The YALSA Teen Gaming Interest Group meeting on Monday afternoon welcomed nearly 20 attendees to attendees to discuss teens and gaming in libraries. After a quick review of the mission of the group, announcements followed:

Beyond Gaming Tournaments (Teen Gaming Interest Group)
Sunday June 29th 2008 8:00am to 10am
Discover best practices beyond gaming tournaments in such programs as avatar creation, character worksheets, video game clubs, machinima contests, Cosplay and more. Elizabeth Saxton, Cleveland Public Library; Craig Davis, Youth Digital Arts Cyber School and Amy McNally, Ridgedale Library, Minnetonka, MN, with teens Karina Grimaldi and Brigit Boler, share their successes in delivering high quality engaging programs about and around tabletop and video games – that do NOT involve actual game play! The second half of the program consists of a breakout session to try program activities and exercises yourself.

Go have lunch, then return at 1:30 PM for ALSC presents: Gaming and the Elementary Age Child. It seems we have the makings of an ALA gaming track here!

Teen Tech Week runs March 2-8th, this year’s theme is Tune in @ Your Library. A Gaming Mini-Guide should be posted on the Teen Tech Committee page soon

The Teen Gaming Interest Group recently completed an article for YALS on Core Collections of video games for libraries, an annotated list of recommended titles. Look for it in the spring issue, out soon. A poster with titles was available at the YALSA booth. Content is online.

For more info about gaming in libraries, join the LibGaming group.

ALA TechSource announced Sunday that they have received a Verizon Foundation Grant for 2008-2009. Part of the project includes a website to foster online community hosted by an expert panel at, featuring links to incubator sites for gaming and research. The grant will produce a virtual institute in April 208. The focus is to develop gaming literacy.

Watch for a follow -up issue of Library Technology Report on Gaming in Libraries. Other projects include a National Gaming in Libraries Day (April 18) (with national tournament), GT System from the Ann Arbor District Library, a Big Game at ALA annual 2008 in Anaheim, and the 2nd annual ALA TechSource Gaming Learning and Libraries Symposium (Nov 2008) in the Chicago area.

Other Big News! The Games and Gaming MIG at ALA passed on Tuesday.

Beth recommended that someone else champion a Selected Lists of Video Games for Teens, by requesting
YALSA Board action.

Part of the discussion involved a question about research needs in regard to gaming.
What is the theft/loss rate of circulating video game collections?
Are teens allowed to check out videos/video games?

Is there a relationship between policies and theft rate: circulation policies, like circ period and fine rate

Q. Money: how do I spend in? Wii or PS2?
A. Get both! ASk your local teens for advice.

Q. How do I get a Wii?
A. Contact Nintendo, go early to game stores, try, check eBay. Don’t forget to purchase extra controllers and the proper controllers (for retro gaming)

Q. What games should I buy for programs?
A.Guitar Hero

Wii Sports
Wii Play
Rayman Raving Rabbids #2
Mario & Sonic Olympics
Naruto II: Ultimate Ninja
DragonBall Z

Q. How do I store my console/prevent theft?
A. Gaming configurations include a locked cabinet or behind the desk

Q. How much will this cost?
A. Starting Budget: $1000 – for 1 system, 3-5 games, & extra controllers

Q. Do people still play D&D?

A. Yes! D&D fosters imagination, teaches storytelling, and develops creativity! And Wizards of the Coast, a Teen Tech Week sponsor, has a free kit D&D available to libraries! They are out of kits, but you can DOWNLOAD all the kit materials.

Q. Does anyone do Yu-gi-oh tournaments – no problems with card theft
A. Yes! Other recommended Card & Tabletop Games

Hex Hex
Taboo & Gestures (get noisy)
Apples to Apples (Junior edition)
Set Game
Scene It? Junior
Carcassone Hunters & Gatherers

Settlers of Kataan
500 different games around the kit/pieces

Two great board game resources:
Board Games with Scott

Gaming Interest Group list on the YALSA community page (log in with ALA membership # and password):

Q. Help! They won’t come to the library, even to play games!
A. Take the games to them! High school lunch, local game stores/card shops, advertise on

Q. Are there age issues with video games?
A. It’s a two program opportunity! One for kids, one for teens. Start with age 12 (gr 6) – don’t forget that a game rated T for teen are for age 13.

Q. What are the behavior issues associated with gaming programs?
A. Theft and fighting for a turn are not usually an issue. In fact, teens in gaming programs are the best behaved kids in the library, and often self-police to keep their gaming privileges.

