Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Case Study No. 0250: Scott Nicholson

Gaming in Libraries Class Session 7 - A Brief History
This is the next lesson in the Games in Libraries course, taught by Scott Nicholson at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. For more information, visit http://gamesinlibraries.org/ course
Tags: games libraries
Added: 2 years ago
From: Syracuse
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Gaming in Libraries
Scott Nicholson
scott@ scottnicholson.com
Episode 7: A Brief History

[video opens with Scott Nicholson speaking directly to the camera]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: Hi there! This is Scott Nicholson from Syracuse University's School of Information Studies. In today's session of the "Games in Libraries" course, I'm gonna be talking a little bit about history. I've done some research, going back into time and trying to figure out when the libraries have interacted with games, and I got interested in this research because of an article that one of my students found for me, actually, that traced gaming in libraries back to the UK in the 1800s.
[he holds up his hand]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: Now, at that point, libraries were designed as places for moral betterment. So people got together, they built a collection of resources, then they encouraged other people to come and access those resources so they could improve themselves.
[he counts off with his fingers]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: So, libraries built smoking halls and billiards parlors and game rooms, and the idea was to lure people out of the public houses. Lure them away from wine and women and song, and into the library, where there's a context, that library context, where they could engage in the same fun activities, but in a better context for their lives.
[he holds up his hand]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: Now, in the United States in the 1850s, we had the first library that brought in chess, and that was actually in San Francisco. What went on is this library actually had a chess room, and that chess club is actually the oldest ongoing chess club still in the United States, and it still meets in this library in San Francisco. So, we've been supporting games for a long time! Actually, chess in libraries has been around all of that time, so gaming has been supported in libraries.
[he looks down at his notes]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: Now, chess has been one of the more popular ways, but it's not always been fully accepted. In 1992, there was a case in New Rochelle, New York, where the library actually had a patron arrested for playing chess! They asked him to stop playing chess, he then started working out chess puzzles in a book, and they called the police and he was arrested and it was a big to-do ... So, libraries have not always had this blanket acceptance of chess and other gaming, but hopefully that wouldn't happen now.
[cut to another shot of Scott]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: Now, going back to the time of the Great Depression, we saw two types of support of gaming activities in libraries. The first was toy and game libraries, and so in California and Los Angeles, the first ever toy and game library was founded, and the idea was to allow children who didn't have access to toys and games to have access to them. And still to this day there's a number of toy libraries that are out there around the world, and some public libraries here are in partnership with toy libraries, and so they check out not only books but also toys and games as part of their collections.
[he looks down at his notes]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: Another interesting thing that happened during the Great Depression is that there was an onslaught of puzzles. People could do puzzles as contests to win money, and what happened is these puzzles required people to do research, and at that point you couldn't hop onto Google or Wikipedia! The people went to the library!
[he holds up his hand]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: Libraries were inundated with patrons looking up answers to puzzles. Now, libraries had to make several choices. They had to decide either A) they're gonna support this or B) they're not. Some libraries said, "No, we will not answer your questions dealing with puzzles," and turned those patrons away.
[he holds up his hand]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: Other libraries helped them, and even took it as an opportunity, because the puzzles tended to have people all going for the same resource. That resource would sometimes get damaged in the heavy use, so what some libraries did is they took the books that had the answers, they put them all under glass in displays, with the pages open to the page with the answers!
[he holds out his hands like he's holding a book]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: And so it's two very different models of accepting this game-like activity in the library. Some libraries saying, "No, you can't play games on our web-based computers" ... Huh, how's that for a comparison? And some libraries are saying, "Sure, come in and play games!"
[he holds up both hands]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: Same thing. "No, you can't have access to puzzle help" ... "Yes, come on, not only will we help you, we'll point you right to the answers!"
[he smiles]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: And so, we faced these same issues that we face today, even back then ... This is nothing new!
[cut to another shot of Scott]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: Now, as I talked about in the last episode, there are some games that are the subject of collections. So, for example, in 1923 the Hanes Checkers Collection was from Providence Public Library. A little bit later, the Yale Playing Card Collection was founded. And so we have the special collections, the Brown Popular Culture Library in the 60s was founded and began bringing in games.
[he holds up his hand]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: The University of Nevada in Las Vegas has a whole gaming research center, and so special collections tied into games is something that's been around since the 20s and will continue to be around.
[cut to another shot of Scott]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: Another place where gaming has intersected libraries is in school libraries. In fact, our research turned up in 1920, the American Library Association document four school libraries told them to use story telling and book games as part of what they supported. Games as a tool to use in the classroom have been part of the curriculum development that libraries do.
[he looks down at his notes]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: If you look over time, you'll see things from the 60s, the 70s, the 80s. In ERIC documents, documents in the field, and instructions that tell school librarians how to integrate games into their curriculum.
[cut to another shot of Scott]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: Now, what's changed is now we're seeing school libraries have recreational gaming clubs, which allow students who like to play games to find other folks, to be able to talk with them and feel like they have a place in the library.
[cut to another shot of Scott]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: Now, digital games have also had a long history in libraries. Tracing it back to the late 70s, the early 80s, we see libraries using games as part of what the services they offer.
[he looks down at his notes]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: Some of the early computer labs had games as a way of getting people comfortable with the library.
[he looks down at his notes]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: In fact, in 1980 from the Menlo Park Library, they had a gaming program where they brought in kids, allowed them to play games, and they even found at that point, they said it upped the use of other library facilities considerably. So even back then, we were using electronic games as a way of people getting engaged with the library!
[cut to another shot of Scott]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: In the early 80s, some libraries had Atari 2600 circulating collections, and days where people could come in and trade games with each other.
[he looks down at his notes]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: In the 90s, we began using a lot of CD-ROM games and things like that. So, libraries have actually had games as part of what their offerings are for a long time! It is not something that is new!
[cut to another shot of Scott]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: We see reports about inter-generational gaming programs, that games are a great way to bring in multiple generations ... but even we've been at that for awhile!
[he looks down at his notes]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: I found from the 80s, there was a book called "Inter-generational Programming in Libraries," that talked about different types of game programs. Games where the seniors come in and teach games from their youth to kids, or games that engaged the different groups together. So, we've been doing this for some time!
[cut to another shot of Scott]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: So, to summarize, we've been doing games in libraries for awhile. It was in the UK and the US in the 1800s, in forms of chess and traditional board games. And through the early 1900s, we had the Great Depression and the need for toy libraries and game libraries. We supported puzzles, we continued supporting traditional games. Then electronic games came in, and we began supporting electronic games, and so we've been doing this for over a century!
[he holds up his hand]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: Gaming is not new in libraries, and that's the main message of today's session that you can take away. With someone saying, "Well why are libraries so interesting in gaming?" Your answer is, "We've been interested in gaming!"
["It's part of what we do" appears on screen]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: And so that's the thing to remember, gaming is not something new in libraries. So, if you wanna talk about this episode, you can find the discussion forum right here ...
["To discuss this session, visit http://connect.ala.org/ forum/10310" appears on screen]
SCOTT NICHOLSON: Go and chat about what I've talked about here. Tomorrow I'm gonna talk about some of the ways that libraries have incorporated gaming as evidenced in some of the surveys that I've been doing of gaming in libraries. So, until then, see ya!

