Wednesday, July 7, 2010

World of Warcraft library seminar

24 June saw 31 one people assemble outside the Stormwind Keep. These people, via their human, dwarf, gnome, draenei and night elf toons were turning up for the first ever library seminar or conference in World of Warcraft (well, we think it was the first).

The participants came from Australia, New Zealand and the USA to hear Liz Danforth who write the Games, gamers & gaming blog for the American Library Association, Scott Nicholson Associate Professor at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University and expert on board games, Adam Beck from the Central Arkansas Library System and Peggy Sheehy, a teacher from Suffern, NY talk about games and libraries.

Note toons is the accepted term for the online figures which are used in World of Warcraft. Stormwind Keep in part of the human city of Stormwind. The seminar participants also travelled to Ironforge, the stronghold of the dwarves and home of the exile gnome leadership. The seminar mostly took part in the Stormwind Library and the Ironforge Library.

Liz Danforth provided an introduction to massively multi online games and some considerations for their use in libraries

Adam told us about his library is using World of Warcraft to engage with the community and teach skills. Quite a few of the new players wanted to sign up for his classes.

Peggy talked about how some schools are using World of Warcraft to teach students a range of life skills and seeking ways to help “at risk” students.

Scott Nicoholson provided a crucial contrast by talking about the use of board games. He highlighted the importance of not defining a target age group as often whole families or other groups of mixed ages would come to libraries for board game events. Board games have relatively low start up costs and no maintenance costs.

Transcripts of the day are available. This wiki will be used to discuss games and libraries, so you might want to join the wiki to participate in the discussion.

Although I write "talked about" the seminar was done using instant messaging. A guild was set up so that guild communication could be used. You can see the guild page. Note not all the members of the guild are visible as quite a few had not reached level 10.

One seminar was not enough time to cover all the discussions which need to take place about how libraries can use games. It provided an environment where it was easy to have an international discussion, and this provided a lot of benefit.

We will be having future meeting in World of Warcraft to discuss library use of games. You will need to set up an Alliance toon (human, dwarf, gnome, draenei or night elf) in Saurfang and join the guild. The easiest way to to this is to turn up early for the next talk. The talks could take place in any massively multiple online game, they just happen to take place in World of Warcraft. Other venues will be explored in the future.