Q. Is there a basic list of resources about gaming that I can use to make a case for for gaming at my library?

A. Yes! For your perusal:
Wilson, Heather. Gaming for Librarians. Voice of Youth Advocates. Feb 2005.

Neiburger, Eli and Erin Helmrich. Video Games As a Service.” Voice of Youth Advocates. Feb 2005.

Gallaway, Beth & Alissa Lauzon. “I Can’t Dance Without Arrows: DDR at the Library.” YALS. Summer 2006.

Gallaway, Beth. Get Your Game On: What Makes A Good Game, Anyway?

Beck, John & Mitchell Wade. The Kids are Alright. Harvard Business School, 2007.

Nicholson, Scott. (2007). The Role of Gaming in Libraries: Taking the Pulse. White paper.

Q. How do you deal with time limits on your Internet computers?
A. Start a program! IE Runescape Club

Q. Other Gaming Ideas?
A. Bronx Library System – poker tournament – tutorials and 5 card stud and 7 card Texas hold’em play with real chips, no money.

Reader’s Advisory – if you like this game, you might like this book
Family Gaming Night with board games – library provides some, patrons bring their own in
Open Gaming once a week, programs twice a month
Newbie Game Day
Teen Choice Free Play (they bring their own games)
Teen Second Life

Global Kids

Q. Do kids bring in their own laptops for gaming programs?
A. Sometimes! And it can add to the program, IE, all playing StepMania.

Q. Are there games for developmentally disabled/delayed?
A. Not that we are aware of, at this time…

Q. How do you handle signups for game programs?

Black crow darts has a great chart
Jeff Wyner, Escondido Public Library, has designed an excel spread sheet with formulas for
Eli Neiburger from Ann Arbor District Library will be unveiling their tournament management software in April 2008.

Q. What is the ESRB?
A. The Entertainment Software Ratings Board! Among other things, they rate video games on a set of 40+ criteria, for ‘age-appropriateness.’
Visit for more info.

Q. Suggestions for ways to clear up teens library cards?
A. Waivers, amnesty day, booksale fundraiser for fine scholarships, pay for fines via Teen Second Life

I didn’t want to forget to blog about Ann Arbor’s Erin Helmrich and Eli Nieburger’s YALSA presentation at conference on Sunday. Their presentation is here which doesn’t capture all the great commentary, but is definitely helpful!

What most interested me was when Erin and Eli both said that they don’t use gaming as a ‘bait and switch’ to get people in the door in the hopes that they check out a book. Not surprisingly, patrons find the services in an organic way and on their own without having to do it for them.

“I need to go relax in the Piers Anthony aisle” said one teen during a particularly heated moment at the tournament.

Why does this work? Because chances are if something is relevant to someone that walks through the door, they will be more likely convinced that other services are as well.

What do people think about this approach to gaming? Would it/does it work in your library?

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

A poor time slot and multiple Marriott hotels made for slim attendance at the Teen Gaming Interest Group Meeting Saturday afternoon.

Kelly Czarnecki, co-convener, welcomed the attendees, noting that the Gaming Discussion Group (which has evolved to an Interest Group) is a year old! Our agenda included a visit from Matt Gullett, Imaginon, and Scott Nicholson, Syracuse University, to talk about Game Lab.

We intended to elect conveners, but with only 8 attendees, decided to do it online. Interested candidates should send a short blurb (under 250 words) about why they want to be the convener NO LATER THAN June 26. We’ll elect via a Survey Monkey poll. Polls will close at 11 PM EST on June 230, as YALSA needs to be informed of the names of conveners by July 1 2007.

Currently in the running for the convener position in alphabetical order, are:
* Kelly Czarnecki
* Beth Gallaway
* Beth Saxton
* Jami Schwarzwalder

Our final agenda item was to work on 2008 program. We decided to rename it “Gaming Beyond Tournaments.” The focus is programs that are related to gaming or have appeal to gamers but don’t involve actually playing games. Got a great program to share? Want to speak? Available Sunday June 23 at 8AM in Anaheim CA? I’d love to hear from you: informationgoddess29 AT gmail DOT com

About Game Lab at PLCMC:
Matt, a gamer since age 4. Started doing gaming in 2005, and has started a Game Lab at the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenberg County. Matt wanted to replicate the GameLab at Syracuse with a public library spin. Their Game Lab has three key focuses:
1. Programming
2. Content Creation
3. Collaboration

The GameLab is trying to show that games are an important part of digital literacy. Games and interactive media are a public good. It’s not just a room for people to come in and play games whenever they want t; it’s to develop partnership with local schools, colleges and universities and library oriented LIS programs to develop programming and rationale for gaming and libraries. Partnerships with businesses are also a potential – working with game companies to see product development. Working with The Youth Digital Arts Cyber School is another potential partner, a Las Vegas company that offers online classes in Game Design. It’s not just about playing the games it’s about making them too. Introducing gamers to the tools to enable them to do content creation.

