State of Academic Library Gaming & Learning

The following is an email I sent out to various academic librarians working on gaming and learning in libraries, with a focus on information literacy. I hope that by posting it here and as others post their responses on their own sites this discussion will grow. Please join in this conversation. Nicholas Schiller has already added his thoughts to the dialog.

I hope this email finds each of your semesters going well. I want to ask each of you to consider taking part in a dialog about the current position of games for learning within higher education libraries. Recently, I was asked what the most innovative application of gaming in academic libraries was in 2008 year. While I turned to the work of many of you, I was struck by how fewer projects there were compared to 2006 and 2007. This perception played out through many of conferences during 2008 and was something that struck me during GLLS in November.

While more and more libraries are getting involved with gaming through events and even collections, are we seeing the same growth and adoption with gaming and instruction? Has gaming and learning hit a wall within higher education? If so why? If not, where is it evolving?

Each of you has had some part over the last few years researching, producing, and presenting instructional games and applying gaming strategies in academic libraries. Creating gaming nights is a straightforward process. Creating learning games and lessons with gaming strategies on the other hand, is an involved (and sometimes time consuming and/or expensive) creative process. But many of you are doing it on a variety of levels. My question is if our work is spreading or are we just talking to ourselves?

Now is the time to ask questions, discuss, and look to the future. Nick and Mary both have gaming presentations/posters at ACRL at the end of the month. But these are the only two gaming sessions in Seattle. According to the early program for this year's LOEX conference, there are no sessions on gaming and instruction. There are a number of gaming sessions at ALA Annual, but most are focused on public libraries. Where do we fit?

Discussion Questions:
1) What is the current state of games and learning in academic libraries?
2) What are some of the factors to that current state?
3) Based on your experience and research, what are the next steps?
4) What are the factors supporting or preventing those "next steps?"
5) What do the finical and economic situations at many institutions mean for instructional gaming in libraries?
6) What other issues/questions should we be considering?

Thank you all for taking the time to consider taking part in this discussion. I know that there is much work to still be done in our field, but I am hopeful that through collaborations like these we can continue to move forward.

Thank you,
Paul Waelchli