Change in Progress

If you keep up with your professional reading in the paper edition of Library Journal, you now know that I have chosen to step down as LJ’s games guru at the end of the year. (It’s in the issue with a cover date of November 15, 2011, just released.)

I feel that in many ways, what I set out to accomplish almost three years ago, has been accomplished. What I have written, blog and print alike, has helped make gaming in libraries as understandable and logical as having Storytime, the analogy Eli Neiburger (AADL) raisedportrait eli neiburger100 Change in Progress when blazing the trails with his book Gamers…in the Library?!

Many others have contributed to that overall achievement but I think some of my best efforts have been to strip away the unexamined assumptions and negative stereotypes about who and what gamers are, what the preponderance of academic research tells us about the results of someone engaging in gaming as a regular hobby, and introducing people to the rich variety of games that exist beyond Monopoly and Rock Band.

A FRESH VOICE
Games are welcome in most libraries, both for their entertainment value and their ability to foster meaningful learning (especially the important 21st Century learning skills). With the recognition that games have a natural place as a service to our communities, it’s time for me to move on.

Librarians need a fresh voice delivering what LJ is best known for: the nitty-gritty reviews of new releases in all the popular genres, the practical discussion of programming with games, and yes, someone able to continue offering substantive rebuttal to challenges leveled against games. My frequent guest-blogger and ALA Emerging Leader M. Brandon Robbins (WCPL) is level250geekLG Change in Progresstaking up the banner as your voice for gaming in Library Journal, starting in January. I was thrilled to hear he had accepted the post, and could not have wished for a better replacement.

MORE TO COME
I hope to post a few more things here on the blog before the end of the year. I want to draw your attention to the amazing Lemontree Library Game project, and some of the other innovative projects that show “gamification” at its best and brightest (despite “gamification” being a word and practice I mostly disfavor). Phil Minchin, who wrote a great piece about how games might flourish in libraries in Australia last month, has followed up with another guest post about the idea of developing a partnership to offer game downloads the way Overdrive offers e-books to our patrons and customers. And my friend and colleage Brandon Robbins has a look at the state of gaming today, and a vision of its challenges and potentials tomorrow. That will be a fitting round up to the end of my stint here in Library Journal’s pages, so I hope you’ll find time during the crazy holiday season to check in again before I bid you all farewell.

Until then, game on!

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Liz Danforth About Liz Danforth

Liz Danforth, MLS, is a freelance game illustrator, scenario designer, and game developer who was inducted into the Academy of Gaming Arts and Design's Hall of Fame in in 1996. She has 18 years experience as a part-time paralibrarian in Phoenix and Tucson and is one of about a dozen "gaming experts" working with the American Library Association on a million-dollar grant-funded project to study the use of gaming to improve literacy skills and to develop a model "toolbox" for gaming in libraries. Through Danforth Design & Development (D3), she also works as an artist, a writer, and a library consultant. Follow her on Twitter @LizDanforth.

Comments

  1. Stephen M. Schaefer says:

    I’m thankful for the contributions you have made, not as much from a colleague on this website, as an avid board gamer and occasional evangelist for the value and merits of this marvelous hobby. Thank you for being a voice for the wider, lesser-known variety of games, and for seeing in our public library system a network for leveraging the benefits of gaming.

  2. Kelly Czarnecki says:

    Thank you Liz for your contributions here at LJ. I can’t believe it’s been 3 years already! I fully expect you’ll continue making contributions to the library/gaming world even if it’s not through this column any longer. Thank you for sharing so much knowledge here!

  3. Liz Danforth says:

    Thank you, both of you. Kelly, you have done more to make gaming desirable and exciting around the world than I could have hoped to, so I consider your words high praise indeed. And yes, I expect I’ll still be poking my nose in on games and libraries for some time to come… :)

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