE OF AMERICA 89 F.3d 614 (9th Cir. 1996).

Jenny Levine gives an ALA update that incorporates information about ALA Gaming Blog, the ALA Gaming Resources Wiki and ALA’s I Love Libraries initiative, then names of the Gaming, Learning & Libraries Sympoisum’s keynote speakers, and information about gaming events at ALA-Anaheim. This year will features a Gaming Pavilion in the exhibit hall, a Gaming Member Interest Group (MIG) meetup, and a Gaming Night (Friday June 27 from 7:30-10:30 at the Hilton).

What did you think of episode 3? We’d love to hear your comments!

Want to contribute to Games in Libraries podcast? We’d love to hear about your gaming stories–successes AND flops!–as well as game reviews and other topics. Send MP3 files 5-10 minutes in length to Scott Nicholson.

Librarian Guild forms in World of Warcraft on Kirin Tor server

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Inspired by a presentation on gaming at the Cape Cod and Islands Library Association meeting, WoWer Conàn formed “The Librarian,” which means members are running around with “The Librarian” hanging over their heads as they complete quests. In just a matter of weeks, the Librarian is up to 75 members and has a Guild Bank with 4 tabs, “Just like in real life,” writes Conan, “The Librarian is all about community, sharing, learning, and fun!” Further details, including Roster, Schedule of Events, and News, are on The Librarian guild webpage.

The main purpose of the Guild is to build community, not power level other players. The guildmaster states, “We don’t want to have too many rules. At the end of the day, it’s just a game.” In an effort to be drama free, only one rule stands: be civil. A brief etiquette for instances (group questing in dungeons) guide is provided, with commonsense guidelines like, “don’t pick ‘need’ if you don’t really need it.” The rules conclude with, “In the words of Nancy Pearl, it’s not all about you.”

A party for all Guild Members and interested Recruits takes place this in World of Warcraft this Saturday, June 6, beginning at 10AM Server Time. Location? The Stormwind Royal Library of course! If you are new to the game, the Royal Library is located in Stormwind Keep in the Northeast corner of city at the approximate coordinates are 74, 20. Head to the Keep, take the first left, then a right, a left, and another right. Prizes and fun are to be had; GM Conàn encourages this as not just a meet & great, but an opportunity to swap crafted items, too.

New to World of Warcraft? A free download of the software is often available from Blizzard’s website. You can also borrow install disks from a friend, download the updates and use a trial code from a buddy’s prepaid access card to get your own 10-day free trial. A WoW subcription costs about $.50 a day. Prepaid cards can be purchased from gamestores, or you can use a credit card online.