Friday, March 17, 2006

Gaming @ the library... Integrating gaming into what we do

I just sent an e-mail to Sarah Handgraaf, one of the Web Content Team members, because another library is getting ready to launch a readers' blog, and they contacted me to know who they could talk to about our Readers' Corner blog. Well, that's Ms. H.

And in reply, I received this out-of-office reply from Sarah...

"I am assisting with the Spring Break Gaming Tournament all day on Friday, March 17 and will be away from my computer. Please e-mail the JCL-Web Content Team at if you have web-related requests. Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Visit for more info on the tourney!"

Ok...I know the tournament's going on, but something about this out-of-office reply warmed my heart..First of all, I love that now it feels like gaming is just what we do. Maybe not all the time, but occasionally--particularly during school breaks. I also thought it was really cool that Sarah put this info in her out-of-office assistant. 1. It's just good customer service. And I appreciate that she wanted her colleagues to know that she won't turn things around /reply as lickity-split as normal since she's at the tourney rather than burning up her keyboard. 2. I loved that she provided a link to information about the tournament and gaming in general. It helps to promote what we're doing to staff, patrons, community members, colleagues, Sarah's friends and family, everyone who happens to e-mail her today. I really like the idea of looking for every nook and cranny that we can use to help promote what we're doing and why, and use all those spaces to our advantage.

Finally, it reminded me of the very quickly traveled, but sometimes bumpy road we took to get gaming into our library...

Step 1. Less than four months ago we were trying to get the right people around the table to figure out how we could best incorporate gaming into our library through some sort of pilot project.

Step 2. We send three cool staff members (Atabong, Sarah, and Chris) to the Gaming in Libraries Symposium in Chicago.

Step 3. The JoCoLibrary Gaming Group of youth services, administrators, IT, and Web folks gels, and they pull of a really cool Gaming Tournament over winter break that gets terrific press on television and in the KC Star. Most importantly, we had rave reviews from the youth participants.

Step 4. Gaming starts to be more integrated into what we do...I'm not saying there weren't a lot of bumps between step 3 and 4, or that gaming is now totally integrated, or that all staff "get it," or even that the staff that do "get it" are sure that gaming is a better ROI than other programs. But today I realized that all of a sudden Xbox tournaments with really nifty big-screen plasma TVs, monster-sized projection screens, lots o' noise coming out of the meeting room, and tons of teenage boys in the library all seem like just another day in the life.... it's divine.

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