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Rethinking the Library Game: Creating an Alternate Reality with Social Media
ARTICLE

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Journal of Web Librarianship Volume 5, Number 2, ISSN 1932-2909

Abstract

In recent years, libraries have made efforts to create games, often for the purpose of information literacy instruction. Games can provide an interactive alternative to traditional instruction by introducing research tools and resources while also teaching problem solving skills within a collaborative learning environment. Despite the benefits, the limited resources of most libraries make it difficult to build games that appeal to a generation of students accustomed to games like World of Warcraft. It is a challenge to find a balance between the right format and the available skills and assets. The desire to create an engaging game within the confines of existing resources led the University of Alabama Libraries to create the Web-based alternate reality game Project Velius. Serving the research needs of faculty and more than 30,000 students, the University Libraries are a vital part of Alabama's oldest public university. University of Alabama librarians leveraged popular social media sites and applications, including Facebook and YouTube, along with the story-driven alternate reality game format, to build a game that would engage undergraduate students. The game's two main goals were to provide informal information literacy instruction and highlight important library resources, balanced with the desire to provide a fun and interesting game experience. In the creation and execution of Project Velius, the librarians-turned-game developers learned much about this new medium, including the complexity of writing a compelling story, the importance of precisely tracking player progress, and the need for an easily re-playable game. Looking forward, the successes and shortcomings of this initial project will guide the plans and, through this article, hopefully help colleagues understand some of the challenges and rewards. (Contains 4 figures.)

Citation

Battles, J., Glenn, V. & Shedd, L. (2011). Rethinking the Library Game: Creating an Alternate Reality with Social Media. Journal of Web Librarianship, 5(2), 114-131. Retrieved January 19, 2021 from .

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