GameLab is not limited to video games! Card, board, miniatures, it’s all good. The space is an office that can be a flexible space; much of the content will be portable, and use will be dictated by projects like beta testing or a board game event.

The Science Museum of Minnesota has instructors who are using the free game design software Scratch (from MIT) to teach a class at the Hennepin County library called be a computer game designer. “The teens didn’t really realize how much math they were using because they were having so much fun with it.” The Museum charged, but a training the trainer program for teens to continue as instructors is under investigation.

Kelly cited that her goal was to start at the beginning, with GameMaker, but kids wanted to start where they were comfortable (a very gamer mentality).

Someone suggested the flash drive option: when you have a restrictive environment and can’t install programs, putting an installed program on a flash drive may be an option. Used web-based game design tools are another alternative. Some resources:

About GameLab at Syracuse
Scott Nicholson, Associate Professor at Syracuse University, told us that the Information Institute at Syracuse is handling GameLab, thanks to a half-million dollar IMLS grant . Both OCLC and ALA TechSource are partners.

GameLab at Syracuse involves four research projects:
1. Creating a thesaurus for all types of games
2. Using economics as a way of looking at the public good regarding recreational gaming; if appropriate is the library the right place to do it
3. Get a better idea of idea of penetration of games in libraries
4. Create a gaming census

The outcome will be figuring out what type of games are successful in a specific environments for specific populations, with a range of options – like a portable games kit. Different games appeal to different people for different reasons. Scott continued to challenge us to think about goals of your gaming program. “A great game for the wrong crowd leads to a bad user experience. We need a game sommelier, if you will…”

Get on the e-mail list for the Syracuse Library Game Lab. To sign up, send an e-mail to listserv AT listserv DOT syr DOT edu. This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it with the message ‘Subscribe gamelab Your Name.’

Some program sharing ensued: anime prom, Runescape LAN parties, and teen run video game nights were just a few great ideas. We also learned that ALSC’s Children and Technology committee has submitted a to run a technology program in Anaheim which may or may not include gaming – watch for more details to come.

Other questions we discussed:
Where do you get the money? Where do you buy games from? and Who has a Wii?

A reminder about three other upcoming gaming events of interest:
* ALA TechSource Gaming in Libraries Symposium, July 22-24, Chicago O’Hare Marriott

* Gaming in Libraries, a 3 credit class at Syracuse University in spring 2008 over 3 weekends, will focus on the history of games, games as a new media, and experiencing and evaluating a variety of games.

* Wallenberg Hall Summer Institute on Gaming in Education at Stanford University, August 6-10

Thanks to all attendees and contributors!

EDIT: OH! And don’t forget to contribute to our list of 50 recommended games on the YALSA wiki at

EDIT: Correct link for The Youth Digital Arts Cyber School is

While I missed part of the discussion group and was disappointed because I am co-chair, I couldn’t pass up speaking at the Sirsi Dynix booth right before the meeting. It was announced on Saturday and Sunday at Midwinter that they are sponsoring the two main islands in the InfoIsland project on Second Life. This includes virtual library services on the adult grid as well as the teen grid. I mention this, because while Second Life is not a game, it shares some similarities such as participants creating their own experiences.

The Gaming Discussion group meeting also took place in Second Life, where participants joined us via text chat in the Open Air Auditorium on InfoIsland. Check out the YouTube video by HVX Silverstar here.

What I did catch was over 40 strong attendees sharing their library gaming stories, tips (ask gamers to bring in their own equipment or use a mobile console that can travel to the branches if buying one for each branch is not affordable), questions, tie-ins for Teen Tech Week (hosting tournaments), and justification for gaming as a viable and core service in libraries to administration (publications such as Gaming & Libraries: Intersection of Services by Jenny Levine is helpful for this).

