One more topic on „American Libraries (AL)“ Top Ten Library Stories (AL, December 2008) is that gaming is the new hot issue in American libraries. Actually, it is not that new at all. In the Fall 2008 edition of the newsletter of the New York Library Association, Scott Nicholson states that the Mechanic’s Library in San Francisco founded a chess club in 1855 that is still in operation today (making it the oldest chess club in the United States). Nevertheless, gaming is regarded a hot new development taking over libraries. Fitting perfectly into the picture at this year’s ALA conference, Nintendo had for the first time a booth in the exhibition area. During ALA, there was also a gaming night, where librarians could try out all sorts of games - from old fashioned card games to Wii. In November, ALA TechSource hosted the second „Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium“. Games are seen as a cool tool to improve literacy, inspire academic interest, build bridges across generations, and raise money.
A survey by the „Library Game Lab“ of the Syracuse University showed that 77% of 400 randomly contacted public libraries support gaming in some way (AL, August 2008, p.51). For those who still have their doubts about the place of gaming in a library, the article draws an interesting parallel: gaming is like story telling with a participatory component. The game lays down some rules and sets a backdrop for the storyline; the participants play a part in the story and develop it further.
Fascinating. Gaming as the 2.0. version of story telling...
Entries tagged as american libraries
Wednesday, 24. December 2008
Tuesday, 23. December 2008
The December issue of American Libraries (AL) looks back on this year and lists the Top Ten Library Stories:
Story number 1 - no surprise here - is the current economic situation. Libraries are hit in two categories. First, income from sales and property taxes - from which libraries get most their funding - is going down. And second, charitable private support is likely to be scarcer in the future as well. All this coming at a time when library use is going up and more patrons than ever are depending on the library computers to apply for jobs (listed as number 10 of the Top Ten Stories).
Story number 3 lists the repeated attempts by conservative groups to ban “controversial” book titles. This year, the title that was most targeted for removal was - once more - Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell’s book „And Tango makes Three“ about two „male penguins caring for an orphaned egg“.
One issue that US librarians have had to face since 9/11 are the socalled „National Security Letters“. These allow law enforcement to demand information on an individual’s reading habits - yet the library is not allowed to even mention that they have received such a letter.
Other stories listed are natural disasters that hit libraries particularly hard (as did hurricane Ike in September). Library closings are another sad story in the list, although the stories about successful advocacy that saved libraries from closure add some hope. Another bit of good news is that Harvard University will take a stand for open access and publish their scholarly articles for free on the Web in the future. Something to be proud of is the success of the National Library Week. And another positive achievement is that some more libraries made it onto a list of ‚green’ buildings.
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