Mace Ojala: find 4 game mechanisms at libraries

Mace looking for game-mechanics

As my homework for Cycling for libraries, I’ve chosen to try identify four (4) game-mechanics that operate in the library. I think people are challenge-oriented and reward-driven, and all sorts of games are great tools for thinking about this.

I am strongly inspired by Jane McGonigal’s work, her book Reality is Broken: using games to improve the world – Boing Boing, her presentation at TED Gaming can make a better world, and by the critique she is receiving.

In an earlier conversation on Facebook i have said the following (edited):

I’ve tried to look at the library user regulations as a sort of a game… how we give feedback to users via fines, anxiety etc. I would love to spar this thinking with somebody, i’ve done some comparison on the rhetorics of the user regulations and i think at least many finnish libraries could do a whole lot better!

I’m not sure what i’m talking about but, but i’m spitting this out anyway: are students “gaming the system” when they are borrowing out books for their exams? The sooner they get their books, more likely the books will have reservations and they start running a fee (which they propably want to pay off) before te exam. On the other hand, if they hesitate too long, the books might run out if the libraries they use don’t have enough copies for everybody.

One other thing i’ve notied that library cataloguers delay cataloguing of materials in the hope that somebody else in the library consortia catalogues them first, and then they can just copy them. I’ve witnessed this in especially materials that are “annoying” to catalogue… “The best of Frank Zappa (20 cds, two leaflets, a book, DVD, a popup-book, accesscode to a website plus a poster… you know what i mean). The “damage” from an individual cataloguers point of view is the boss, who nags if library patrons have reservations for the material.

Here are some game mechanics i’ve seen at libraries. What else? I want to look at libraries with a gamer’s mindset?

Mace Ojala
Turku City library, Cycling for libraries etc.

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  1. I’m getting a little pressure on myself and will present at 100. Deutscer Bibliotherartage after Cycling for libraries. A commitment to giving a presentation is a pretty strong motivator 🙂

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