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Archive for March, 2009

Okay, I just love The Onion and I think I may love H.P. Lovecraft just as much, so I was “rolling on the floor” when I read this article over a yummy Reese’s brownie at Rockwell’s Grill this past weekend. (They are the best brownies in the whole wide world!) So, when I stumbled across it again online I just had to share… (And yes, I think it does qualify for things that make me go “hmmm…” at the library – Lovecraft often makes me go “hmmm…” at the library or at home or while camping – pretty much always.)

“Lovecraftian School Board Member Wants Madness Added To Curriculum”

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I think this is great news! I know the research has shown over and over again all the benefits of gaming in a learning environment, but mostly that’s been associated with high schools, junior highs, and elementary schools. Over the last several years I’ve noticed universities here and there trying on the idea of gaming. A lot of university libraries are creating flash games to teach information literacy skills to incoming freshman. I think that’s great! A fun way to learn about how to use the resources in the library so doing your homework, hopefully, becomes a little less daunting.

However, what I find even more exciting are libraries that are hosting social gaming nights. A good example right here in Illinois is at Western Illinois University. It’s held once a month and is called simply Game Nite. They have games of all types available from the most basic board games, even card games like Magic: The Gathering, to Wii and Xbox gaming. It’s open to the public, and they call it brainy. I love it! They also have games students can check out.. ..can I go back to undergrad now? I could have saved hundreds of dollars on games if my library did that. I’m now sending positive currents of encouragement and thankfulness to the wonderful folks at the Western Illinois University Libraries for doing this. Follow the link to Game Nite to get more info.

Does anyone know of more fantastic gaming programs taking place at universities elsewhere in the country?

If you happen to be reading this and are a mover and/or shaker in the university gaming world you should think about contributing to a new book. The Library Games blog posted an announcement looking for people to write chapters in a new book coming out from ACRL with the working title: Casebook on Gaming in Academic Libraries. Check out the links if you’re interested in finding out more.

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And, no, that doesn’t mean we will spend all day scratching ourselves…

scratchday2 Scratch Day is on May 16, 2009 – follow the link above to find more info. It doesn’t say, but I think this is the first of its kind. If there are any librarians out there who have considered trying something like this I think this is a perfect opportunity to see what your community’s reaction would be.

Scratch is that great free program from MIT that allows anyone to create their own computer games and animations. It’s so easy even kids are using it. I know there are several libraries in the Chicago area that teach classes on how it works to get them started. There are even gaming days where everyone can come in and play the games they made! I was hoping to get something like that started when I was at Indian Trails Public Library, but I wasn’t there long enough. In respect to offering workshops in a library setting I like that the kids can not only create games but tell their own stories through animations they can make themselves.

There is also a program called Alice that I’ve played around with. I can’t say one is easier than the other, but they do work a little differently. There is a version of Alice called Storytelling Alice that I think might be good for the younger set, but I have yet to try it out on anyone but myself.

In any case, I think kids around the world would love to be introduced to the wonders of Scratch on May 16, 2009. So, if you’ve been thinking about it go ahead and do it. If nothing else you can bring some kids in to the library and let them play the Scratch games other people have created available on the Scratch home page. That’s plenty of fun on its own!

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Click on the picture to see more!

Click on the picture to see more!

Man, I wish I’d had one of these growing up!

This house was unveiled last summer to kick off their summer reading program. I moved last year and somehow my Winter 2008 copy of Children & Libraries was just forwarded to me about a month ago! I’m glad it finally made it though. Anyway, there are complete instructions on how to build your own included with the article. I just may have to try this one some day.

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