For more information, visit:
www. gamesinlibraries.org/ course/

Thanks to
Syracuse University
School of Information Studies
The Kauffman Foundation
Entrepreneurship Initiative Project
for their support.


From liswire.com:

Dr. Scott Nicholson, MLIS, is an associate professor at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University, where he runs the Library Game Lab of Syracuse. Before getting his PhD in Information Studies at the University of North Texas, he was a librarian at Texas Christian University. He started the Games and Gaming Members Initiative Group for the American Library Association in 2008, gives workshops around the world about gaming in libraries, and has written many articles on gaming in libraries, most of which can be found at the Library Game Lab's blog (http://gamelab. syr.edu/ publications).


From gamesinlibraries.org:

"Hi there! My name is Scott Nicholson, I'm the associate professor at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies, and I'm also the chief scientist of the Library Game Lab of Syracuse. I'm gonna be teaching a class this summer, starting in June of 2009, on gaming in libraries. And I'm gonna be teaching that class right here in YouTube, in this space. The idea of the class is that there's gonna be two channels, there's gonna be this that you're watching where everyday in the month of June I'm gonna post a ten-minute video or so about different aspects of gaming in libraries. Students that enroll in the class will be required to post video responses, but I'm gonna invite librarians, the gaming industry, and anyone else that wants to join in on the discussion to do so. So, it'll be an open discussion of what's going on while we have a class going on in sesson.

"There will be a back channel as well, where students enrolled in the class will be discussing what's going on in the class, will be discussing assignments, and having more in-depth discussions about what's happening. But, the material that'll be out here on YouTube will be for anyone.

"Now, what am I gonna teach in the class? Well, I'm gonna talk somewhat about the history of games in libraries, I'm gonna talk about how to set up a gaming program in your library, talk about different types of games and different types of gaming experiences, talk about the planning process, talk a little bit about budgeting and staff resources, talk about justification of games in libraries, and then finally talk about assessment. The students in the class will be creating a project plan for a gaming program in the library, so I'm gonna be hitting on all the important aspects.

