Notes from the Games & Gaming Member Initiative Group (GGMIG) meeting at Midwinter

15 people attended the Games & Gaming Member Initiative Group (GGMIG) Meeting at ALA Midwinter on Saturday January 24 in Denver, CO. If you missed the session, it was recorded; excerpts will be appearing on the next Games in Libraries podcast  in mid-February.

Convener Scott Nicholson, Syracuse University, reported that the GGMIG is focused on games of all types across all types of libraries, and has a 3-year life span. It will be dissolved in 2011 if our mission to integrate games  & gaming in all of ALA is successful. At that point, it could continue as a Round Table; 600 signatures would be needed to effect this change.

To join the MIG, add your name to the list on the ALA Gaming Wiki.  This is a sharing group; bring someone next time!  Next meeting scheduled for Sat morning, July 11, in Chicago at Annual.

You can subscribe to the GGMIG mailing list. The LibGaming group is currently the best place to get information about GGMIG proceedings, and to connect with other librarians interested in gaming.  ALA Connect, an online community for ALA discussion groups, MIGs,  and divisions, will be debuting soon. One of its features is the ability to  locate other members based on interest. The GGMIG community at ALA Connect will most likely supplant both mailing lists.

A reminder: gaming in libraries = board games, card games, big games, mobile games, role-playing games & videogames

In the first year of the GGMIG’s existence:

  • The Games & Gaming Podcast [inactive] has been going full force, with nine episodes published.
  • Gaming was the cover story in the Midwinter issue of American Libraries;  free copies were at the CCC and it will be archived online.

Dale Lipschultz, ALA reported on the Verizon Grant. Funds have been used to:

  • Convene an expert panel
  • Develop the Librarians Guide to Gaming an Online Toolkit, a resource to help libraries start gaming programs by providing tools, resources, advice & other stuff, starting with advocacy, cost, and next steps: when you have a lot of money
  • There is money to fund 10 libraries a 1-time grant of $5000 to do a gaming initiative for youth age 10-18; a RFP is in development. Partnerships will be encouraged; public school & academic libraries. The panel will be looking for creative, innovative programs from libraries that have the staff & resources to conduct the grant. Grant round to be announced around Feb 1 2009
  • Additional grant funds go into Open Gaming Night at Annual; the first one was a great success! 400 people attended. The next Open Gaming Night will be Friday July 10; volunteers are needed. Email Scott if you’d like to assist.
  • The Gaming Pavilion in the exhibit hall during Annual 08 featured about 20 exhibitors; in 2009 expecting 60-75 gaming vendors.
  • The Gaming, Learning & Libraries Symposium, also sponsored by Verizon, had 200+ attendees and got very positive feedback. Video didn’t come out well, and some podcasts didn’t come out well, but a lot of content is hosted on the ALA TechSource wiki [inactive]. The next GLLS will most likely be Spring 2010, and new sponsors are needed as the event moves away from TechSource’s sponsorship.

Jenny Levine, ALA, reported on National Gaming at your Library Day, which took place Saturday Nov. 15, 2008:

  • 16,000 public libraries got copies of Pictureka! donated from Hasbro! We set our own record for the most number of people playing a board game – 1,500 people played; 14,000 people participated in total. The event was an opportunity for a lot of education about gaming to the public, and to library administrators .
  • For next year, NGD will be held on Saturday Nov 14, with  activities leading up to event for academic and school libraries. To get updates, join the mailing list: and watch for details on the ALA Gaming Blog

Beth Gallaway, IFC, reported on the YALSA Mixer & Tech Playground Friday night January 23, which featured Nintendo DS gaming, Lose the Game, A Booktalking Competition, and People Bingo. Over 75 people attended this event. A synopsis is on the YALSA Blog.

Events at Annual
Scott is compiling for a one-page  so keep Scott informed as you hear about gaming things at Annual.

  • Preconference on Board Games & the AASL Standards (Chris Harris)
  • Friday July 10 Open Gaming Night – Including board games, tabletop games, videogames, the big game, and freeze tag???
  • Saturday July 11, 10:30am: GGMIG meeting
  • Saturday July 11, 3:30-5:30pm: Public Library Winners of the National Medal for Library and Museum Service from the IMLS Small to Medium Sized Institutions in Rural to Urban Areas.
  • Sunday July 12 1:30-3:00pm Panel: What Does Gaming Have to do With Books Anyway? Connecting Games & Libraries

The remainder of the meeting was a round robin exchange of ideas. People and projects follow:

Jennifer Nelson, Hennepin County Library

  • Gaming programs for teens
  • Programs for seniors
  • Game Design program featured in the Librarian’s Guide to Gaming Toolkit, IMLS funded, teen mentors
  • Beginning to circulate games & consoles, with Minneapolis PL merger

Beth Gallaway, Information Goddess Consulting, NH

  • VOYA Article in April 2009 on games featuring content creation
  • Librarian’s Guide to Gaming: an ALA Toolkit is ready for soft launch
  • Ben 10 program in March for Las Vegas Clark County Library System
  • Teaching an Online class, Get Your Game On, Online!  for Infopeople in Feb 2009

