We had a very low turnout for our Teen Gaming Interest Group meeting on Saturday afternoon, making a swap and share of resources difficult at best. One of the things we did was unanimously elect Jami Schwarzwalder as the new chair fo the Teen Gaming Interest Group. Congrats, Jami!

We also discussed creating a list of great games (tabletop and videogames) for teen programming. The list has been started on the YALSA wiki; please feel free to contribute annotations.

On Sunday morning, I counted over 125 at our Sunday Morning program, Beyond Gaming Tournaments. Slides and handouts are forthcoming.

Craig, Elizabeth, Brigit, Amy, Karina

Craig Davis from Youth Digital Art CyberSchool shared ways to get kids creating, using professional design tools to make digital art, music and games. There were oohs and ahhs at the Madplayer he demonstrated, which allows for intuitive music compositions and sound editing through listening, so anyone can do it. They have been discontinued, and probably hard to get; try eBay, or register for YDACS classes. Due to some sound glitches, we couldn’t hear the demo of multiple tracks being played in Cakewalk, but could see the notes being played, as the software is highly visual, and were impressed by the drag and drop composition editing.

Craig showed 2 games created by students; check out more YDACS games at http://www.dev-lcg.com/cyberschool/mod/resource/view.php?id=462

  1. The Durham Library game, which features a red dot character ( a Dewey decimal? suggested an audience member) doing a walkthrough of the library. The backgrounds are all photos; game design elements make it interactive, and many of the library’s features are clickable to deliver information about books, magazines, spaces, etc.
  2. Revolution is a MMOG that YDACS will be selling for $5 a digital copy. The student who made it will get 50% of the profit. YDACS not only teaches 21st century literacy skills, it teaches entrepeneurial skills as well.

Elizabeth Saxton
from the Cleveland Public Library transitioned us from high tech to low tech, sharing ideas for programs about and around gaming that are JUST like other more traditional library programs for teens, encouraging literacy and library use.

  • Promote gaming reading material. A list of Books for Gamers is on the ALA Gaming Resource Wiki already, please feel free to contribute.
  • Conduct a Gaming Discussion Group — just like book discussion! The program could be themed (adventure games, puzzle games, simulation games, online games, Worst Game Ever), center around a single popular game (Runescape! Spore! Grand Theft Auto!) or focus on games teens are playing now, or even anticipating as future releases (Guitar Hero 4! Spore!)
  • Create a Gaming Advisory Board — just like TAB, but not necessarily with your TAB members. Gaming might attract a whole different set of teens. The GAB can create content for you: ‘zines, podcasts, reviews, lists of great games, and displays. Plus, you can harness their expertise to advise on programs and collection development, etc.
  • Host a gaming career program! Gamasutra may be a good resource for finding local game design students. Augment with titles from your career books

Amy McNally from the Hennepin County Library brought two teens, Karina & Brigit, with her to talk about the anime/gaming connection. Having real live teens participate was awesome! They did a fabulous job explaining cosplay (it’s not just dressing up! It’s also about being in character) and the programs at their library. There are game spinoffs of anime shows (.hack sign), games stylized to have an anime look (Final Fantasy) and anime or comic versions of games that can be tapped (Pokemon). Some activity ideas:

  • Offer a sewing club. Teens can swap expertise and share sewing know-how. The Hennepin Library provides a sewing machine and sewing notions for it’s Sewing Club.
  • Have your Anime club meet at a local convention.
  • Host an Anime Prom, where everyone comes in costume and in character. Activities at prom can include gaming events, costume contest, a dance off, anime showings, and random battles (no costume required! pair characters against one another – challenge is to “defeat” your opponent using a signature move. Attack and/or die in character!)

All three topics could have been a program unto themselves. Our panel presentation concluded with a raffle (congrats to all the winners of t-shirts and software from YDACS and schwag from Red Octane, creators of Guitar Hero). Red Octane will send stuff for your library events if you email a request for prizes.

