A couple stories have captured my attention recently since Chris' last post on gaming...
First off, the Verizon Foundation announced recently that they made a grant to ALA for a research effort to determine the link between gaming, library attendance, and literacy in libraries. Included in this grant is a "gaming model for the nation's 9,000 public libraries" developed by "experts"--I'm curious to learn what this will look like!
And then I read a lovely story in the latest edition of the Rural Library Services Newsletter (available only to members), where Susan Hill Pieper, Library Director at Paulding County Carnegie Library (OH), described her coming of age with gaming at libraries. Pieper, a skeptic and admittedly timid when it came to gaming, was won over by one of her peers at ALA Mid-Winter, who was rockin’ hard, and making Guitar Hero look like a whole lotta fun. Pieper was struck, and soon found herself with guitar in hand, mesmerized by the screen’s prompts. She returned to her library to purchase Guitar Hero and begin programming events. She summarizes:
"My point is—and I do have one—that we can change our minds. Gaming in the library does make sense. Especially when teamed with book talks and displays of other cool books and library materials. We used to "hook ‘em" with book talks to get them to come to the library and read. Well, the hook has changed, but the purpose is the same. We hook them with the games, they come into the library, see what we have to offer, and most importantly build a relationship with library staff.
It is that relationship that will be the spark that will kindle a love and patronage for their local library. As adults they will remember fondly the fun they had at the library. And maybe, if we have done our jobs, they will remember us with their votes."
For more stories of games in libraries, check out LibSuccess.org, where you can find a description of Clinton Public Library’s (OK) Saturday Game Days, including a handy list of their "keys to success."
Think about how games may work in your library, and if you plan to attend the Association for Rural and Small Libraries' annual conference in Sacramento this September, be sure to see Kieran Hixon (John C. Fremont Library [CO]) and Judy Van Acker's (CLiC) session on gaming.
[Used with permission, Rural Library Services Newsletter, Paulding County Carnegie Library, 205 S. Main St., Paulding, OH 45879]