• Gaming the Library

    How can libraries incorporate gaming and gamification into their services? Join this talkathon, brainstorming session, scrum to generate ideas. The Library as Hackerspace has gaming as a core component. And how do we follow the lead of social networks like Steam, Foursquare, Untappd, GetGlue, and Fitocracy by implementing game mechanics such as Achievements, User Points, and Badges to increase user engagement, quality, and ROI? Help plan the library of the future!

1 Comment

  1. 1. Devise an actual core game, with rules, systems, interesting choices and dilemmas, rewards, etc. Gamifying isn’t just about tossing achievements into things — it’s about building systems which engage. What’s the purpose of the game? Is it to get kids to read? To get them to read MORE? To get them to read certain books, think about certain ideas? Figure that out first, and go from there. Designing a simple game when you have a straightforward idea isn’t all that hard.

    2. Don’t get hung up on badges and competition. There are many different kinds of games, and the “highest score” games aren’t necessarily always the best.

    3. Try to step away from real-world rewards. Candy and trinkets only go so far. Define your game first, and then try to think about what constitutes a reward within that framework. Think about Mario: a game where you have to overcome platforming challenges with a limited amount of lives. If you go the extra mile of collecting coins? Extra lives! Hitting question blocks? Super-powers! Temporary invulnerability! You want to set up a challenge which is JUST too hard or JUST too out-of-reach, and then offer rewards for solid attempts which make actually attaining it easier.

    4. Don’t be afraid to make them lose. Think about loss. Incorporate it into the game. If someone doesn’t meet a goal — what happens to them next? “They don’t win” isn’t good enough.

    5. Get them playing TOGETHER. It’s not always about the individual. Try to get into this headspace: kids reading books together. Kids making quizzes for other kids. Kids writing for other kids; kids reading other kids’ writing. Kids writing reviews — other kids using those reviews to decide what book they want to read next. Think about how adult reading communities actually function, and then think about how to make that into a game that appeals to children.

    For my part, I think the best way would be to go a route like Amazon’s book-ranking algorithms. Suss out a simple system which allows kids to read, rate, and review books, make those ratings and reviews really visible, rank books according to them, make kids who rate/review more often (or “best”, as voted by other children) more influential. Offer some kind of “Kids’ Pick Board”. Set up events around books that make the KPB. Make the KPB top five the big centerpiece books of a summer reading program. That kind of thing.

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