Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.

2007-07-23

Gaming, Learning & Libraries Symposium: Day 1

I'm here in Chicago attending the first ALA TechSource Gaming, Learning and Libraries Symposium, and it's already been a fantastic event. The conference opened on Sunday at 1pm with three keynote speeches.

First, Dr. Henry Jenkins of MIT spoke about What Librarians Need to Know About Games, Media Literacy and Participatory Culture. He shared a quote from Scott Osterweil, who discussed the differences between a spelling bee and a game of Scrabble: how the spelling bee taught students to memorize words they'd never use, while the game of Scrabble taught students spelling and word usage with little penalty for mistakes. Dr. Jenkins also talked about how more than half of all American teens--and 57% of those teens who use the Internet--could be considered media creators. A white paper co-authored by Dr. Jenkins discussed several questions about ensuring access, providing education in critical understanding of new media, and learning ethical community standards. For more information, you can consult http://henryjenkins.org or Project NML

Next, Dr. Scott Nicholson from Syracuse University's School of Information Studies discussed Who Else is Playing? The Current State of Gaming in Libraries. The founder of the Library Game Lab, Dr. Nicholson has been performing studies on recreational gaming in libraries, and not just electronic gaming. As there is a lack of basic research, Dr. Nicholson's group has been using science to understand the phenomena of gaming. The results of the first study, Understanding the State of Gaming, was released at the symposium; the second study, the 2006 Gaming Census, will be released shortly. More information can be accessed at http://gamelab.syr.edu.

Finally, Eli Neiburger from the Ann Arbor District Library shared his experiences of running gaming programs, and told the audience about The Payoff, Up Close and Personal. Gaming doesn't have to be expensive; you can borrow equipment and use staff to minimize costs to as low as $150 for your program. The great thing about gaming programs, Eli said, is taking content that normally is consumed individually and making it into a social event. AADL also features a feature-rich software that allows tracking of participants in video game tournaments, and this software will soon be available for other libraries to use. You can get more info on the software, GT System, at http://gtsystem.aadl.org. For more info about the gaming programs at AADL, you can access http://www.aadl.org/aadlgt; the slides from Eli's presentation can be accessed at http://aadl.org/files/techsource.pdf.

The evening was capped off with video game tournaments hosted by Eli, in which yours truly competed in DDR and Wii Tennis. I so have to get me a DDR setup and a Wii now.

More posts on this great conference will be coming soon!

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