By: Diane Stirling
(315) 443-8975

Associate Professor Scott Nicholson will be speaking on the possibilities of gaming in libraries and the gamification of information literacy at an International School Libraries Network event for librarians from around the world when he travels to Singapore this week.

His talk is designed to raise awareness about meaningful gamification, and to help librarians and their patrons find connections to libraries and motivations for engaging with libraries  without needing to concoct reward systems to encourage involvement, he explained.

“Libraries are these places of play and engagement and creation, and always have been,” said the professor, who is known for his game creation work and for his Because Play Matters game research lab at the School of Information Studies (iSchool).

Libraries As Dessert

As Nicholson sees it, the services that libraries provide are reward enough in and of themselves, and librarians should feel confident that the services they offer are satisfying to patrons. “Libraries should think of themselves as the dessert and not the vegetable. You don’t have to reward people for eating the dessert,” he quipped in analogy. “Reading is a form of play for the mind. We shouldn’t have to incentivize people to engage in something that’s supposed to be play.”

Nicholson said he is looking forward to meeting school librarians and librarians from other fields from a wide range of countries, since the event is being hosted by an Australian school in an international setting.

Cultural Explorations

That is an experience he’ll find interesting in terms of his own research, he said, particularly since “many of the messages and explorations I have done have been focused on U.S. audiences. Attitudes about games abroad can be very different than those in the U.S., so every chance I have to learn about how games are seen in culture and society is an interesting discussion.” For instance, there is a lot of concern in Asian countries about game addiction, Nicholson explained, but “games can actually be used for good, and having discussions about the power of games and play can be productive, while still being sensitive to the cultures people are representing.”

The professor will be in Singapore for about 10 days, and during that time, also will be consulting with other government organizations while in the area.

More information about the event is here.