Gaming Librarian Spotlight – Patrice Williams

Humanities Librarian – Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library – Interviewed by Julie Hornick

Tell us about yourself. In a nutshell, what is your role at your library? Hi! My name is Patrice Williams, Humanities Librarian at the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library located in Atlanta, Georgia. The AUC Woodruff Library is unique in that our organization serves four HBCUs: Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and The Interdenominational Theological Center. I am the resident video game and anime nerd (otaku) of the subject librarians. During my two years, I noticed many students here are interested in video games, anime, and general pop culture. Since I am the subject liaison for English, I collaborate with faculty to develop assignments using the Library’s unique resources and delivering one-shot instruction to students around a video game theme. I also coordinate many outreach events for the library and serve on various academic committees.

How would you define a gamer? My definition of a gamer is simply anyone who loves to game. Whether a person games on their mobile device, PC, console, or table-top, if a person is dedicated to spending hours playing any kind of game, then I consider them a gamer.

What got you into gaming? This is getting a little fuzzy now that I am older but I remember playing video games with my cousins before I got the first PlayStation from my parents as a Christmas gift. I have been playing video games with friends ever since. 

What is your favorite game? Why? This is a tough question. I have so many favorites that it is hard to choose. At this moment Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is my favorite.

What game are you excited by right now? Why? I am in the midst of playing the Crimson Flower Route of Fire Emblem: Three Houses on Nintendo Switch. This is my first Fire Emblem game of the longstanding Nintendo JRPG series. Since it is strategy-based, it really has me thinking about how to position characters, which routes to pick so they master the correct warrior class, and which characters to develop a full relationship with in each story route. Just like the beloved Persona 5, I have to play multiple times to understand the whole story from different character perspectives, but unlike Persona 5 I receive a new piece of world building with each new route and drastically different alternate endings.

Share a program that you have developed or participated in that you were really proud, of or excited by. I am really excited to revamp an existing outreach event here at the AUC Woodruff Library called International Games Day. This is the event created to participate in the International Games Week and the purpose is to foster relationships with students, staff, and faculty who like gaming. It is a chance for the AUC members to meet with their subject librarians. Collaborating with my colleagues Justin de la Cruz and Andrea Jackson Gavin, we have invited the Spelman College’s Innovation Lab Fellowship members who are gamers and outreached to the AUC eSports Club student members. The event this year will be a mixture of educational and fun. We are still planning logistics but we hope to launch the event November 11, 2021.

What is one thing about games or what you do with games that people don’t know about, but that you wish they knew? Gamification has been around now for about a decade in the academic world but is still widely underused in practice. I wish people would understand that games are not just entertainment but can also help a person learn. I still come across the stigma that video games are for kids and not adults even when a majority of games are played by adults. For example, I use a video game theme in my library instruction sessions and have gotten many comments from students that they understood my explanation better because of it (see instruction slide). At a later scheduled date with the GameRT, I will discuss my instruction style fully.

Thank you to Patrice Williams!

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Do you know someone who is an active gamer or who has done a lot to promote games and gaming at their libraries? Please consider nominating them via this link. Self nominations are encouraged – don’t be shy!

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