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* Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Gaming Symposium 07: Beth Gallaway

What Libraries Can Do for Gamers (Other than Programming & Collections)

7 things you can do starting tomorrow to make your library more welcoming to gamers:
– use games to do readers advisory
– be a strategy guide
– embrace your inner technogeek
– be flexible
– plan change
– immerse yourself in pop culture, especially video game culture (gains you street cred with this generation)
– try some games!

Beth’s Blog –

using games for readers advisory:
instead of:
– what authors do you like to read?
– what are the last 3 books you read and enjoyed?
– what did you like about them?
– what movies, TV shows, games do you like?

gives you a better sense of what they like, gives you street cred, validates their choices
works in the reverse, too – if you’re wondering what games to try, ask yourself what you read; eg, if you like romances, you might like “The Sims”

if the patron likes MMORPG/role playing games (Ultima, EverQuest, Runescape), suggest:
– epic fantasy
– historical
– war
– Arthurian legend
– fractured fairy tales

historical simulation games (Civ, Caesar, Age of Empires, Oregon Trail), suggest:
– biographies
– historical fiction
– mythology (fantasy?)

sports games (Madden Football, NBA Street), suggest:
– Into Thin Air
– adventure
– biographies
– statistics?

strategy & puzzle games (Myst, Tetris, Bejeweled, Carmen San Diego), suggest:
– mysteries
– thrillers
– true crime?
– puzzle books
– travel

first person shooters (Doom, Quake, Halo), suggest:
– military fiction
– horror
– apocalyptic fiction
– science fiction

simulations (The Sims, The Urbz), suggest:
– sociology
– dysfunction
– relationships
– romance
– architecture

Japanese/manga tie-in (Katamari, Final Fantasy, DragonBall Z, Pokemon, DDR?), suggest:
– manga
– Japanese culture
– graphic novels
– drawing books
– anime films (if they’re reading the subtitles, is it still reading? heck yes! Beth counted this for her last summer reading program!)

superhero games (Spider Man, Fantastic Four, City of Heroes), suggest:
– comic books
– graphic novels
– biographies
– mythology

has a slide of 10 young adult novels with gaming plots!
don’t forget about nonfiction (Gamers by Shanna Compton and other titles)
has a great list of gaming magazines
lists some books for librarians to read

be a strategy guide
– don’t be a level boss
– show, don’t tell
– make it interactive (ask a lot of questions and ask them what’s going on; put your hands behind your back and let them drive)
– get them started (help them and then give them your IM screen name for follow-up)
– have a free-for-all (let them try something, like finding resources, and then regroup and debrief, which lets you step in as the strategy guide)
– ask for a demo of expertise (Julie’s – Columbus Public Library – teen computer program about the kids training patrons and providing support on the public workstations; frees up the staff to answer reference questions)
– be open-minded

embrace your inner technogeek
– upgrade
– get an IM screen name
– you can’t break it
– pilot projects
– read tech news

be flexible
– change the space; let them control the environment with furniture that works in multiple ways
– flexible furnishings (gives examples)
– say yes
– go meta
– customize (blogs, RSS feeds, library toolbars)

beth asked eli how many blogs his library has, and eli responded, “I can’t really say because it’s difficult to say where one ends and another begins!”

plan change
– sticky content
  – web (blogs – game recommendation of the week as an idea)
  – facility
– accept change
– plan

immerse yourself in pop culture
– know what’s hot/what’s not
– pop goes the library
– know about crossovers, especially video game culture (shows some great links you can follow up on)

Simmons has an online class – Video Games and Libraries – will start in January 2006 (

what services from games can libraries adopt?
– 24/7 access
– free services = chat, music, articles, movies, games
– home delivery/online content delivery
– social bookmarking or tagging; within the library catalog
– nonjudgement from librarians
– avatars/immersive library tutorials
– customizable/modifiable
– food; we eat at our computers!
– programs of interest to gamers

audience question: recommendation for a LAN party
Eli: BZ Flag, a multiplayer tank game

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