Archive for February, 2009

Ten "Libraries, Literacy and Gaming" Grants Announced

Monday, February 23rd, 2009


For Immediate Release

Contact: Steve Zalusky

Manager of Communications, ALA Public Information Office

(312) 280-1546
Ten Libraries, Literacy and Gaming Grants announced

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) Office for Literacy and Outreach Services is seeking applications from public, school and academic libraries interested in developing and implementing innovative literacy gaming services for youth ages 10-18.

This program is part of ALA’s Libraries, Literacy and Gaming initiative funded by Verizon.

Ten $5,000.00 grants will be awarded to libraries clearly demonstrating creativity, capacity, sustainability and a strong commitment to literacy-related gaming services. In addition, the winning libraries will receive ongoing support and technical assistance from a team of nationally recognized library gaming experts. Winners will be announced during National Library Week April 12-18, 2009. The grant application is available online at . All applications must be submitted by 11:59 pm, Friday, March 20.

“There is no doubt that gaming and literacy go hand-in-hand. Board and video games come with text of all kinds including instructions, menus and much more. Learning the language and mechanics of any game, from chess to Little Big Planet, involves acquiring a new vocabulary and a new set of 21st century literacy skills,” said Dale Lipschultz, Literacy Officer, Office for Literacy and Outreach Services.

Gaming is one example of how libraries continue to change to meet the needs of their communities and users, offering innovative programs and services that educate, entertain and expand interaction with their patrons.

On Nov. 15, hundreds of libraries across the country celebrated the ALA’s first annual National Gaming Day @ your library.  Libraries of all types joined in the celebration by registering for two national gaming activities: a national video game tournament and board game challenge.
For additional information about the grant contact: Dale Lipschultz, Literacy Officer, Office for Literacy and Outreach Services, by phone, (312) 280-3275, or e-mail,

Celebrate Scratch Day, May 16, 2009!

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

On Saturday May 16, 2009, MIT is sponsoring Scratch Day! Various organizations will be hosting Scratch events across the globe, and libraries have  been especially invited to participate. The Scratch Team recognizes the important role libraries play in informal (and formal) learning and appreciates the technological infrastructure that our buildings support. Register and get more information at the official Scratch Day website at

Scratch is a free software tool that allows anyone to create animation, interactive stories, computer game projects and more. It was designed and developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Lab at MIT, and has a strong international community of followers. The Scratch website has hundreds of thousands of projects uploaded, any of which can be downloaded, remixed and uploaded. The site has  discussion forums and lots of support for novice users.

Libraries have started to use Scratch as the basis for technology programming for youth. In the Minneapolis area, Hennepin County Library has been using it for almost three years with much success; Hennepin County Library is implementing an IMLS Nation of Leaders Demonstration grant that brings the project to a set of five national partners. Now, libraries around the globe have an opportunity  to become involved in the Scratch-in-Libraries movement!  Scratch isn’t just for youth – Hennepin County Library has had success with Scratch with adults as well as with children as young as eight years old.

If you are interested in participating in Scratch Day, here are your next steps:

  • Create an account on the Scratch Day site, to get updated information from the Scratch Day Team. The site will include resources for developing programs.
  • If you use Facebook, join the group Scratch On as another way to stay in touch with the project.
  •  Email Jennifer R. Nelson if you’re interested and would like to be on her distribution list-  The IMLS Project Team plans to develop a couple of lesson plans that  can guide your program/workshop.
  • Start working with your IT department to get Scratch installed on your computer and those in your computer lab.  Open up Scratch and get a feel for it; visit the Scratch website and look at some of the projects and galleries.

New study on videogaming and violence

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Andrew K. Przybylski, Richard M. Ryan, and C. Scott Rigby undertook six studies at the University of Rochester (NY) going on the belief that violence adds little to enjoyment or motivation for typical players. The results of “The Motivating Role of Violence in Video Games” printed in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin in February 2009 showed that “enjoyment, value, and desire for future play were robustly associated with the experience of autonomy and competence in gameplay;” in other words, the complexity of games is more highly valued than carnage.

Games in Libraries Episode 10!

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Listen up at The January episode features content from the Games and Gaming Member Initiative Group at the ALA Midwinter meeting in Denver CO. Deadline for submissions for episode 11 is March 1, 2009 – send your .mp3 file to

Librarians Rockin' by Elizabeth Bricquet

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

 Librarians Rockin by Elizabeth Briquet

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is offering Direct Service Grants for Community Building Through Videogames funded by IMLS.  As some libraries are gearing up and working on their proposals, they have been speaking with their communities about it. Editorial cartoonist Elizabeth Bricquet created the above cartoon, which appeared in an editorial in the Kingsport Times News.

Though the lovely ladies featured in the cartoon bear no resemblance to them, the librarians at the Kingsport Public Library in Kingsport, TN love the cartoon and have already contacted the artist about making t-shirts out of the cartoon.  As Helen Whittaker, Director of the Kingsport Public Library and Archives, noted “We thought it was a hoot.  It shows librarians adapting to new technology and cultural changes.  It also shows their outreach efforts to the community as libraries expand their programs to meet changing needs.”

Thanks to Lindsey Patrick Wesson, Continuing Education Coordinator, Planning and Development at Tennessee State Library and Archives, for permission to repost.

Gaming in the News

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

In case you missed it, the January issue of American Libraries featured a cover story on “Gaming @ the Library” by Dale Lipschultz. The article connects games to literacy, updates readers on the $1 million Verizon grant received last June, and features best practices in gaming from experts around the country. In the same issue, Scott Nicholson’s article “Reframing Gaming” discussed the results from the 2007 Gaming census.

Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation game consoles encourage patrons to engage with one another at the Houston (TX) Public Library.

Melinda Wenner addresses “The Serious Need for Play” in the Scientific American, January 2009, citing childhood play as crucial for “social, emotional and cognitive ­development.”

John Lancaster’s article, “Is It Art?” published in the January 2009 issue of the London Review of Books makes an argument that videogames are a medium whose importance and cultural ubiquity should be equivalent to that of film or television.

In Janaury 2009, the New York Times covered the release of AudiOdyssey, an M.I.T. gamelab videogame designed for visually impaired gamers.

Two new blogs to add to your feed reader

  • Jim Peterson, writes about the technological evolution of the Goodnight Library, including the challenges of implementing gaming, at
  • Bob Beck, Computer & Network Services at the Central Arkansas Library System, will be chronicling an ongoing World of Warcraft program at the library at

Also of interest, though not directly related:

Amazon launches a casual games service, with FREE games to  download and play, and others to download and purchase for $10 or less. Is this a service you might take advantage of at your library?