Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Thing 15 -- Online Games and Libraries

My library system fairly recently held a workshop focusing on gaming and libraries, and Thing 15 provided a bit more information about the role of online gaming in people's lives and its place in the library. On a philosophical note, I think that the great interest and myriad applications of Web 2.0 technologies are changing the way that people seek information, interaction, and involvement in projects. I also believe that increasingly, companies, higher education institutes, and service organizations are going to expect applicants to have the ability to collaborate not only in traditional ways but also in online environments--and many of the MMORPG's (I learned a new acronym!) offer creative and fun way to develop online collaborative problem-solving and communication skills. Many teens and younger adults are already excited about gaming and are coming to use library computers for gaming; I believe that offering and supporting gaming opportunities in the library will continue to draw in new library patrons and will also expose them to other library services as well.

For this Thing, I opted to learn a bit more about Second Life. I was particularly interested in learning more about Info Island, as well as the Eye4You Alliance Island in Teen Second Life, as I think that providing library services in a virtual world is an innovative way to extend services and provide learning opportunities. From the statistics, it seems that a good number of people are visiting the information services islands; however, I would have been intererested in more specific information about how people were using the islands, what sorts of information they were looking for, etc. Although it was a hefty document, I did find a bit more of what I was looking for in "A Report on the of the First Year of Operation of the Alliance Second Life Library 2.0 Project Also Known as the Alliance Information Archipelago" here. (I especially noted p. 25, which estimated that 30% of the reference questions asked pertained to Second Life, another 30% to Info Island, and 30% were traditional reference questions.). I also was impressed with the ways in which teen volunteers were getting involved in the Eye4You Alliance Island project. My library is in the early planning stages of our next long-range plan; one thing I would like to see included is starting a Teen Advisory Group at our library.

No comments: