Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on March 3, 2009 - 9:27am
When a new trend emerges and grows as quickly as gaming in libraries has, those of us who weren't involved at an early stage can sometimes feel like they've been left behind. In all likelihood, there are librarians all over the country who have heard about the growing role that gaming is playing in many libraries and would like to expand its role in their own libraries as well, but just don't know how to get started.
ALA has created a fantastic new resource for just that type of librarian. The Librarian's Guide to Gaming: An Online Toolkit for Building Gaming @ Your Library is now available online. If you are looking to get gaming off the ground at your library, this is a one-stop-shop that will get you going in a hurry.
The toolkit will not only tell you how to implement gaming in your library and what resources are available; it can help you answer that all-important why question. On the web page, you'll a wealth of material that can help you understand how gaming as a library service as evolved, and why it has become such an important role for many facilities.
You can read a concise history of gaming in libraries, while the Literacy 101 page help illustrate how gaming is an important learning tool that facilitates reading, learning and technical skills. Even if you already understand why Gaming is important or useful, the toolkit can help you find talking points and concise statements that will help you make the case for a gaming program in your library.
Librarians can also use the toolkit to learn about the practical, nuts-and-bolts actions you'll need to take to launch a program. In addition to a jam-packed tools and resources page, the best practices links you to inspirational real-world examples from around the country that show librarians putting their plans into action. You'll find detailed information about the implementation of "model programs" from all sorts of different libraries designed to serve a wide variety of age groups. There is information about how each program has been funded, what resources were used to launch it, and you can even go to the evaluation and assessment page to find tools that help you measure the impact of your program.
Perhaps the best thing about this toolkit is its versatility. You may not be able to apply every tool to your situation, but there is something for everyone. Whether you work in a public, academic or school library, and regardless of what age group of population you are trying to serve, there is something in this toolkit that can help.