Grand Theft Library? Overcoming Resistance to Video Games
Grand Theft Library? Overcoming Resistance to Video Games in the Library Anthony Petryk - Carleton University Library Laura (Pallister) Carter - Kingston Frontenac Public Library Ontario Library Association Super Conference 2009 Agenda 1. Introduction to gaming
2. Motivation for games in the library 3. Case Studies: Kingston Frontenac Public Library Carleton University Library 4. Dealing with resistance to gaming initiatives 5. Common objections - and how to respond to them 6. Closing thoughts and discussion Introduction to gaming Gaming can be card games, board games, console video games (Wii, XBOX, Playstation) or computer video games. Wide variety of video games on the market: First Person Shooter: Call of Duty
Racing Games: Mario Kart Wii Role Playing Games: Mass Effect Rhythm Games: Dance Dance Revolution Sports Games: Madden NFL 09 Simulation: Sims, Nintendogs This presentation will focus on video games. Introduction to gaming (continued) Pew Internet and American Life Project study from September 2008 indicates basically all American teens play some sort of game regularly, and half of them play everyday. Pew study from December 2008 indicates that 53% of American
adults play some sort of video game, handheld electronic game or computer game. A third of players 65 and over play every day, and 20% of younger adults playing daily. Agenda 1. Introduction to gaming 2. Motivation for games in the library 3. Case Studies: KFPL and CUL 4. Dealing with resistance to gaming initiatives 5. Common objections - and how to respond to them 6. Closing thoughts and discussion
Motivation for gaming in libraries Playing games helps develop and maintain cognitive ability: Decision making - Spore Logical thinking - Puzzle Quest Problem solving - Legend of Zelda Some newer games also help improve physical ability: Fitness - Wii Fit Hand-Eye coordination - Wii Sports Manual dexterity - Guitar Hero Motivation for gaming in libraries (continued) Games can also help teach basic life skills:
Information retrieval - World of Warcraft Money management - Animal Crossing Reading - Elder Scrolls: Oblivion Gaming is frequently not a solo activity - it typically makes children/teens more social, not less. Gaming teaches children and teens that it is okay to fail - you can modify your strategy and try again. Motivation for gaming in libraries (continued) Games and gaming is now a research area in its own right: Computer Game Development o Game Developer Research (CMP Media)
Interactive Multimedia Design o Simulation and Gaming (Sage Publications) Social and Cultural Studies o Games and Culture (Sage Publications) Also a growing body of game-related literature in education, psychology, etc. Motivation for gaming in libraries (continued) Libraries can benefit from gaming initiatives in measurable ways: Increased circulation statistics New membership from under-served populations:
o Teens o Seniors o Financially disadvantaged Increased program attendance Library should be an enjoyable destination that is responsive to user needs and requests - give them what they want! Agenda 1. Introduction to gaming 2. Motivation for games in the library 3. Case Studies: KFPL and CUL 4. Dealing with resistance to gaming initiatives
5. Common objections - and how to respond to them 6. Closing thoughts and discussion Case Study: KFPL Decision to pursue Gaming at KFPL came out of: o Staff interest o Perceived teen interest o An awareness that gaming programs were extremely successful at other libraries Sent proposal to management, tied gaming initiative to the KFPL Mission Statement [The library is] a major source of leisure activity.