Dance off to The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya

Craig demoed the MadPlayer and let folks try YDACS games; Elizabeth led a worldbuilding exercise, a game designed hosted several sessions of LetterJam. Teens led a dance off to The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya and random battles. Gaming magazines were available for browsing. A reader’s advisory activity was provided; results are online.

On a personal note, thanks to SOCIAL NETWORKING I was able to track down the owner of the missing blue diary, left at our program! It’s on it’s way home 🙂

About Beth Gallaway

Beth Gallaway was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2006 for her work in advocating for videogames in libraries. She is an independent library trainer/consultant specializing in gaming, technology, and youth services, and is a YALSA certified Serving the Underserved (SUS) trainer.

4 Thoughts on “YALSA Teen Gaming Interest Group Meeting and Program

  1. Thanks for the summary Beth!

    Since I didn’t use slides but rather was demonstrating hardware and software I will be creating a powerpoint and associated videos that demonstrate the topics I discussed.

    This is a video that demonstrates and explains our prototype video game developed for Durham Public Library. If any other libraries are interested in discussing our developing a custom game for their library please contact us at info@YDACS.com and also please reply to the post at the link below to let us know your thoughts.

    This is only one are that we attempted to discuss in our 15 minutes and I will be posting additional resources for the other topics. We have much to share so we would love the opportunity to have an entire session to demonstrate and discuss our innovative digital arts programs and online courses for students from 3rd grade through high school.

    Here is the link to the video:



  2. I should also mention that at YDACS we do have a supply of MadPlayers and a program for implementing them in libraries. We worked closely with the developers of the MadPlayer when they first came out about 6 years ago and have continued developing innovative youth programs with it ever since.

    Although they stopped production over two years ago we understood that the MadPlayer was and is the most amazing hand held digital music studio ever invented. Our goal was to create a pathway for youth to easily and immediately compose professional level music that they OWN and therefore could use to score their video games, animations, films, or just decide to sell.

    We have had 8 year olds to adults create sophisticated compositions with drums, bass, lead, riff, pad, back, and vocal tracks. We use it as an engine for youth from 3rd grade through high school to immediately compose entirely by ear. Most importantly the compositions can be exported as MIDI and then further composed Visually, down to the note level, in Cakewalk Home Studio. At that point our budding video game developers can deconstruct their compositions and associate a few notes from any portion of their composition with a particular video game character that they have created if they choose.

    Our vision and goal is that every youth from 3rd grade through high school can create professional level digital art immediately and the MadPlayer fits in that vision.

    Please let us know if you have any questions at info@YDACS.com.


  3. alan on July 7, 2008 at 1:53 am said:

    To see really exciting new multimedia literacy try out Inanimate Alice. http://www.inanimatealice.com And its a free online resource!
    More an interactive piece of fiction than a traditional game, Inanimate Alice: Episode 4 continues the story of the young game animator as she leaves her home in Russia and travels abroad. Inanimate Alice serves as both entertainment and a peek into the future of literature as a fusion of multimedia technologies. The haunting images and accompanying music and text weave a remarkably gripping tale that must be experienced to be believed.
    And better still for schools there is a piece of software now available that allows learners to create their own stories. Valuable for all forms of literacy and this is being sold as a perpetual site licence for schools at £99 ! http://www.istori.es

  4. We have just released the YDACS video overview that I mentioned in my first post. It is the first item on our home page http://www.YDACS.com and here is the direct link:


    Please note that all of the software and hardware that our students learn is professional level so they have an infinite number of pathways they can pursue and to which they can directly apply the skills they learn not the least of which is becoming junior entrepreneurs by selling their digital art such as our students selling their original t-shirts, posters, canvases, video games, and music.

    For us it is all about ALL youth realizing their digital art potential and becoming self empowered as young entrepreneurs.

    This is also an opportunity for libraries to create an incremental revenue stream holistically in their community. We’ve had libraries tell us there are no jobs in their communities. With digital art and the internet there are jobs anywhere at any time and a global market.

    Please let us know if you have any questions at info@YDACS.com.


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