I have several ideas racing through my head at the moment. (That’s not so strange for me.) Partly, as a result of a wiki we are using in the YALSA New Literacies course. (Which ends this week.) On the class wiki students were asked, during this last week, to post resources they know that support the topics discussed in class and that they think their classmates should know about.

We’ve used the wiki a bit in other weeks of the class. From past experience with the technology, I know it’s a great way to gather resource lists. So, that’s how it’s working this week for students. Every time I use wikis in teaching I come up with new ideas for collaboration opportunities. While building resource lists may seem like a no-brainer way to use a wiki, there is more to it than one might assume. For example, not only can one student post and annotate a resource, another student might make a note in the annotation about what he/she really liked about the resource. Or, one student might post a resource and another might respond with a resource that takes the ideas in the first in another direction. There are lots of expansion opportunities and I’ve been thinking about how the simple activity of building a list of resources can lead to something else.

One resource on the student generated list is an article at Web Junction on a new branch library that is all about gaming. Reading the article I was struck by a couple of things. First, I was struck by the idea that funders are looking for and at ways libraries can break outside of the box and provide new and intriguing services to their communities. How exciting is that! Think about it, there are people in the world that want to give $ for developing new methods of serving a target population.

Another thing that jumped out at me is the focus on literacy. This isn’t a library that is simply having teens play games within the library facility. (Or as a part of a networked event.) Teens actually are extending what they do with and through gaming by writing, youth participation, training, and more. That is really pretty exciting.

Youth participation is huge in this gaming library. The teens are really involved in how the program works. It seems to be a library that supports teen participation near a higher level on the ladder of participation.

Yesterday, Beth blogged about My Own Cafe. Today, I’m blogging about another model of librarians serving teens in non-traditional ways. My brain is all revved up because it’s all really exciting!

About Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President, the YALSA CE Consultant, and a learning consultant/project management coordinator at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online.

3 Thoughts on “Gaming a way to Literacy

  1. Kelly [Member] on August 11, 2006 at 8:09 pm said:

    I have a few issues with the Carver Branch Library, gaming its way to literacy. I feel it sets up video games as a ‘lure’ to the library. I don’t believe that video games need to be a lure or the ‘lost leader’ (as Eli Neiburger says that DVDs were thought of when they first came to the library). Requiring teens to check out books and have a library card in order to participate in the video games I feel is unnecessary and takes away from the fundamental belief that video games inherently involve literacy and build developmental assets. I feel the program sets reading books and owning a library card as a highbrow way of earning the privilege of playing a video game. I don’t see how this is going to help video games earn their respect for what they are-combining literacy in ways that books cannot and can never do. Youth participation to me would look like involving teens in every step of the process of building the equipment and collection and creating programs with this equipment to build on their developmental needs and assets. Do they have a library card? Great. If not, I’m sure they’re providing a lot of other assets to the group.

  2. Linda Braun [Member] on August 12, 2006 at 5:47 am said:

    I actually agree with some of your points Kelly.

    What I think is exciting, is that this is a library that’s trying to bring new ideas into a traditional environment. My hope would be that after a few months, when evaluation is done, etc. some of the factors that aren’t at the levels we would like, or aren’t done as we would like, might be revised.

    For me, the idea of bringing gaming in beyond tournaments and play, and trying to tie it to literacy – book reports might not be the best way – is a great start. I have hope! 😉

  3. I need more info. to justify a grant for gaming and literacy. I also would like to connect for a DL session for a gaming @ the Library. What do you think?

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