Back in June, I gave a short talk to some librarians from around the globe at the R U Game seminar. Beforehand, I wrote in these pages about “A Different Library Conference” and invited people to come if they weren’t at ALA. Some two dozen librarians attended from England, Canada, and the US, mingling with the Australians who organized the two-day event. And no, I didn’t get an exotic overseas stipend to make the trip ‚ the seminar took place in the virtual world of Azeroth, in the libraries of Stormwind and Ironforge. We were working, talking, and sharing ideas on our specialty interest in gaming while logged into World of Warcraft.
The organizer, Ellen Forsyth, did an excellent job bringing a diverse audience to hear four speakers. I talked about the possibilities and difficulties of using an MMO like WoW or Dungeons & Dragons Online in a library setting. Scott Nicholson spoke about more traditional games and the “gaming experience.” Peggy Sheehy was an impromptu guest, talking about the WoW in Schools program, stepping in when another presenter had difficulties getting online. Finally, Adam Beck of Central Arkansas Library System talked about how his library offers programming related to World of Warcraft. Recently they held a “WoW Meet & Greet program” where 47 people showed up ‚ a pretty decent turnout for any library adult program, in my experience. If any of these topics interests you, you can read the transcript of that seminar here.
The attendees were very interested in future gatherings, and Ellen put together another which I attended last week. Shawn McCann, Digital Projects Librarian at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, talked about his experiences in using games in university libraries. If you missed the program, you can read his transcript here. Not everyone has the means, time, or interest to attend personally so I’m thrilled that Ellen makes the transcripts available afterward, where everyone can benefit from them.
More of these events are planned, about one each month. Craig Anderson is up next, on October 7th or 8th, depending on your time zone. He has plenty to say about Second Life and virtual worlds, more on the theme of his guest column in these pages back in May. November and December have Justin Hoenke and JP Porcaro, the two leaders behind the notable 8bitlibrary gaming blog which, if you aren’t following, you should! There will be an open discussion on games and gaming next January, and Beth Gallaway (Information Goddess and author of Game On!: Gaming at the Library) is scheduled to speak come March. I hear there are some other interesting folks she is trying to line up as well. I hope to see more of you there because these events are a pretty nifty way to hear from interesting speakers, or you can check back on the transcripts page after the fact.