Gaming in libraries, a special issue of Library Trends

The Spring 2013 issue of Library Trends deals with gaming in libraries (v. 61, n. 4), public, academic or otherwise. The editor of this special issue presents it in light of his recent book:

In my book, Everyone Plays at the Library: Creating Great Gaming Experiences for All Ages (2010), I created a model for the library gaming experience that brings together players, the game world, spectators, and library staff and explores how each interacts with the others. On the basis of this model, I developed a set of five Game Experience Archetypes that provides the organizational structure for the book and a basis for librarians to assess the usefulness of games of all types in meeting the goals of their libraries. Librarians looking to create a gaming experience can start by selecting an archetype based on their goals and then choose games that will bring about that game experience. This ensures that the chosen games meet the goals of the gaming program and fit into the mission of the library.
Each of the five archetypes—Social, Narrative, Action, Knowledge, and Strategy (SNAKS)—focuses on a different area of this model. Specific game titles can fit with more than one archetype, so librarians seeking to use games to meet different needs for different audiences should select games that span a variety of archetypes. Social game experiences are those that focus on facilitating social interactions among players; they are useful when a library uses games to forge connections between different groups of patrons. Narrative game experiences are those that immerse players in a story and can be useful for libraries wanting to connect games to literacy. Action game experiences reward physical skill, either with the use of a digital game controller or the manipulation of something in the physical world, and can create a lively game experience that generates excitement in players and spectators. Knowledge game experiences are focused on the knowledge that players bring to the game table and are a good match for libraries meeting educational goals. Strategy game experiences emphasize the decision-making processes that challenge players; these game sessions [End Page 752] tend to be quiet and create opportunities for players to engage with a few others at a deep level.
The goal of this special issue is to take a close look at different library gaming programs. Authors who wrote for the issue were challenged to explore the impact of gaming programs in their libraries. In each of the articles, the author presents a different way of bringing gaming into the library and then explores the impact of these library gaming programs.

Of particular interest for academic libraries is this article:

Brawling in the Library: Gaming Programs for Impactful Outreach and Instruction at an Academic Library
pp. 802-813 | DOI: 10.1353/lib.2013.0016
Angela M. Vanden Elzen, Jacob Roush

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