June 11, 2011

Library videogame collections: Leveling up

It's incredible how quickly 6 months goes by. Just last January, we had the first meeting for the 2011 ALA Emerging Leaders (EL), and now it's just about time for the poster session at ALA 2011 in NOLA.

For those not familiar with EL, it's a selective program in ALA to give future leaders in the organization an opportunity to work on projects that will potentially contribute to the organization and/or the profession. You need to apply over the summer to be selected for the following year. This year, I believe 83 ELs are in the program. It meets first at ALA Midwinter for the year, and then you work virtually for the following months with your group on your assigned project. For project assignments, there is a voting system, so you choose which projects interest you the most, and then arrangements are made from there. Then, at the Annual conference, you participate in a poster session, with hopefully more opportunities opening up after that.

I lucked out and have been on the highly coveted Team G, where we have researched videogame collections in libraries. My teammates are Erik Bobilin, Abby Johnson, Kate Kosturski, and Jonathan Lu. And our project mentors are Buffy Hamilton, Justin Hoenke, Jenny Levine, and JP Porcaro (Justin and JP originated the project after having a lot of success with their blog, 8bitlibrary).

Much of our work is breaking new ground because there currently isn't anything formal in place yet since videogames are still relatively new to libraries. We have created a best practices collection development policy guide for libraries with videogame collections, compiled sample MARC records, and will be posting recommended resources and an extensive bibliography to support developing a policy.

>>Check out our info site here!<<

Some of us will be continuing into a phase II in this research to create better data and explore topics such as socially responsible selection (I am very interested in this). My personal interests also relate to the persuasiveness of videogames (as Ian Bogost writes about), and how this might also relate to selection decisions.

So, why should you check out our poster at the EL Poster Session and/or ALAplay 2011?
  • It will be fun! Although we have accomplished some serious stuff, our project is also really fun
  • Videogames are important in every kind of library, so this project should be relevant to you whether you play or not. Games influence:
    • Learning
    • Socialization
    • Culture
    • And in academic libraries specifically, games can support the curriculum indirectly (learning about narrative structure, physics, history) or directly (preparing videogame industry employees, teaching about technology)
We hope we'll see you there, come and say hi! 

**And for those unable to attend the conference, we will also have all of our research online, available soon in our ALA Connect space.