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Scott Nicholson’s Gaming in Libraries Study

Dr. Scott Nicholson from Syracuse University reported – for the first time and ahead of the NYT interview! – the results of his gaming in libraries study.
Based on a survey of 400 randomly selected libraries from a total sample of 9210 NCES libraries, Scott got a 95% response rate.
He reported some of the data today at the ALA Gaming and Learning in Libraries Symposium in Chicago.
Some highlights (all data is plus or minus 5%):
Do you support gaming in your library?
77% of libraries support gaming!
18.5% said no.
(Mostly children’s section with board games and chess clubs as well as public computers to play online and web-based games. It’s nothing new we have always supported recreational activities.)
43% of Libraries run gaming programs.
(For most of the data the trend was that the larger the library, the more likely they have programs.)
90% board games
45% traditional games
24% physical games
21% physical games
20% summer reading
19% card games
7% computer games
4% roleplaying games
4% other
20% of libraries circulated games.
6% circulate console games.
82% of libraries allowed games to be played on the computer.
Support is stronger for analog games.
You can find more about the survey above here.
Unpublished) SurveyMonkey survey
313 libraries (Diverse range: PL, AL, SL, Special and urban, rural, suburban and, small med large)
64.2% circulate PC games
33.6% circulate console games
27.9% circulate board card games
6.4% circulate handheld games
3473 gaming programs run in 2006.
179 unique programs
Average 33 people per program (0ver 90,000 people in this set, 66,000 unique!)
10% were educational games
50% were competitive games
62.71 % were console games
46.63 % were board games
17.42 % were computer games
Sample Types of Games:
Dancing (DDR)
Traditional board
Modern board
Console musical performance
Console racing
Modern card
Console party
Console shooting
And lots of others
There was list of titles of games too.
He presented a list of reported goals of libraries in gaming initiatives:
Added service
Underserved users
Community hub
Culturally significant
Gaining New users
Publicity for library
Introduce users to library services
Developmental assets
New literacies
Top reasons:
1. Attract new and underserved users
2. Build community hub
3. New service for active users
4. Entertainment

What happened?

Library reported outcomes:
Better reputation 78%
Repeat visits 76%
New connections between users 75%
Used other services 68%
Improved social connections between library anad users 66%
Additional publicity for library 50%
Users request more services that are participatory 42%
plus many more positive outcomes!
(Although 10% reported some annoyance with other patrons. 1/2% reported reputation suffered.)
Conclusion: These are popular and positive programs for libraries.
Scott reported that this census will be repeated in 2008.
You’ll be able to find the report here soon.
Oooooo – I’ve already got a hard copy! Nyaahhh.
And our prize at the session was a copy of Wits and Wagers board game. Wheee! It was like being in Oprah’s audience.
Syracuse will be building a gaming research lab as well as a 3 credit graduate level course in Gaming for Libraries in 2008. Scott is writing a book about this too.
One topic that came up in the questions was inter-generational gaming programs as an idea.

Posted on: July 22, 2007, 4:15 pm Category: Uncategorized

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