Wanda Nesbit, Dover Public Library, DE

  • There is gaming at the library currently, with adults, kids playing games on the computer
  • Wants to know, what do you do first? How to merge the gap: it’s not foreign to me, it’s foreign to the people I work with.
  • Wants to integrate gaming with a literacy focus

Erin Meyer, University of Denver, CO

  • Renovation pending, plans include buying a Wii & board games to use for library hosted game nights and to circulate to student groups to use in the library
  • Wants more info to support WHY we should be doing gaming at the library on campus
  • Would like games for staff development
  • Gaming in the library is going to tie in with writing center multimodal literacy
  • Digital media studies will be targeted for gaming initiatives

Brooke Bahnsen,

  • Participated in Gaming Club at the library school at UIUC
  • Recent graduate in first professional job; part of new job is buying games for kids, including card games and puzzles
  • Library currently offers teen game night with Rock Band & DDR every other week and hosts a chess club that meets weekly
  • Would like to implement a Mahjong club

Allan Kleiman, Library Consultant

  • Focus is older adults & inter-generational gaming
  • Has received good feedback on gaming article in American Libraries
  • Children & teen librarians seem to be more receptive to gaming concept, followed by academic librarians. How to bring the reference staff along?
  • Exploring how gaming fits into service for adults or adult adults
  • SLJ article on inter-generational gaming coming soon
  • Book for Libraries Unlimited on Older Adults & Technology coming soon
  • NJ Regional Library Coop has 13 themed traveling console gaming packages (Wii, PS2, XBox). These kits are for all types of libraries in the system. Training for librarians is planned for March 2009. The ultimate goal: Interlibrary competition, training by Eli Neiburger, AADL on GT System, in April, to take gaming to the next level
  • At one training session, a drawing for the Wii was held, and a medical library won!

Keiran Hixon, John C. Fremont Library, Florence CO

  • Winner, EBSCO’s small & rural libraries award
  • Doing gaming for 2 years at the library, with a $500 budget to start
  • Currently they circulate 160 videogames – no video game or DVD rental store in local vicinity
  • The library hosts tournaments for video/board games every other month, puffball is popular
  • Patrons donate broken Xboxes, which are repaired for about $25
  • They ILL me : Keiran has provided training on site at 25 libraries
  • Seniors have a Wii at the senior center, and play the teens
  • Modern board games draw the 20-40 year olds
  • I can start someone on a gaming program for a $100; if you have $500 you can have a Wii

Jack Martin, NYPL

  • Gaming to 35-40 branches, across all age groups
  • Circulating gaming collections: XBox, Wii, PS2 for children, adults, and teens
  • Books for the Teen Age renamed to Stuff for the Teen Age March 20 including GAMES!
  • Global Kids partnership to design serious games for kids is the current project; library staff will be trained and produce 20 programs over 10 weeks
  • Games like:
  • Jack is an adjunct professor at Pratt & Columbia, teaching YA literature. He incorporates gaming as literacy into his courses and will be playing games every week in class

Dwight McInvaill, Georgetown County Library

  • Spoke about the challenge of rural areas. A few years ago a funder asked for an innovative program to get teens reading at the new branch; Dwight’s program involving books was turned down. He’d recently seen a presentation on gaming at the library and was so irritated by the idea I continued to think about it.
  • The initial grant paid for a gaming club to entice teens to come in and use the library to earn more gaming time. The club added a videogame design component and a digital arts component apple computers, handheld cameras, etc to create music, film and art.
  • In the future: working on getting people in the gaming industry to come to speak; and inform youth about gaming careers and programs
  • GCL has an ICMA (Gates Foundation grant) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hugo and library to teaching the public about the dangers of hurricanes and how to prepare through using serious game simulations like the Stop Disaster game developed by the U (Dwight says he is pretty good at earthquakes)

Paul Waelchli, St. Norbert College, WI

  • Incorporates gaming strategies into information literacy instruction
  • Working on Using off the shelf games to teach information literacy

Jenny Levine, ALA

  • Working on next issue of Library Technology Report on gaming
  • First issue was Introduction, next was Broadening the scope; looking for feedback for theme of next issue.

Pending Publications coming out:
Game On! by Beth Gallaway, Neal Schuman
Everyone Plays at the Library by Scott Nicholson, Information Today
Older Adults & Technology by Allan M. Kleiman, Libraries Unlimited

Gaming Census for 2008 is forthcoming! Watch for details on the GGMIG and LibGaming lists.

Board Game with Scott contains tutorials on how to play board games
On Board Games: Podcast on Board Games
Upcoming Classes

  • NYLA workshops
  • WYSE plus class on gaming (eligible for students at 15 library schools, online classes for all the other schools in the consortium with 10 slots in the class open to ALA members who are willing to pay the auditing fee for this 1 credit class. The course will be delivered via YouTube, 10-minute video on YouTube every day for the month of June, with weekly video responses required from students.  Anyone can play along, because the videos will be public and live on, in posterity! Guest lectures are welcome.
  • A small games & gaming conference at the Strong National Museum of Play (Rochester, NY) is in planning process, thanks to the connections made at GLLS. Scott reported there is a branch of the Rochester Library in the museum and exhibits include books and artifacts.