Wednesday, January 9, 2008

We be playing!

No, wait -- this is serious business. We're answerable to the taxpayers -- we shouldn't be playing!


Sure we're serious and accountable, but that doesn't preclude fun. Playfulness has come into our library workplace in several respects, and in a very mindful way. We're trying some new things; we'll keep what's valuable and let go of what isn't, but I'm glad we're not afraid to try. We're "playing" in several respects:
  1. Adult programming - a recent local newspaper article was titled "Board games bring families together" and it's true. But they bring other people together as well -- you don't have to be family to enjoy playing games. Consistent with the library's role in recreation and as a place for people to gather, we're having a board game session for adults. It will probably be mostly Monopoly and Scrabble, but if it takes off, I may have to bring in Settlers of Catan or Carcassonne -- the favorites at my house.
  2. Young adult programming - with video-games. Like many other libraries, we're trying video games for YA programming. Though controversial in some quarters, there's considerable evidence about the value of gaming for learning and socialization. We're fortunate that our system, OWLS, has purchased some game systems for member libraries to try, so we can test this for our community without capitalizing the equipment. Of course, the staff had to try it out -- tennis on the Wii is great exercise, and I actually won a few games (before younger, fitter, librarians learned the hardware and trounced me) -- w00t! Will we try the games with the adults? Maybe not guitar hero...
  3. Project Play - is Wisconsin's multi-system implementation of the widespread "Learning 2.0" curriculum. Several of our staff participated in the first semester, which I missed as the registration rolls were filled, but I've been reading along for the last several months and was able to join the second semester. As I pick up some 2.0 pointers, I'll discuss them here, but I like the motto: "Play more. Learn more. Fear less."
I won't think we're too playful until we start throwing books around -- it's not like throwing fish, after all.

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