Gamification and the GameRT
Whoever you are, wherever you are, the Games and Gaming Round Table (GameRT) is there to support you in developing a quality gaming program at your library.
To this end, the round table, having recently evolved from special interest group status, announced on Saturday that it will expand on its mission to support libraries of all types by launching Games in Libraries, an update to the Library Gaming Toolkit, over the course of the next month. Much like its predecessor, Games in Libraries will serve as a clearinghouse for scalable resources to support programming and promote collection development. New to the site, however, will be a sample collection of library-specific videogame reviews as well as a style guide for their composition, courtesy of this year’s GameRT-sponsored Emerging Leaders project. GameRT will be seeking reviewers to carry this program further, so please get in touch if you’re interested in participating.
The GameRT discussion session also featured an update on a joint undertaking between Lemon Tree E-learning software and the University of Huddersfield (UH) in the UK utilizing a gamification of UH Library resources to promote deeper and more abundant interactions between university students and university library resources. Taking as a given that more time spent with library resources entails a greater level of student achievement, Lemon Tree uses a system of points and “budgies”—a Northern English term for prizes—to entice students to participate in such activities as: speaking with a reference librarian, reading an e-article or “visiting the library three times in a weekend”! The software as demonstrated is attractive and fun (and available for purchase) and after six months in use at UH has resulted in a demonstrable increase in the use of library resources campuswide. The one aspect of the Lemon Tree software that as yet seems underdeveloped, however, is a mechanism for involving university faculty in a qualitative analysis of the use that is occurring.
Simply put, it is clear that the Lemon Tree project has achieved its quantitative aims, but it remains to be seen if its gains in library use will yield the deeper levels of engagement that the project seeks to attain. That said, I am looking very much forward to the progress of this partnership and would love to see this project duplicated at a university Stateside.
ERIK BOBILIN is a supervising librarian at Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library.