ALA received 33 submissions in three categories for the first ever Presidential Citation for Gaming, for libraries –and librarians — of all kinds that use games and gaming as tools for learning, literacy development and community development.
All of the programs were wonderful! For all categories, applications that clearly incorporated all three elements of learning, literacy, and community development rose to the top. Additionally, we looked for applications that focused on accomplishments, rather than future events, and that stood out from other similar programs because of unique content, structure, or outcomes. Finally, the program had to be incorporate the category element it was submitted under (education, learning, innovation).
Winners were announced in Anaheim by ALA President Loriene Roy at the Open Gaming Night on Friday June 26. Details about the winning programs follow. All of the programs will be be added to the ALA Gaming Wiki very soon.
EDUCATION: Wilmette Public Library, Wilmette IL
Brian Myers, staff member of the Wilmette Public Library has developed Game Maker Academy, a program that teaches young people how to create their own computer games. Game Maker Academy offers a multidisciplinary educational framework combining computer programming, storytelling, graphic and audio editing, animation and analytic thinking, and other disciplines. Using a variety of free and open-source computer applications, students learn to make their own platform, scrolling, tile, RPG and sports games, while developing media literacies and foundational programming skills. Since its inception, over 100 teens have participated in Game Maker Academy and the series is now being offered at area libraries and as an outreach program at Chicago’s Intel Computer Clubhouse.
RECREATION: Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, MO
Julie Robinson, Branch Manager of the KCPL Ruiz Library, created Runescape@Ruiz to forge a bond with the teens in a small urban neighborhood. During the summer of 2007, teens gathered every two weeks for Friday night lock-ins of gaming, snacks, teamwork and problem solving. For entry to all-night lock-ins gamers must produce report cards with solid grades or win reading contests. The popularity of these events has gathered lively diverse teens who proudly declare ownership of their library. Teens diligently police themselves and peers to preserve their lock-in privileges. Appreciative parents have also joined the fun, when teens permit.
INNOVATION: The University of Illinois Library, Urbana, IL
David Ward and Mary Laskowski at the The University of Illinois Library have developed a combination of public and classroom support programs to investigate best practices for integrating games as teaching tools into academic curricula. Their “Gaming Initiative” supports innovative teaching and research partnerships both within the academic community, and between campus and the gaming industry. Learning outcomes include: students analyzing how culture and technology affect societal growth using Civilization IV on reserve and in a library gaming lab; and students discussing and comparing the role of music in gaming through a program featuring campus researchers and local game company Volition.
Thanks to everyone who submitted, and congratulations to the winners!