in Gaming, Libraries/Info Sci

Gaming at ALA Midwinter 2008


I wanted to post about this while the conference was ongoing, but couldn’t quite fit it in. Staffing the gaming booth kept me much busier than I expected. Along with Jenny Levine and Matt Roach, we demoed and instructed people on the games countless times and answered even more questions about them. And like Jenny mentioned, Nintendo and Sony are missing out big time by not exhibiting at these events. If I could have sold Wiis, Guitar Hero and DDR setups on commission all weekend I could take the rest of the year off – people were constantly asking to buy them from us.

But yes, it all went very well! Some people were a bit skeptical of the validity of gaming in a library setting, but I think we won most of them over after some conversations. And absolutely nobody was outright hostile to the idea, something that has changed dramatically in the last couple of years.

What really struck me was the diversity of people who played a round or two. We had young children of conference attendees, some retirees, and every age in between. Some were hardcore gamers, others completely new to the concept. Some conference center security guards even stopped by for a while, though we didn’t manage to convince them to play.

Being out in the registration hall this time instead of the crowded exhibit floor was a good move. We still had large crowds of passersby, but didn’t have to worry about annoying neighboring vendors. The same games (and probably more) will also be available to play at Annual in Anaheim this summer, so be sure to check it out!

We also got some great press on gaming in libraries from the Philadelphia Inquirer’s website, including an editorial by ALA President Loriene Roy and some video footage. I’m interviewed a bit in the latter, which is pretty cool but I always hate watching myself on video. I’m just glad they didn’t catch me playing DDR!