Jami Schwarzwalder presented information on table top games including types such as card (including CCGs-collectible card games), miniature, and RPGs (role-playing games). Ideas for programs such as ‘build a deck’ tournament with Yu-Gi-Oh! cards to create a social group and friendly competition, partnering with a local gaming store for ideas and resources, and tapping into the readers of historical and fantasy fiction by offering a wide selection of table top games at the library. For reviews of table top games and various types, check out Jami’s site here.

Scott Nicholson, from Board Games with Scott, was present to discuss how he reviews various games through instruction video on his web site.

Thank you to Sophie Brookover, for gathering publication ideas and a representative from School Library Journal for attending the meeting and talking with us afterward.

We discussed that a proposal was sent to the YALSA board to consider creating a video game selection list (similar to the other lists already in existence here). Since video games are content, many libraries circulate games, and game reviews are included in such publications as School Library Journal by Amy Phillips and Beck Spilver, YALSA would be a source many librarians would trust for game recommendations for their library. A proposal for 2008 was submitted by Gaming Discussion Group chair, Beth Gallaway, regarding delivering engaging programs around tabletop and video games for teens.

Handouts on Gaming and Community Building and Virtual Worlds, along with a YALS 2007 issue, Get Connected @ your library were shared with the group. One lucky winner walked away with a copy of Gaming & Libraries: Intersection of Services by Jenny Levine.

The discussion group concluded by learning how to play Set Game (available in card and online), Guillotine, and more.

Don’t forget to join the LibGaming google group which is a forum for discussion of gaming and libraries. Also, consult or share your gaming information on Library Success: A Best Practices wiki.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Posted by Jami Schwarzwalder

Teens and Technology

Eli Neiberger

Why games are a good fit
84% of kids 12-17 are Internet users
Of these users:
75% are using IM
81% are playing games

Its not just about gamers. It’s common cultural currencies.
From 2000 to 2004 the number of teens playing games jumped from 66% to 81%

Its an $11 billion business worldwide

Fundamental part of media appetite

Video games are older than video cassettes

Try to have something for everyone

It reaches boys, 95% of teenage boys play video games

Only 12% of games sold in 2005 were rated M
There are a lot of adult books (of dubious value) on public library shelves as well

ESRB ratings are a great standard

Sometime in Mesopotamia a librarian said “this is a library not a place for paper”

Look at the garbage on our shelves
Libraries are in the content business
Games are content too.

We need to meet the recreational needs.

If we stake our business on recreational reading we may miss generations of users

Games are literacy activities.

Its important to not think of video games a mentally castling activity.

Having a video game event at your library, it takes something someone does alone at home, and turns it into a social event.

This is not outside of a core services. Do we consider story time as a loss leader?

Parents do not complain. Resistance is internal.

Outstanding way to become a focus of the teens enthusiasm.

A great way to promote library materials, but don’t hand out bibliographies. Just have the books on the table and displays.

A way to say we are about social events. Offer a non commercial space.

Seen sportsmanship like he has never seen before.

Audience: Do you have behavior issues?
It’s a library it should be loud. With a tournament you have a build in equality so there isn’t as many issues. When you have these events you develop a relationship with the teens, so when you have issues you can just go talk to the person, and say “You need to calm down or I’ll have to ask you to leave” which works.

You don’t have to buy anything. A tradition is that at gaming events gamers bring their own equipment. You just need a projector.

If you buy the equipment you can have partnerships, but this will be used by more people than the Books in Print catalog. You can use old TVs , if you have 8 it allows the teens to each have them on their own TV, so that they are completely immersed.

AADL-GT run a tournament with Mario Kart and Super Smash Brothers.

Email Eli if you want a copy of the DVD he made about the first drama, that captures the excitement, the drama, interviews with the kids, and color commentary.

AADL Teen Blog


Entire prize budget came from friends.

Matt Gullett

This generation are producers. For more information read RenGen

We can be more than just a collection.
Place people can develop social interactions and people can create things

Beth Gallaway

The Search Institute came up with 40 developmental needs of young adults (gaming builds developmental assets)

Teen Developmental Needs include the need to be physically active, they need to be social.

Teach ethical issues via gaming.

There are elements of story in games. If you can get kids talking about the movies, tv shows, or video games, you can get them to tell you about what they enjoy about the media.

Let them play with tools and see how to use it. Then ask how it went, and give them hints and tips. Meet them in their space.

Gamers are technology enthusiastic.
Keep up with the gaming industry.

Try some games.

Treat it like story time, and make it an event for all ages.

Beth’s Handouts: