I have mentioned Ellen Forsyth’s RU Game seminars before, and I want to bring them up again because I think she is consistently doing something both fun and practical. In fact, those two words pretty much define gaming in libraries, so she is right on target.
Ellen organizes a series of talks held monthly, discussing libraries, games and education. Participation is open to anyone interested in the topics in question and seating is virtually unlimited.
That’s the “useful” part. The “fun” part is that this all takes place inside World of Warcraft, in the grand library at the heart of the dwarven citadel of Ironforge.
COST TO ATTEND
Because the discussion takes place in guildchat, attendees do have to pay for a full working game account if they don’t already have one. Although Blizzard Entertainment offers free trial accounts, these cannot join guildchat.
The cost of the game does create a cost to attend these talks. Many attendees already play and with some 12 million subscribers enjoying the game in the new Cataclysm expansion, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the game if you haven’t done so before. It will still set you back less than most professional workshops, and provide more enjoyment than many!
Attendees need to roll up an Alliance character on the Saurfang (Oceanic) server and get him or her to the Ironforge library at the prescribed time. Whisper to Ellen’s character Franticread to be brought into the <Where is the Library> guild. Internal guild chat is where the talk goes on, rather like instant messaging, and this is where participants ask questions afterward.
WHEN TO ATTEND
Because Ellen is in Australia and I suspect the majority of my readers are not, the question of when to attend can be a little confusing. The next upcoming talk is scheduled for January 13, at 9am Australian Eastern Daylight Time. Participants in North America will be attending on January 12th, in the afternoon or early evening. For example, those on the West Coast will attend at 2pm Pacific. Calibrate accordingly.
This session’s discussion examines what people are actually doing in libraries for gaming events. Ellen asks, “How are you using games in your library? Do you run board game groups? Do you have console based games? How do you encourage people to mix and to play well with others? What ways could games be used in your library?”
Her express intent is to bring people together to share their ideas and hear new ones, and perhaps even find others to collaborate with. Perhaps someone attending can help you develop the germ of an idea into something amazing.
Talks last about half an hour, with time for questions and discussions at the end.
READING IN THE LIBRARY
It’s the middle of summer in Australia, and they have Summer Reading too. This year’s theme is “Scare up a Good Book” and Ellen is testing the waters using WoW’s game setting for a reading discussion. Read something scary in accord with the theme, then log into the game a half hour before the talk about gaming! Share what you read through guild chat, and hear what others have been enjoying. Wouldn’t this be great to try out when summer rolls around again here in the States?
SESSIONS PAST AND FUTURE
Upcoming gaming events are detailed in Ellen’s Games and Public Libraries wiki, with speakers including Infogoddess Beth Gallaway, Peggy Sheehy and Lucas Gillespie talking about the WoW in Schools Project, and my frequent guest blogger M. Brandon Robbins. You can also read transcripts of the past events, including my contribution at the first gathering back in June.