“[Scott] Nicholson, an associate professor in the School of Information Studies, recently received a $5,000 grant from Gaylord Brothers, a library supply company located in Syracuse, to begin building a portable library game lab. Money from the grant will specifically go toward purchasing projectors, consoles, screens, accessories and games, Nicholson said.
‘This was a great way for Gaylord to support Syracuse University, the community and gaming libraries in general,; said Henry Orr, director of business development at Gaylord. He also noted that the credit for the grant should go to Gaylord’s President and CEO Guy Marhewka….
Nicholson’s goal is to explore the implications of offering gaming as a library service. Additionally, he hopes to study the entire gaming experience and how gaming will change the attitudes of students toward the library.
‘Gaming activities are like the new coffee shop in Bird Library; it’s not about the coffee so much as the social atmosphere it creates,’ Nicholson said….
‘Gaming is currently the wild, wild west of libraries,’ Orr said….
The Library Game Lab project will occur in three main phases, depending on the availability of outside funding. Nicholson has been working on the first phase of the project for the past year, working with students to survey libraries and how they view gaming….
The project’s current phase, to create a portable library game lab, will be followed by the next phase, to increase awareness about the project.
‘With this project, I will travel to library conferences and expose librarians to the spectrum of games, talk about what types of games are best for certain demographic groups with libraries and collect more data about what is happening,’ Nicholson said.
The third and final phase of the project will be to set up research projects, which will explore how the different types of games relate to different types of people.
‘This will be the ongoing life of the lab – to analyze new games and game types, to recommend the best games for different goals and demographic groups and to work with industry to help them create gaming experiences more suited for a library/school setting,’ Nicholson said.
Nicholson said as soon as he is able to secure more funding to build the program, he hopes to start aggressively drawing in students to help with the project. So far he has relied heavily on volunteers to help with research and promoting the program. In addition, Nicholson is teaching a graduate-level iSchool class in May on gaming in libraries, and it has already received considerable student interest.
There has been both support and criticism from the Syracuse community at large regarding the Library Game Lab, but Nicholson said the key is getting people to understand that this is not about ‘first person shooters,’ but rather about ‘understanding how gaming works as a service and how libraries and schools can be engaged.’ ” [The Daily Orange]