Cross-functional Gaming Committee formed in October 2007, asking two main questions: o "Where can we go?" o "Do we want to go there?" Case Study: KFPL (continued) Decided to go with console gaming: Build a collection for lending Buy hardware and games for programming No new money in library budget, so explored alternate sources of funding. Received a grant from the Library Strategic Development Fund:
"The support of the Government of Ontario, through the Ministry of Culture, is gratefully acknowledged!" Initially a pilot project only: see what could be accomplished with the grant money Case Study: KFPL (continued) Collections o Selecting (staff, patron involvement, TAG) o Purchasing LSC? Retail? o Cataloguing o Housing/Security Programming
o With partners o In-house Publicity o Grant o Collections o Programming Case Study: KFPL (continued) Training o General awareness of gaming initiative and goals o Equipment and game training Evaluation
o Surveys o Statistics (June 2008-January 2009) Currently 129 games in system 930 circs 2087 reservations ever Ongoing Funding Case Study: CUL "Games in the Library" started as a request from the faculty to support teaching/research programs in two areas: Computer Science and Industrial Design. Well-received by senior management due to the library's and
university's most recent strategic directions: Carleton Library 2008-2010 Strategic Plan: Sets a goal to "develop specialized library [...] collections." Carleton University 2008 Strategic Plan: Supports a new area of endeavour for the university - "new digital media [...] such as digital game studies and cybercultural studies". Case Study: CUL (continued) Formed a "Games and Immersive Media" working group: Project scope: Contemporary collection Gaming lab
Archive collection Membership from across campus: o Faculty o Computer and Communications Services o Student Academic Success Center o Library (Archives, Reference, and Systems) Formal project proposal due by Spring Case Study: CUL (continued) Initial reactions to the Games in the Library: 1. Collections Department: uncertainty about acceptance parameters, dealing with a new media type.
2. Technical Services: questions about testing, creating backups, details in item records, etc. 3. Reference: unease about budget reallocation, offensive content. In general, a feeling that the project is moving ahead without sufficient consultation; lack of communication that we're still at the project proposal stage. Agenda 1. Introduction to gaming 2. Motivation for games in the library 3. Case Studies: KFPL and CUL
4. Dealing with resistance to gaming initiatives 5. Common objections - and how to respond to them 6. Closing thoughts and discussionscussion Dealing with resistance to gaming initiatives So you have a mandate to move forward with a gaming initiative. How do you get everyone on board? Successful buy-in from both staff and users requires: Communication Involvement Repetition - Crit Stuart (Georgia Tech), Scholars Portal Day 2009
Communicating with staff Demonstrate the demand from users (patrons or faculty) o May be difficult to find hard data at first Talk about success stories at similar libraries o From the library literature o From conferences such as GLLS Create an internal FAQ Take an active role in debunking rumours Make sure front-line staff know enough about the project to answer questions from the public
Communicating with users Create polls and blog entries on public website o Be ready to respond to negative comments Post a public version of the internal FAQ Create book displays about gaming o Include fiction, nonfiction, and magazines o Tailor some displays to gamers, some to general public Offer "Gaming for Beginners" workshops o Use staff's personal equipment, if necessary Communicating with users (continued) Dedicate a highly visible space to the new collection
o Put up a "coming soon" sign well before the launch Attract external publicity (free publicity) o Still a "story" for most journalists o Invite politicians - great exposure for them too Stage the official launch in a high traffic area o Be ready to do some damage control Involving staff Form workgroups with diverse membership: o Gamers and non-gamers o Representatives from all departments
Ask subject specialists to find related materials in the collection for course/subject guides and displays Wii with the staff in the lounge, or at a staff party o Newbies prefer to watch then try it on their own in private Involving users Consult with special interest groups: o Teen Advisory Group o Friends of the Library o Student Gamer's Association o Faculty with a teaching interest in gaming Ask users what titles should be in the collection
o Informally - at the circulation desk, etc. o Formally - on request for purchase forms Send out a call for donations, or host a game exchange Ask users to help design new gaming programs and spaces Repetition Conduct a series of polls or surveys that build on each other. o Do you play video games? o Do you think the library should collect video games o Which console(s) should the library support? Post progress reports and/or meeting minutes to your library blog and intranet
Chat about the project informally. Start publicity well before the official launch Leave some time for people to digest the idea Agenda 1. Introduction to gaming 2. Motivation for games in the library 3. Case Studies: KFPL and CUL 4. Dealing with resistance to gaming initiatives 5. Common objections - and how to respond to them 6. Closing thoughts and discussion
Objection #1: Traditional materials "Libraries are about books and information - games don't belong there." photo credit 1. The same objection was raised when libraries started collecting magazines, movies, and music. 2. This is an opportunity for
libraries to take a lead role in immersive media. Objection #2: Educational value "The research has yet to show that so-called 'educational' games offer anything of value to teachers or students." photo credit 1. This is a still a young research
area. 2. Most educational games are created as prototypes by researchers, not by the gaming industry. 3. It is our role to support research, not stifle it. Objection #3: Inappropriate content "Games are simply too violent for my children." 1. Many popular games do not
contain offensive content. 2. Each games comes with a rating from the ESRB. 3. The library can help parents/children select titles that are suitable for them. photo credit Objection #4: Theft "Why buy games when they're just going to get stolen within the first week?"
