ALA, Syracuse University iSchool offer course on YouTube

Contact: Jenny Levine

Internet Development Specialist and Strategy Guide,

American Library Association ITTS

(312) 280-2461


For Immediate Release,

June 15, 2009

CHICAGO - The American Library Association (ALA) has partnered with the Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) in an innovative experiment to teach a course that is open to both students and the public via the online video platform YouTube.

Throughout the month of June, iSchool Professor Scott Nicholson will teach IST 600 Gaming in Libraries in three online spaces:

  • 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.
  • ALA Connect (, ALA’s professional networking site, which will host the discussion of students, speakers, librarians, professional experts, industry veterans 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.

Nicholson decided to offer the course through this open forum for several reasons, including the desire to reach public librarians who are interested in learning more about incorporating gaming into their libraries. “Many libraries are interested in gaming but don’t know where to start,” Nicholson said. “My hope is that the videos will help libraries be successful with their gaming programs from the beginning.”

The American Library Association is supporting Nicholson’s course with use of its ALA Connect service as one of its many initiatives to promote gaming in libraries and provide educational opportunities for its members. The ALA has hosted two symposia on the topic, published multiple titles on the subject, and inaugurated an annual National Gaming Day in 2008. In addition, the ALA received an $800,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation in 2007 to study libraries, literacy, and gaming. The grant allowed a team of professional experts to create “The Librarian’s Guide to Gaming: An Online Toolkit for Building Gaming @ your library.” (

ALA Strategy Guide Jenny Levine said, “Nicholson’s course, combined with our Online Toolkit, will give every library, large or small, a basic set of resources for understanding, facilitating and implementing gaming experiences that will bring their community together in ways that simply don’t happen anywhere else. And because ALA’s site is a trusted resource, any librarian at a school or public library will be able to participate, even after the course ends, especially if their institution is using Internet filtering software that blocks access to social networking sites such as MySpace or Ning.”

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.

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.

Anyone interested in participating in the “Gaming in Libraries” course can learn more atÂ and can join the community discussions at on ALA Connect.

To learn more about ALA Connect or ALA’s gaming initiatives, contact Jenny Levine at or (312) 280-2461.