At the Top of Its Game: The MLS Symposium

By Teresa Koltzenburg | Neiburger, Eli, AADL Headshot
    "If you don't offer them something that has value to them now, you're going to be irrelevant to them for the rest of their lives. It's not a risk we can afford to take."—Eli Neiburger, MLS Symposium on Gaming, Learning, and Libraries, December 6, 2005, Chicago, IL
Ann Arbor District Library's Eli Neiburger— who sports a Triforce-symbol tattoo (from The Legend of Zelda; see photo of Neiburger below)—regaled attendees of the Metropolitan Library System's Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium (GLL) with AADL's gaming tournament success stories. Neiburger Triforce Tattoo

"It is pretty much morally unimpeachable," explained Neiburger to the approximately 130 symposium participants. "It's not something that people can make a big complaint about. [In fact], we had one comment from a parent—last season when we had a [Dance Dance Revolution] tournament—he came up to me and said, 'Do you know this is'—this was in the middle of summer—'the first time [my son] has been out of bed before eleven all summer? He got himself up and showered, and to the LIBRARY, at eleven a.m. on a weekday during the summer. Thank you—for getting him out of bed this summer!'"

Bibliobloggers Jenny Levine (The Shifted Librarian) and Chad Haefele (Hidden Peanuts) provide a run-down of the symposium's sessions on their individual blogs. (The Technorati tag is: GaminginLibraries2005).

Gamers at GLL on December 6, 2005 Jenny's rundown includes sessions on:Chad's coverage of the opening keynote on December 5, 2005, starts here. The rest of his blogging on the symposium is filed/tagged on his blog under "gaming."

Many of the GLL presenters provided pointers as to what's out there in terms of 'literature' on the gaming and literacy topic—so here's a list of selected suggestions.

From OCLC's George Needham (whose presentation Michael covered here) includes:
Another Biblioblogger, Beth Gallaway, suggests:
Beth also suggests trying some games. Among her picks:
As you can surmise from the links here, lots of blogging went on over the two-day symposium here in downtown Chicago. The program's presentations will go up on the Gaming, Learning, and Libraries site, so visit to get more information.

Finally, an appropriate shout out to Jenny and those at MLS for having the vision to put together such an event and provide participants with incontrovertible evidence that gaming is a service helping the library move full force into the future. Michael says it best:
    ...We should all thank Jenny Levine for having the foresight and brilliance to make this happen. She and her colleagues at the MLS (Kathryn and others) have created a very special moment in time that will define what happens next for gaming in libraries. The folks assembled here as speakers are at the top of their games and the folks listening and taking notes and blogging have a mountain of evidence and techniques to go forward. Readers, pay close attention to gaming and libraries. The time has come.
    —Michael Stephens ("On Gaming, Libraries, Librarians & the Future," Tame the Web Blog)
In 2006, stay tuned to the ALA TechSource Blog and ALA TechSource's bi-monthly journal, Library Technology Reports (LTR), for more on gaming and libraries. In LTR issue no. 5 (September/October), vol. 42 (2006), Jenny will give us a deeper look at gaming and libraries, as well as her astute analysis on this burgeoning topic, in: "Gaming and Libraries: Intersection of Services."

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