photo credit 1. All materials that circulate a lot are at a greater risk of theft. 2. Game discs can be kept behind the circulation desk, and equipped with security tags. Objection #5: Identity crisis
"Librarians shouldn't jump on any new trend to try and keep their institutions relevant." photo credit 1. Perhaps libraries should become early adopters and experiment more. 2. Video games have been around for decades now. 3. Digital interactive media is
likely to be ubiquitous in the future. Objection #6: Funding photo credit "In the current economic climate our budget is just too tight to support a new initiative." 1. In tough economic times, people are more likely to use
the library - great time to launch a high profile service. 2. Could money be reallocated from other budget lines for a pilot project? 3. This initiative fits into the library's strategic plan. Objection #7: Favouritism photo credit
"I've been coming to the library for 47 years, and I don't want games - I want romance novels. Teens get all the attention these days..." 1. We're not going to stop collection romance novels! 2. The public library is for everyone. 3. Many games help breach the generational gap.
Objection #8: Financial need "People that borrow games already own a console to play them on, which means they can afford $400+ entertainment expenses. The middle and upper classes doesn't need to borrow games - they can just buy them." photo credit 1. Libraries also need to buy
gaming equipment and offer programs for people who can't afford it. Objection #9: Changing workplace "This means more work for us at the Circulation Desk and in Tech Services." photo credit 1. Documentation is available on
best practices for cataloguing and processing games. 2. Working out all the details can be a fun project - if given enough time. 3. Game consoles are no more complicated to operate than DVD players (or microfilm machines!). Objection #10: Disruption "With people playing games in the library, I won't
be able to hear myself think." 1. Today's libraries should have both quiet study/ reading areas and noisier interactive spaces. 2. Gaming equipment is relatively portable move it in and out of meeting rooms as necessary. 3. Headsets can be included in the gaming budget. Agenda 1. Introduction to gaming 2. Motivation for games in the library 3. Case Studies: KFPL and CUL
4. Dealing with resistance to gaming initiatives 5. Common objections - and how to respond to them 6. Closing thoughtsts and discussion Closing thoughts and discussion Try not to downplay people's concerns, especially about inappropriate content or lack of funding Unless they're already sold on the idea, most people do not respond well to a fanboi (or a fangrl) Many people will only get behind a new program/service once they see that it is successful Games are fun, but they're not for everyone
Bibliography and Further Reading ALA TechSource Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium http://gaming.techsource.ala.org. Children's Technology Review, published monthly by Active Learning Associates - http://www.childrenssoftware.com/. Don't Bother Me Mom -- I'm Learning! How Computers and Video Games are Preparing Your Child For 21st Century Success and How You Can Help! by Marc Prensky, Paragon House, 2006. Gamer Dad - http://www.gamingwithchildren.com/ Bibliography and Further Reading
Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth about Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do by Lawrence Kutcher and Cheryl Olson, Simon and Schuster, 2008. Pew Internet and American Life Project http://www.pewinternet.org/. What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy (2nd edition) by James Paul Gee, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
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