8BitLibrarian Allen McGinley
What does #makeithappen mean? Taking action.
Action is something that you do.
Doing is different than saying. We can write, talk, make statements, chat, dish, diss, blog at blog.8bitlibrary.com or any other blog…but it’s never a substitute for action.
In librarianship specifically, I hear lots of talk. Some of it is negative complaining about the state of things. Some of it is positive ideas about how we should move forward.
Neither of those are #makeithappen. #makeithappen is saying “I want today to be Teen Library Day in my town”, then calling the mayor, and getting it officially on the books as [Insert Town Here] Teen Library Day. #makeithappen is not just THINKING outside the box, but DOING outside the box. Like having librarians influence global gaming discussions that otherwise would have been completely out of the realm of libraries. Or having local professional athletes chill in the library.
Talking about something is a stepping stone to action, but in the end, no amount of blog posts here or anywhere will amount to #mih. However, we want this blog to be the #makeithappen blog, a place to show off pictures and videos or things people have #mih’d all over the country, to provide inspiration to all in their own efforts to #makeithappen. Have you made something great happen in your library? Please email me so you can show the world; I can be reached at jp at porcaro dot info
#makeithappen is professional AND personal. In many ways, it is personal first: envision what you want in your life, and then stop imagining and #mih, because the reality is so much better than the fantasy.
#makeithappen is climbing 10,000 mountains before breakfast.
An 8bitlibrary.com contributor linked me to this a few days ago. I know it is harsh, but climbing 10,000 mountians is way harsher than any web comic:
And although we define “make it happen” in twitter-hashtag form, we all agree that nobody can #makeithappen on twitter. The real work that needs to be done is through toil and sweat and hard work, even in the library.
#makeithappen is saying “Hey, let’s help people develop video game collections”, starting up a website about it, and becoming the most influential web resource for video-games-in-libraries.
Failure, of course, is a big part of #makeithappen as well. Video Games can be a great example of this: you toil through failure after failure, repeating the same tasks you fail at, sometimes failing at the same thing for hours or days. And then you win. You fail until you win. And #makeithappen is not stopping, because once you’ve jumped one hurdle of failure, you’ve got 100s more to jump. This is why video games are the perfect fit for the #makeithappen philosophy: keep pushing through failure until you win, because luck won’t get you anywhere, experience will, and the only way to gain experience is through failure, not success.
#makeithappen is also about priorities: like, knowing when to stop writing about it, because you have to go to work to DO SOMETHING. Which I am about to do.
8bitlibrary.com‘s own JP Porcaro (me) & Justin Hoenke, as well as our friends/colleagues/movers&shakers Ed Garcia and Jaime Hammond will be speaking on “Make It Happen in libraries” at the New England Library Association Conference in October 2011. Please come out and share the #mih mojo with us.
- National Library Unconference Day ’11. What IS an unconference, you ask? Try out this video by Allen McGinley & I talking about our recent Remixing Libraries unconference, and check back often for more info. We’ll be posting how-to guides, videos, and tips on how to run a great unconference.
- Save the date: May 2nd, 2011, 1pm EST. More info to follow this month.
- At your library for a staff development day. Or an unconference for a regional library cooperative. Maybe something hosted at a state library? Or hosted by your state or regional library association. A great place to hold an uncon for National Library Unconference Day ’11 is at an LIS school. It’s totally up to you!
- The sage-on-the-stage lecture presentation style of a traditional conference is losing relevance in our world of immediate communication. At an unconference, the participants are the experts, and ideas grow organically. I’ve watched this video over and over, and this is exactly the type of motivating event that the speaker is talking about!
We’ll be streaming a free keynote session to all participating librarians, libraries and library organizations. Our confirmed speakers so far include:
- Michael Stephens, Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois and founder of http://tametheweb.com/.
- Jaime Hammond, Reference and Serials Librarian at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, CT., library-as-space advocate and chair of the ALA’s Emerging Leaders IG Steering Committee.
- Allen McGinley, Department Head in the Piscataway NJ Public Library, National Library Unconference Day ’11 organizer, Gaming for Children With Special Needs advocate, and leader of 8bitlibrary.com‘s #makeithappen initiative.
- JP Porcaro, aka me, founder of 8bitlibrary.com, Virtual Services librarian at New Jersey City University, and world’s self-described expert on Pokemon & libraries.
- Justin Hoenke, founder of 8BitLibrary.com, Teen Librarian at the Portland (ME) Public Library, contributor over at Tame The Web.
- Eli Neiburger, librarian in the Ann Arbor MI District Library, author of Gamers…in the Library?! The Why, What, and How of Videogame Tournaments for All Ages, Library Renewal board member, and Patron Saint of 8bitlibrary.com.
- Soon enough, we’ll have a link up for you to sign up your unconference to receive the FREE keynote lightning talks webinar. For now, mark your calendars, organize your group, and get ready to change the world. Once you sign up, we’re imaging you’d use a computer + a projector to screen the keynote to your local participants, then you’d get to your individual unconference. We’ll have a constant digital conversation on Twitter via hashtag #libuncon. And we’re hoping people share what they learned and accomplished via blog posts and youtube videos!
MARK THOSE CALENDARS NOW, and #makeithappen! signed, JP & the 8bitlibrary.com team.
Chances are, if you made it to 8bitlibrary.com, then you’re well aware of the benefits of gaming, including the development and reinforcement of various cognitive, literacy, and social skills. So the question is, what are you going to do in 2011 to enhance gaming services in your community? Our suggestion is expanding these programs to a new audience, and there is none better than children with special needs.
For complete information on the how and why of gaming for children with special needs, see the article from the December 2010 issue of School Library Journal, “Rated E for Everyone”. Then come back and check out this list of game recommendations and get a program started for this frequently under-served audience!