"We're also gonna have guest speakers that come during the class and do videos, people who are experts in the field on gaming in libraries. And so, it'll be a nice surprise to see who shows up from day to day. But I'll always be here keeping things in check.

"So, if you have interest and your school is part of the WISE Consortium, you can sign up for 'Gaming in Libraries' through the WISE Consortium if your school's elected to receive that class. If you are not in school and you'd like to take the class, you can contact us at Syracuse University and take the class. Or, you can just come here June 1st, and enjoy all of the videos that are gonna be posted right here to YouTube. So, it's gonna be an interesting experiment, what happens when we open the doors to the classroom and invite everyone to come in and see. Who knows, but it'll be exciting to find out! So I'll see you all on June 1st, bye bye!"


From google.com:

Syracuse University School of Information Studies and the Kaufmann Foundation Enitiative Project present

IST 600: Gaming in Libraries (1 Credit)

Tentative Syllabus: Last updated 5/10/09.

Instructor Information:
Scott Nicholson, Associate Professor, Syracuse University School of Information Studies
Preferred e-communication – IST 600 in the Learning Management System
E-mail: srnichol@ syr.edu
Phone: 315-443-1640
Office: Hinds 214

Meeting Information:
The class will be delivered asynchronously in three different online platforms throughout the month of June:
- Anyone can access the video lectures, which will be delivered through YouTube at http://tinyurl.com/ gamesinlibrariesplaylist
- Anyone can participate in the primary discussions, which will be through ALA Connect at http://connect.ala.org/ forum/10310
- Enrolled students will be part of a class on the iSchool Learning Management System for assignments, feedback, readings, and additional discussion at http://ilms.syr.edu

Public Access to Course Content:
Since the class is using YouTube for lecture delivery, the public will be invited to view the lectures for the class. Student content posted in the YouTube space will also be available to the public. Students may choose to use a pseudonym for participation in the public space of the class, and will register that name in the private learning managment system. Those not registered in the class may view the lecture content and may comment on the videos, but will not take part in the assignments, receive feedback or grading, or be in the private Learning Management System portion of the class.

Course Description and Learning Objectives:
IST 600: Gaming in Libraries is about gaming programs in all types of libraries. Gaming includes traditional forms of games such as board games and card games as well as newer electronic gaming. In this class, the focus will be on developing and running programs where patrons play games in the library. Throughout the class, we will focus on the various aspects involved with the planning, execution, and assessment of a gaming program.

This an experimental class combining a public view of course content with public discussion and a private backchannel for the course with discussion for only members of the class. Librarians and the gaming industry will be invited to join in the YouTube class space. Students will be required to contribute four videos, one per week, as video responses in YouTube.

IST 600 Course Outcomes:
* Students will be able to create a proposal for a gaming program in a library.
* Students will be able to select game experiences for library goals.
* Students will be able to select specific games to meet game experiences.
* Students will be able to develop staffing needs and equipment needs for a gaming program.
* Students will develop assessment methods for a gaming program.
* Students will create video content discussing gaming in libraries.

Textbook Information:
Required Texts:
Gamers ... in the Library? by Eli Neiburger
ALA Editions

There will be other readings assigned throughout the class, such as Nicholson, S. (Forthcoming). Go Back to Start: Gathering Baseline Data about Gaming in Libraries. Library Review. Preprint available at http://librarygamelab.org/backtostart.pdf . In addition, students should listen to the October 2008 episode of the Games in Libraries podcast, found at http://www.gamesinlibraries.org/?p=30

Other Course Requirements:
Students will need to create 4 videos to be posted on YouTube during the class. Therefore, students will at least need a microphone if not also a Web camera or camcorder. I am sensitive to student's privacy. If students wish, they can post the videos of themselves using their real name; such things can be useful when seeking a job. However, students can also do the following:
1 – Use a screen name unrelated to their real name (but I will need to know who each student is).
2 – Rather than appear on the video, the student can do voice-over-images as a slideshow using a tool like Windows Movie Maker II or iMovie. The student could also just use music under a slideshow, but it will be difficult to convey a significant message that way.

Video responses need not be long, but should be a meaningful contribution.


There will be two major assignments for the class, all of which are required for students to receive a passing grade:
- Gaming program proposal. Throughout the class, students will develop a proposal for a gaming program. Details will be provided on the LMS. The plan can be for a real library or a made-up library, and will include a target demographic breakdown, goals for program and justification, description of target game experiences, plan for games, staffing and equipment budget, and an assessment plan. As these topics are covered in the course, students will add to their growing document.
- Video responses. Each week, students must submit at least one public video response to YouTube. Each student will select their favorite response and submit it for grading. Video responses will be graded primarily on content and contribution to the conversation.

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