Welcome to the information page for Scott Nicholson’s work on Games in Libraries. This page is an archive of the work that was done from 2007-2011 on the topic of Games in Libraries through the Library Game Lab of Syracuse. This game lab has now transformed into Because Play Matters, and you can find up-to-date information on that site. The goal of Because Play Matters is to create transformative games and play for informal learning spaces, so while this does include libraries, it is a broader focus than that of the Library Game Lab.
Gaming in Libraries Course
In 2009, Scott Nicholson taught a one-month Gaming in Libraries course for Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies. This course consisted of 30 videos that were released via YouTube. It created a space where library students, librarians, and gamers came together to discuss and learn more about how games can be used in libraries. Thousands have viewed the videos from this course over the years, but the original YouTube videos were deleted from Syracuse’s account. The course, and a paper that Dr. Nicholson wrote about the course called “Inviting the world into the online classroom: Teaching a gaming in libraries course via YouTube.Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 51(4)”, resulted in an innovation award for 2011 by ALISE and a best conference paper award.
Scott has reloaded the videos so that those interested in gaming in libraries can continue to learn from the course content. The easiest way to watch the course is through the YouTube Gaming in Libraries Course Playlist where you can view all of the videos or just one at time, or you can watch them right here:
Everyone Plays at the Library: Creating Great Gaming Experiences for All Ages
This book, published by Information Today, contains guides, frameworks, reviews, and tools for any sort of library wanting to use a variety of games in their programs. Gaming in libraries can be more than video games and teenagers, and this book guides libraries to creating the best gaming program for their needs. It helps librarians start with the goals of their library and move into creating engaging experiences that can be assessed back to those goals. A sample chapter is available and the book can be ordered through Information Today in print and e-book formats.
Articles about Gaming in Libraries
During the years, Scott wrote a number of articles about gaming in libraries. He was a regular columnist for Digitale Bibliotheek on the topic. Most of these writings are available online:
Nicholson, S. (2011). Crossed Paths. (A free interactive storytelling game for libraries or schools). Originally created for the talk, Engagement through Games: Reaching Library Users through Playful Ways. Keynote for 2011 Minnesota Library Association annual conference. Duluth, Minnesota.
The Games in Libraries podcast ran from 2008-2010. The archives of the Games in Libraries podcast can still be found in iTunes and individual entries for each podcast entry are in the Games in Libraries Podcast Blog below.
The Games in Libraries podcast is no longer being produced.
If you are looking to learn more about Games in Libraries, here are several resources:
Scott Nicholson wrote “Everyone Plays at the Library” as a book version of his traveling workshop for librarians. It explores all types of games and all levels of patrons, and you can find the book at Information Today.
Welcome to the May 2011 episode of the Games in Libraries podcast. In this episode, we talk about the NYPL’s Find the Future event, interview Major Nelson, review Shake-n-Take, talk about a national Smash Brothers tournament, and more!
Get this episode from the Internet Archive (Right Click and Save)
– or visit its home at the to have it streamed to your computer.
On this episode:
1:15 Donald on purchasing games for schools and libraries from Fantasy Flight Games.
3.05 Eli Neiburger on a new way of doing Smash Bro’s Qualifiers for large groups, and National Gaming Day.
11:20 Scott Nicholson on dexterity games; specifically Sorry Sliders and the new Crokinole
17:05 Jamie Jayroe and Donald give tips for using and maintaining the XBOX 360 hard drive
25:10 Brian Mayer on how board games provide different types of experiences.
35:00 Thomas Edgar on Magic: the Gathering
ALA Open Gaming Night
Friday, June 25, 2010
7:30pm – 10:00pm
Renaissance Ballroom at the Renaissance Hotel
Play a variety of games and meet others interested in gaming
Hosted by the Games and Gaming Members Initiative Group and
Sponsored by Information Today and Neal-Schuman
Note: In the ALA program, there is a meeting listed for the GGMIG at
10:00 AM GRAND Constitution E. We won’t have that meeting, since our
program is at 10:30. Instead, we will have our GGMIG meeting after the conclusion of the 10:30am program.
Leveling up Library Gaming: A Partnership Perspective
Saturday, June 26 – 10:30am – 12:00pm
Washington Convention Center -145B
Hosted by the Games and Gaming Members Initiative Group
Book Signing with Scott Nicholson
“Everyone Plays at the Library: Creating Great Gaming Experiences for All Ages”
Information Today Booth
Saturday, June 26, 1:00-2:00 pm
PLA President’s Program
Featuring Will Shortz,
Enigmatologist-New York Times Puzzle Master
Sunday, June 27,
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Donald Dennis and Jamie Jayroe of the Georgetown County Library System SC BYTES Project talks about what their library did for National Gaming Day @ Your Library, and discusses lessons learned about what got people excited.
JJ Lanza, on his RPG101 segment, talks about how he worked with the Wood County Public Library in Bowling Green, Ohio to run a roleplaying game. He ran the Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game starter set, and more information about that can be found at http://tinyurl.com/dndstarterset/
Beth Gallaway talks about how the Mashpee, Massachusetts Public Library used an interesting survey idea on National Gaming Day to get ideas from library patrons about board and video games for collection development.
Greg Carlson and others from the Jacaranda Library, Sarasota County Libraries in Sarasota, Florida present some of the innovative things they are doing to engage the community with chess. You can join in the game at http://sclibs.net/chess.aspx
Eli Neiburger presents the results from the video game tournaments for National Gaming Day 2009.
Eli Neiburger presents the structures that libraries can be involved with for NGD. He’s hosting these three events:
– Rock Band High Score Contest. Any version, any song. Log score through http://wiki.gtsystem.org
– Super Smash Brothers Brawl Bracket. 3PM Eastern Four libraries per pool, players play off and get points. Top two libraries advance. Libraries must be able to play online. E-mail at email@example.com to sign up.
– Mario Kart Wii tournament. SUNDAY, Nov. 15 (day after NGD). E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
Welcome to the Games in Libraries podcast! (I realize now that I screwed up in my introduction and called it the “Gaming in Libraries” podcast – that was the name of my free Gaming in Libraries course, so now the two are all mixed up in my head!)
Donald Dennis of the Georgetown County Library System SC BYTES Project talks with Ron Brown from the University of South Carolina and his graduate assistant, Thomas Maluck, about how video games have an impact on real-life situations.
Beth Gallaway reviews the book, Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks