Welcome to iHCPL: The Next Generation. This site was created as the next step in Harris County Public Library's iHCPL Learning 2.0 Program; a discovery learning program designed to encourage staff to explore new technologies. The original iHCPL program was adapted from The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County's Learning 2.0 Program.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Games and Gaming #37: Get Your Game On @ The Library

If your idea of library ambiance is “quiet as a tomb,” you may need to re-think your current model. How about “quiet as a Tomb Raider”? Gaming is making a loud impact on the library scene in a big way. Libraries all over the country (and even here in Harris County) are hosting Game Days, Guitar Hero Parties and Runescape events to generate an interest in what libraries have to offer and also to foster and encourage community partnership. One librarian even offered to waive late fines if a teen patron could beat her at a game of Dance Dance Revolution (DDR)!

Do Games Belong In the Library?

While still a controversial topic, statistics show that introducing video, console and web-based games into library settings promotes an interest in the other traditional services libraries provide. In other words, get the kids in to play and they’ll want to read. Natural progression…or wishful thinking? The other rationale is that games provide many of the same benefits as books:

  • Games require advanced literacy
  • Games overcome achievement gaps
  • Games build critical workplace and life skills
  • Games teach planning, strategy, goal-setting, competence, personal power, etc.

The New York Times also recently published an article on gaming in the library: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/22/books/22games.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

The Shifted Librarian has devoted an entire web log to technology trends in libraries. You can read more about gaming in her very informative blog: http://theshiftedlibrarian.com/archives/2008/04/21/more-on-how-gaming-promotes-reading-and-library-usage.html

Virtual Reference Desk

In 2000, Librarea, the first virtual 3-D library world was introduced by ActiveWorlds. Like social interactive games of today, users could log on as a character and access web-based reference materials and share professional ideas. Librarea is no longer active but librarians are finding new life in Second Life Library Project: http://infoisland.org

Library Related Games

Okay, so you work in a library and don’t “get” the whole gaming thing. You’re stubbornly attached to the idea that libraries are all about BOOKS. Period. Lucky for you, Carnegie Mellon has developed some on-line games that are right up your alley…or, shelf, as it may be:

1) Choose one of the articles above on gaming in the library to read.

2) Try one of the library-related games on the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries website and play for about 15 minutes. Was it harder than you thought it would be?

3) Write a blog post on your thoughts regarding gaming in the library and how you think it will evolve. Do you agree that games belong in the library?

This post was brought to you by Michele McKian and Abigail Buchold.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read “Taking Play Seriously at the Public Library With Young Video Gamers” by Seth Schiesel. I have been skeptical as to find and support reasons for having and promoting gaming in the library. At a glance it would seem that gaming really doesn’t belong in a literary sanctuary, however on second thought how i can ignore the developments at hand. Our libraries offer computers and computer classes. No matter what format, it is always a good thing to offer a safe and community oriented program. We wouldn’t dream of taking out our computers because they are a valuable resource to our patrons and it keeps them coming. There is no doubt that it helps our circulation. Video games are simply a new avenue to help community involvement by offering our younger patrons a place that serves their needs.
There is also the added comfort that bringing in more patrons under different programs encourages library use or other formats. We can draw them in with one and hand them resources to others. Making the Library a place that is familiar and approachable helps the patron discover other reasons for finding their way around to fiction or research or whatever it maybe when they need us.