Libraries ain't what they used to be...and that's a very good thing. At the college where I teach, our new librarian willingly gave up his own office (it was actually his idea) to create more community space for events like gamer nights, coffee-house style discussion groups, and trading card sessions. This trend is clearly spreading, and more librarians than ever are thinking hard about gaming and other new media and their impact on teaching, learning, and the acquisition and distribution of knowledge and information.
One such librarian is Jenny Levine, whose blog The Shifted Librarian can be counted on to track the ever-changing ways libraries are responding to the cascade of change brought on by all forms of electronic media (thanks to GameSetWatch for the heads-up on Jenny). She has spoken throughout the country on technology and libraries, and she's the author of Gaming and Libraries: Intersection of Services, in volume 42 of Library Technology Reports. This week she will present a session on gaming at the Internet Librarian Conference in Monterey CA. Notably, that conference concludes with a keynote address entitled "Gaming, Learning, & the Information World" delivered by Elizabeth Lane Lawley, Director of the Rochester Institute of Technology Lab for Social Computing.
So yes, these librarians are serious about games. And they're not the only ones.
This past July the American Library Association and the Association of College & Research Libraries held the first annual Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium in Chicago. You can view the program and click to see each section, including handouts and slides. Many of the sessions were recorded, and these can be downloaded in mp3 format. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that a group of librarians would leave behind such a well-organized and easily accessible archive of its activities. As a gamer who is also a teacher, I'm grateful for their effort.
Library Success is a best practices wiki designed to encourage librarians to share their experiences and success stories. The Gaming section of the blog contains many helpful resources including books, journal articles and tips, as well as listings of libraries hosting gaming programs, libraries that circulate games, and libraries that help develop games.
Game On: Games in Libraries is a blog devoted to keeping librarians up to date on gaming related news and information. It is a supplement to the Google LibGaming listserv, a forum for discussion of gaming in libraries.
And, of course, there's the Library of Congress. Many sites have reported on the collaboration underway between the LoC and several major universities to preserve the rich history of video games. My favorite is a terrific feature written by Mark Wilson for Kotaku that includes comments from several people at the center of this vital effort.
Hey, gamer, when was the last time you hugged a librarian?