Libraries can be leaders in gamification. You can use these tools to help your staff and patrons to build skills, to learn about your resources, to explore information literacy, or whatever else you want to accomplish!
Gamification is not “just” playing games; it’s a strategy to learn things, try things, and to practice things without so much pressure to avoid failure. Want to encourage people to try something new or hard? Gamify it!
Thinking that learning needs to be dull, or done in a specific way just because it has been done that way, is limited. Expand your possibilities by gamifying your library!
The book that started it this as a national trend:
“With 174 million gamers in the United States alone, we now live in a world where every generation will be a gamer generation. But why, Jane McGonigal asks, should games be used for escapist entertainment alone? In this groundbreaking book, she shows how we can leverage the power of games to fix what is wrong with the real world-from social problems like depression and obesity to global issues like poverty and climate change-and introduces us to cutting-edge games that are already changing the business, education, and nonprofit worlds. Written for gamers and non-gamers alike, Reality Is Broken shows that the future will belong to those who can understand, design, and play games.”
- The Game of Research: [Board] Gamification of Library Instruction “Faced with the annual revision of curriculum and activities for first-year Rhetoric and Composition courses, a group of instruction librarians at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) created a versatile board game, based on The Game of Life, to address the pitfalls and rewards of the research process. Librarians quickly learned, however, that creating an engaging, meaningful, and fast-paced game for library instruction is no small feat. Developing The Game of Research was a reminder that, just as librarians encourage students to be adaptive and creative in their research, we must also be adaptive and creative in our curriculum design in order to meet information literacy and course learning objectives. To that end, The Game of Research not only underwent many revisions but it also prompted the creation of a second game, The Research Road, based upon common learning objectives.”
- Why Gamify and What to Avoid in Library Gamification “We tend to associate the library with learning, research, scholarship, and something serious. By contrast, games make us think of fun. For this reason, it is natural to worry about a library or any library-related activities such as reading, studying, researching becoming frivolous and trivial by gamification. In an effort to address this concern, I will point out that (a) gamification is a society-wide trend (and as such, highly likely to become not so frivolous after all), (b) what to avoid in gamifying libraries, and (c) what the limit of gamification is in this post. The key to successful gamification is to harness its impressive power while being fully aware of its limit so that you won’t overestimate what you can achieve with it.”
- Keeping Up With… Gamification “Successful games provide an ideal environment that motivates and empowers people through making their own choices and performing a series of challenging tasks that match their knowledge and skills at gradually increasing levels of complexity. When we play a game, we not only enjoy ourselves but also become more creative, productive, and hard-working. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we can perform non-game tasks in the real world as productively and creatively as we do when we play a game? This is the goal of gamification. Gamification is the process of applying game-thinking and game dynamics, which make a game fun, to the non-game context in order to engage people and solve problems. Commercial video games have been popular for years. But the recent rapid adoption of the smartphone and the large online social networks such as Facebook and Twitter brought a new meaning to the word, ‘game,’ and how it relates to our lives. Games are no longer confined to the entertainment industry. They have become portable activities interwoven with reality.”
- Librarygame “Librarygame is a bespoke library enhancement product that adds game elements directly into the library experience to make it more fun, engaging and delightful. As well as giving your library patrons a fresh social discovery interface, Librarygame also provides useful metrics on how your library is being used.”
- Gamification: Coming to a Library Near You? “Gamification has been successful for corporations like Starbucks (loyalty rewards) and Nike+ (community rewards). Since Starbucks started their My Starbucks Rewards program in 2009, 80,000 new members join weekly and 1 in 3 customers pay with their Starbucks card. Nike+ uses a social community to help people stay motivated and challenged while exercising. Users can track their activities, set goals, access training tips, receive improvement tips, challenge friends and share successes.”
- Gamification as a Tool “If we can experience game aesthetics in real life, as well as in front of a video console or a computer screen, why wouldn’t we? If everyday drudgery, dull learning experience, and stressful tasks can be ameliorated with the application of game dynamics and mechanics, wouldn’t that be a great thing? In discussing Chore Wars and other games that gamify reality, game researcher Jane McGonigal writes that alternate realities games (ARGs)—gamified applications in this case—are games that you play to get more out of your real life as opposed to games that you play to escape it. She believes that gamification enables people to participate in their real lives as fully as they do in their game lives. Gamification is a powerful tool because it captures people’s attention, engages them in a target activity, and influences their behavior. In my Library Technology Report “Understanding Gamification,” I offer a few examples, which you can look up at The Fun Theory website.”
- Engaging Students Through Gamification “At O’Neill Middle School, participation in our voluntary library reading program was 17%, and we wanted to increase that level. So we sought an innovative approach to motivate our students through collaboration, creativity, and communication. Because students had started using Google apps and other social tools, we wanted to increase and build on those skills. Gamification provided the platform to engage and excite students. Gamification takes a process or learning target and sets it in a gaming format. The idea of introducing a game, creating teams, and making it apply across different media had never been tried at our school.”
- Gamification and Libraries: Tools and Examples “Gamification can be a tool for libraries to engage and motivate the public to use the library – but like all other tools it is not a quick fix and must be used wisely. In this article I share some tools and practical examples of how they have been used in libraries.”