Past ALA Presentations for the Games and Gaming Round Table

Annual 2015

Beyond the Game Night | Amy Neeser, Carolyn Bishoff, and Shannon Farrell

Models for gaming services in academic libraries focus on two areas: collections and undergraduate events. These models fell short when applied to our environment so we adapted our approach to reflect the needs of our campus community.

The University of Minnesota Libraries launched a grassroots forum for staff interested in video games that hosted three events and attempted to kickstart a small lending collection. These efforts resulted in spectacular failure, and helped us develop new programming that positioned the Libraries as a hub for gaming communities throughout campus. We are building connections between students, researchers, and the public, and will discuss the following programs:

  • Co-hosting “Co-Op Talk,” a monthly student discussion group
  • Partnering with a STEM student group on an Oculus Rift sandbox event
  • Hosting a gaming research showcase for faculty, staff, and students
  • Co-sponsoring a “Games, Gender and Identity” event with the UMN Institute for Advanced Study
  • Creating an interactive gaming installation for a city-wide art festival

Our outreach has led to valuable partnerships across campus and increased awareness of the value of games and gaming. We suspect our experiences are not unique, and want to add these insights to the existing conversation on gaming in libraries.

Annual 2014

Using Meaningful Gamification to Motivate Library Users: A Hands-on Workshop | Scott Nicholson

Meaningful Gamification is the use of game design elements to help someone find meaning in a real-world setting.  It is focused on using concepts like play, reflection, and engagement instead of rewards to engage users. In this workshop, Dr. Scott Nicholson, director of the Because Play Matters game lab from the iSchool at Syracuse University, will lead attendees through the process of developing library campaigns around reward-based gamification and meaningful gamification for a program, service, or other need.  Attendees should come prepared with some aspect of a library that they would like to motivate patrons to engage with through game elements.

Come Make a Game: Library Game Jams | Scott Nicholson

Game Jams are intense game-creation experiences where participants create a game in a short period of game. Tabletop Game Jams require little more than poster board, index cards, and markers, and Digital Game Jams can be done with free game creation software. Libraries can use Game Jams to bring together a group of patrons to address a local need through the power of play.  At this session, Scott Nicholson, director of the Because Play Matters game lab at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies, and members of the Games and Gaming Round Table will facilitate a Game Jam, where you will be making a game!  Once you have participated in a game jam, you will have the knowledge and experience to bring this low-cost, high-impact and flexible gaming program back to your library!

Midwinter 2014

Golden Gamers: Equitable and Inclusive Gaming Events for the Elderly | John Pappas

Tabletop board gaming is a creative, multi-generational, social and fun activity. While there is a broad swatch of recreational activities for the 65+ crowd, generally gaming is left out. Conversations with the Senior Activities Board of the Upper Darby Libraries confirmed this with traditional video games providing an engaging experience but accessibility tends to be a challenge due to physical determinants (carpal tunnel, poor eyesight, arthritis) and experiential (with a large learning curve required for many video games). Tabletop board games provide an experience that is interactive, social, cognitive and engaging. With concerns over Alzheimer's and social isolation, this is an important subject for many seniors. The Primos Library instituted a series of programs "Tabletop Gaming at the Library" (intergenerational, weekly), The Game Designer's Guild (monthly, intergenerational) and the "Golden Gamers" (65+, Monthly-Weekly dependant upon interest) each providing a gaming experience for burgeoning and experienced gamers of any age.

In this talk, Pappas will discuss the initial planning, marketing, collection development and community engagement elements of the series as well as successes and challenges. A large portion of the talk will be on game selection for this age group including issues such as the level of social interaction inherent in the game, types of games, levels of complexity and iconography.

Programs to Die For: Adult Murder Mysteries in the Library | Audrey Barbakoff

Mysteries are among the most popular books at any public library. Get your armchair sleuths excited, engaged, and interacting with an after-hours murder mystery program! Learn how to create a story that will engage people of all ages, transform your library into the scene of the crime, and run an event to die for. Be inspired by details and materials from several highly successful murder mystery events at Kitsap Regional Library, WA. These programs are a memorable, fresh way to get people outside your usual audience to come and play.

Annual 2013

Turning Game Players into Creators | Scott Nicholson, Brian Mayer

Interested in turning game players into creators? The GameRT will provide you with some great program ideas for libraries to use to help game-loving patrons tap into their creative side. Host Scott Nicholson, from the Because Play Matters game lab at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies, will lead a panel of experts focused on different ways of blending games and play with the power of creation and makerspaces.

Midwinter 2013

Through the Looking Glass of Assessment: Developing an assessment toolkit to help spread the word about the value of games in libraries | Ron T. Brown

This presentation will evaluate how libraries assess their gaming programs and will discuss a current work in progress that aims to build an assessment toolkit that can be used by both established and new game programs. Discussion will follow about the importance of assessment, what types of assessments are already being done now, who are the main audiences for assessment data, and the types of assessment tools libraries and game programs need immediately.

What Exactly is an “Action-Adventure” Game, Anyway? : Providing Intelligent Access to Video Games | Violet Fox

This presentation will report on a continuing research project to develop a formal metadata schema for video games. Employing a user-centered design approach, the project aims to address the gap between current metadata standards and gamers’ browsing, searching, and retrieval needs

Annual 2012

Exploring Stories through Interactive Fiction | Scott Nicholson

Remember ZORK? Text-based interactive fiction is a game genre that has existed for decades, but has not been heavily used in libraries. Interactive Fiction is still going strong today, and allows players to explore stories and to create their own interactive stories. Libraries looking to support traditional literacy with gaming activities can look to Interactive Fiction at the core of an easily justifiable and low-cost gaming program. Join Scott Nicholson, associate professor from the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University and experts from the Interactive Fiction domain to learn about how to use and create Interactive Fiction in both digital and analog forms for your library!

Lemon Tree

We like to bring an element of active learning, including fun and games, into our information literacy teaching when we can, whether that is using crosswords, treasure hunts, or light hearted videos, but we hadn’t before brought games, along with the technology and social nature of web 2.0, into the core of the library. We’re currently changing this and have introduced a social, online game based around using the library resources, developed for us by an external company (Running in the Halls).

Midwinter 2012

Lemon Tree | Dave Pattern

Lemon Tree is a project to “gamify” the library experience at the University of Huddersfield (UK). The project is still in its infancy, but the aim is to make using the library fun and, by hooking into the social network of the players, to attract students who otherwise might not have engaged with the library. This session will also include findings from the Library Impact Data Project, which investigated the link between library usage and academic achievement at 8 academic universities in the UK.

ALA's National Gaming Day | Diane Robson & Bethany Ross

The University of North Texas Library has participated for two years and has organized their event to offer fun along with a focus on research and development opportunities available for people interested in all aspects of gaming. In this talk, Diane Robson and Bethany Ross will detail the planning and organization of NGD at an academic library.