Saturday, June 28, 2008

Librarians Study Video Games

The American Library Association received a $1 million grant from Verizon Foundation to study how electronic gaming can be used to improve problem-solving and literacy skills. The unique 'Gaming for Learning' Project will develop metrics and models for libraries.

The American Library Association (ALA) will launch an innovative project to track and measure the impact of gaming on literacy skills and build a model for library gaming that can be deployed nationally. Funding for the project will be provided by a $1 million grant from the Verizon Foundation.

The announcement took place at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Anaheim, CA in late June, 2008.

"Gaming is a magnet that attracts library users of all types and, beyond its entertainment value, has proven to be a powerful tool for literacy and learning," said ALA President Loriene Roy. "Through the Verizon Foundation's gift, ALA's gaming for learning project will provide the library community with vital information and resources that will model and help sustain effective gaming programs and services."

As part of the grant, the American Library Association will work directly with 12 leading gaming experts to document the use of gaming as a literacy tool and monitor the results of gaming initiatives. The information will be used to build The Librarians' Guide to Gaming, a comprehensive, online literacy and gaming toolbox that will then be field-tested by additional libraries.

The experts creating the best practices during the initial phase are from the following libraries:

Ann Arbor District Library, Ann Arbor, Mich.;
Public Library of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, Charlotte, N.C.;
Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, Ohio;
Georgetown County Library, Georgetown, S.C.;
Minneapolis Public Library, Minneapolis, Minn.;
Old Bridge Public Library, Fords, N.J.;
Pima County Public Library, Tucson, Ariz.;
Reidland High School, Paducah, Ky.;
School Library System of Genesee Valley BOCES, Le Roy, N.Y.;
The New York Public Library, New York;
Todd Wehr Library, De Pere, Wis.;
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Ill.

"In today's technology-driven world, where learning does not stop at the classroom, the role of libraries in supporting literacy and learning is more critical than ever before," said Verizon Foundation President Patrick Gaston. "Gaming for learning presents a tremendous opportunity for libraries to further literacy skills in children as well as adults."

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