This great session was presented by Lisa Hinchliffe, Karen Schmidt and David Ward of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. They’re doing some great things around gaming and should be an inspiration to other libraries considering this path. The session began with background on gamers, stressing that many of us are gamers, including grey gamers and our students – for this reason we should be considering gaming.
They are collecting games, both new and vintage and are developing appropriate policies. They surveyed students during gaming nights, talked with faculty using games, and read relevant literature. This collection serves both to preserve the object and the experience. By collecting the games, students can both see the object but also experience what it is like to play the game. This experience is generally lost when the only way to play a vintage game is through an emulator.
While they are not actively pursuing creating games, they are considering a variety of uses for gaming. They have offered gaming nights which have been a smash with students. They also highlighted that short games (esp and a bartending game I can’t recall the name of) can be used for instruction and training. I think this is a great idea and can’t wait to try it out in my sessions next term. It breaks the ice, creates an atmosphere of fun and allows for easy conversation into more serious topics, such as controlled vocabulary and customer service.
They are also working with faculty to embed gaming in curriculum where appropriate and are supporting classes which are using gaming. They will be providing copies of Civilization 4 to a class. As one of the first to try this, they have discovered that gaming publishers don’t have a model to deal with this type of licensing and hope to help establish working models.
This is library and are ones to watch for future gaming innovation.