November 21, 2017

Virtually There | Product Spotlight

Public interest in virtual reality (VR) technology is on the rise. People can view VR apps on the latest smartphones using headsets as inexpensive as the $12.99 Google Cardboard. And high-end, PC-driven head-mounted displays are now available for $600 or less, with a growing number of realistic games or educational “field trip” applications available to transport users from their living rooms and classrooms into immersive environments.

The Future of Reading | Designing the Future

While reading is often thought of as a solitary activity, some of our best book experiences can be social. That shared story­telling experience, says Bob Stein, creator of the Institute for the Future of the Book, is coming to traditional books in a transformative way.

Pure Escapism | Programs That Pop

What do you do with an old storage room? With the help of a grant, around 40 kids, four months, and a lot of hard work and creativity, the Morton-James Public Library was able to transform a nondescript storage area into a real-life immersive puzzle game—­Nebraska City’s first escape room (and the first escape room in the world built by kids, as far as we can tell).

The Pros of Cons

With a slew of superheroes getting the big screen treatment in recent years, comic books are gaining even more cachet as a cultural touchstone. Big-budget blockbusters and critically acclaimed TV spin-offs have helped to spawn a new generation of comic book fans and reignited the spark in former readers, while alternative titles bring in fans who aren’t the superhero type (see “Picture the Possibilities,” LJ 6/15/16, p. 30ff.). Meanwhile, sf has long since gained mainstream acceptance without losing its ability to stir deep devotion (witness the plethora of Doctor Who merchandise), and anime and manga are reaching ever-larger portions of the American populace, particularly among teens and new adults. Board and card games, too, are seeing a dramatic resurgence in popularity alongside their high-tech counterparts, and once under-the-radar fanfiction and fan art are now far more widely known and accepted.

The Human Connection | The Digital Shift 2015

Libraries may be going digital, but librarians still bring—and need—that personal touch. On October 14, Library Journal and School Library Journal’s virtual conference, The Digital Shift, Libraries Connecting Communities, aptly demonstrated this in a wide range of offerings throughout the day-long event.

Game Design Proves Popular at Orange County Center

Since its grand opening in February 2014, the Orange County Library System’s (OCLS) Dorothy Lumley Melrose Center for Technology, Innovation, and Creativity has offered patrons access to high-tech tools ranging from 3-D printers to flight simulators. In the past year and a half, the center, located in the library’s central branch in Orlando, FL, has become a locus of creativity within the community, helping patrons connect and collaborate with others who share their interests. Ormilla Vengersammy, Melrose Center manager and Technology and Education Department Head for OCLS, described the center’s growing video game design program as one such example.

Biodiversity Heritage Library Launches Crowdsourcing Games

The Purposeful Gaming and BHL project recently launched its first two browser-based video games, Smorball and Beanstalk. Both are designed to offer players a fun online diversion while helping the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) enable full-text searching of digitized materials. Funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which was awarded in December 2013, the project is exploring how games might be used to entice people to participate in crowdsourcing efforts at libraries and museums.

Gaming Basics: Not Just for Boys Anymore

By Shawn McCann Not Just for Boys Anymore Picture a videogame player. What do you see? Ten or 15 years ago, the question might have evoked an image of an adolescent boy, probably in a basement somewhere, parked zombie-like in front of the television. This stereotype simply doesn’t hold true anymore; today’s gamers span all […]

Coinage

Q. What’s a Larchiveum (L-archiv-eum)? A. The (imaginary) combination library/archive/museum that might collect massively multiplayer online (MMO) games, which often involve interactive role-playing. Credit for this coinage goes to Megan Winget (pictured) of the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Information, recently awarded a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to […]

Nintendo Donates 21 Wiis To Encourage Use at Libraries

Game-maker Nintendo is donating 21 Wiis (valued at $250 each) to encourage library gaming. The recipients are the Alpena County Library, MI; Free Library of Philadelphia; Pasco County Library, FL; Ann Arbor District Library, MI; New York Public Library; and American Library Association (ALA), which will use its Wii at various events to promote library […]