“Cancel all your programs on Friday night, and spend some time just hanging out.” I uttered it to a small group of librarians, and they looked at me like I was crazy.’  We were at Sunrise session at Computers in Libraries.’  It was an interesting presentation innovation, and we were practicing the art of brainstorming. The idea hit me like a lightning strike.’  We were asked to share ideas without thinking about the specifics, and it just came out. When the group speaker shared it, there was an audible response.

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An Emotional Goodbye

I am writing this article as an open letter. We are censoring what video games we provide people, but we are not stopping their consumption. We are shooting ourselves in the foot to avoid an argument, and it will hurt. Plus we are compromising our own integrity to avoid an argument. It is time to supply our public with access to M rated games.

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ALA Council is the governing body of ALA. Council meets during Midwinter and Annual, with significant electronic communication in between.

In January, I posted about Council decisions related to youth issues after Midwinter.

A brief summary of issues with implications for the youth we serve that were taken up by Council at the most recent conference can be found below:

  • Council adopted a resolution (CD#37) Reaffirming ALA’s Commitment to Basic Literacy. While there was discussion disputing the need for such a resolution as well as the perceived implication that one literacy was being privileged over another, the majority passed a statement of support. This resolution can serve as a reminder that literacy is a core service all libraries support and is essential in helping teens become productive adults. Read More →

Thoroughly in the swing of things now? Already bored with what’s going on? Happy but ready to add more programming and interest to your services? Whatever the case, maybe some of these innovations, research publications, and other cool tidbits will inspire you.

  • You know your patrons like games. And you may already know of some of the social justice gaming websites and programs out there, like Games for Change or Spent. Now it might interest you to know that there’s a new game out there designed specifically to target your ethics, not just to make you live in someone else’s shoes or support a cause. Quandary is its name, and it was designed by The Learning Network, a collaboration between MIT and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Take a look at the game here, and then consider if your gaming club might attract new members with an interest in social justice, or if your volunteer group might like to try some gaming. Now that so many teens are so savvy at programming, you might be able to get a group together to create a game that tackles a local issue that they find important.
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    My colleague and I were definitely excited to receive a copy of Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games *And What Parents Can Do by Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson when it arrived on the hold shelf. It’s probably not just a coincidence either that the book was released in the same month that Grand Theft Auto IV, the game was.

    Ars Technica has a short review of the book here. The book has got some great information applicable to libraries, especially dialogues that can be encouraged to take place with parents and their kids as well as librarians and their patrons (the section on online games that kids might run across and how to initiate conversation about them).

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    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 http://gaming.ala.org, 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 Nowinstock.net, 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 Meetup.com

    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 http://www.esrb.org 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

    On January 16th, the ALA Council approved the formation of the Games and Gaming Member Initiative Group. The charge for the group, is:
    To engage those interested in games and gaming activities in libraries and to collaborate with ALA units to support gaming initiatives and programs across the Association. Games, as defined in their broadest sense to include traditional and modern board, card, video, mobile, computer, live-action, roleplaying and miniature games, and gaming activities, including planning and running gaming programs, providing games for informal play, developing a game collection, creating games, development of information and other literacies through games and partnering with other community organizations to support gaming, will be topics for professional exploration. This group is open to all members.

    Scott Nicholson (srnichol at syr.edu), associate professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies and director of the Library Game Lab of Syracuse, appeared before the ALA Committee on Organization on January 15th as a Designated Organizer with a petition with 149 member signatures to request that the group be started as a channel to bring together librarians of all types to talk about tabletop and digital games.

    The Member Initiative Group structure is designed for new topics and creates an ALA organization that lives for 3 years. After that time, if the group is flourishing, it can apply to become part of the ALA’s permanent organizational structure as a Round Table. ALA will be creating a discussion forum, blog, wiki, and other methods for the group to begin discussions shortly. More information about the Library Game Lab of Syracuse and updates on the Games and Gaming MIG will be posted here.

    This group does not replace the YALSA Gaming Interest Group but will only make it stronger as we can collaborate more across divisions over the topic of gaming.

    Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

    In Chicago, August 25-26 is the Second Life Community Convention. There will be different presentation tracks at the conference and machinima is one of them. Teen machinima will be highlighted through an intern program with Global Kids with teens presenting and hands on making machinima techniques will be available as well.

    The term ‘machinima’ is a combination of ‘machine’ and ‘cinema’ or video creation done ‘in-game’. It is not particular to Second Life but because SL has built-in video capture, the platform lends itself well to the medium.

    Machinima has everything to do with libraries. It mashes up content including music, storylines, and images. These movies can be (and often are) honored in film festivals, shared on social networking sites such as YouTube and taught as courses at universities such as Georgia Tech. Most capture tools such as Second Life, Camtasia, and FRAPS have free versions. Promoting programs, collaborating with teens, and exploring how to tell a story are some of the many things that can be done with machinima.

    The machinima track for the SLCC conference will be audio streamed into Second Life. It will be streamed on the ALA Arts Info Island, 159, 189, 29. If you sign up for a free account at: www.secondlife.com, log in, and click on the ‘search’ option at the bottom of your screen, you can locate ‘ALA Arts Info Island’ and teleport to the location.

    More links on machinima are available at YALSA’s del.icio.us page. Add your own!

    Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

    Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usThis weekend, adults and teens will be teaching teens how to create better machinima on Eye4You Alliance island in Teen Second Life. We’ll be using free software including the built-in second life recording software and YouTube’s Audio Swap which allows for pre-approved audio to be used with videos people create. Teens dj’ing will fill in the breaks by bringing people out to the dance floor and adults will be teaching self-esteem building workshops as well.

    Any teen is welcome to sign up for a free account at: teen.secondlife.com and join the events on the island.

    Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us We have a printing press where teens make tutorial guides to use the software.

    Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us We have matching shirts for the classes. I detached my hair for the photo because it was blocking the logo and now I can’t find it.

    We’ll share the machinima after the weekend.

    Posted by Kelly Czarnecki