Card & Board Games
- ThinkFun Zingo is a fun, fast-moving matching game similar to Bingo in which players try to match up their picture card with tiles that are revealed by pulling on a Zinger. The first player to fill his or her picture card wins. This game is great because it accommodates 2 to 8 players, keeps kids engaged, teaches image and vocabulary recognition, reading, matching, memory, concentration, and encourages social skills such as taking turns, following rules, and sharing.
- I Spy Memory Game is a memory game, for 1-6 players, with riddles just like the I Spy book series, which can be played three different ways to accommodate younger and older players. This game helps young players to develop memory, reading, thinking and language skills, as well as important social skills such as taking turns, following rules, and sharing. Kids that enjoy reading I Spy books and playing I Spy computer games will enjoy this board game, which has simple rules, is easy to set up, and can be completed fairly quickly.
- Jenga is a stacking game consisting of wooden blocks that are big and easy to grab. This interactive, engaging, and tactile game teaches kids the importance of strategy and concentration, while improving dexterity and coordination. Jenga is great because the rules are simple, a game can be set up and completed fairly quickly, and requires only 1 or more to play.
- Pictionary Card Game is a fun, fast-moving card game that is played in teams as small as two, which combines the fun of Pictionary and Charades. Players race to act out the clues using only the simple images on the cards by combining them, building scenes with them or using them as props. This interactive game is great because no drawing is required, is easy to play, and improves concentration, while fostering imagination, creativity, thinking skills, teamwork and cooperation.
Sequence for Kids is a fun, fast-moving sequence game, similar to Bingo in some ways that preps kids for strategic thinking as they anticipate their opponents’ next move. This game is great because it only requires 2 to 4 players, fosters social skills such as taking turns, following rules, and sharing, and builds matching, pattern recognition, counting, and literacy skills.
- Wii Active Life Outdoor Challenge is a fitness game that will get kids up and moving, similar to Nintendo’s Wii Fit, in which players are actively engaged in a variety of 16 fun, energetic, fast-paced mini-games such as river rafting, mine-cart adventure, log jumping, see-saw, jump rope, water trampoline, and many more. Using a specially-designed eight pad Active Life mat, this game will help kids will improve their overall fitness level, sense of balance and coordination, eye-hand coordination, literacy skills (reading on-screen directions), as well as foster teamwork, cooperation, and social skills such as taking turns and sharing. (ESRB Rating: E for Everyone)
Wii Boom Blox Bash Party is the exciting sequel to Wii Boom Blox that challenges the players’ reflexes, dexterity, and problem-solving skills. Like the original Boom Blox, players use the Wii Remote to direct objects and forces toward structures made of blocks in order to knock them over. The Jenga-like gameplay requires players to pull out blocks, with the goal of toppling over as many blocks as possible, without bringing down the entire structure, and like Jenga, kids will learn strategy skills, improve dexterity, and observe physics in action. Wii Boom Blox Bash Party is great for all ages, is easy to play, and features quick games that foster teamwork, cooperation, and collaboration. (ESRB Rating: E for Everyone)
Wii Just Dance 2 is the energizing sequel to Just Dance, featuring 45 songs that can be used in four different dance modes to help kids improve their overall coordination and physical fitness levels, build teamwork and social skills such as sharing and taking turns, and work on memory, pattern recognition and following instructions. Basically, players hold a Wiimote in their right hand, and copy dance moves presented by an animated dancer presented on the screen. Just Dance 2 is suitable for tweens and teens, but if you have a younger audience, you may also want the very recently released Just Dance Kids (ESRB Rating: E for Everyone), which will contain more age-appropriate songs and lyrics targeted toward a younger age group, which also helps kids work on similar skills as noted for Just Dance 2. (ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+)
Wii Party is an interactive and engaging kid-friendly party game featuring 13 different party game modes and 70+ mini-games, which provide kids with lots of variety that includes cooperative and competitive gameplay that turns over quickly to keep the game moving. This game helps kids improve their eye-hand coordination, builds literacy skills (like Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort, players can read on-screen instructions for help), and social skills (taking turns and sharing with other players). (ESRB Rating: E for Everyone)
Wii Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party is the third Wii game in UBI Soft’s popular Rayman Raving Rabbids series, and features 60+ fun, quick minigames. The “rabbids” are bunny-like creatures who communicate by screaming and occasionally hitting each other with any object that comes into their hands. The rabbids have taken over the TV stations, broadcasting a series of nonsense shows in an effort to drive Rayman crazy. Players will discover new and innovative ways to play with eight types of gameplay, which will help them improve their sense of precision, dexterity, balance, and coordination, and reading written instructions to complete the mini-games will help kids improve their literacy skills. This game also fosters teamwork, cooperation, and social skills as kids practice taking turns and sharing. (ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+)Game reviews by Peggy Wong, Children’s Services Librarian, Piscataway Public Librarypwong AT lmxac DOT org
Retro Gaming events are great for public libraries. This program is fun, loud, and active. It presents an opportunity for everyone to connect through a shared interest. Mom is showing kids the Atari 2600 she played in the late 70s, teens are showing dad their favorites games on by-gone consoles. Everyone is interacting, engaging, and learning. Nostalgia abounds!
And a simple display can accomplish much of the same magic. Identify people in your community who have retro consoles or games and provide a secure area for them to display their treasures in the library. Between the consoles and controllers and games and artwork, these displays are highly engaging, and the conversations that result are priceless.
Public libraries are about connecting people and ideas, and the opportunities presented by retro gaming are endless.
I got really excited when I got an email with an 8bitlibrary.com Retro Gaming Day press release in it! Big shouts to our own MaMcGinley & RedheadFangirl for setting this all up. Hope to see some of our readers at the event:
Saturday, September 11, 12 – 4 PM
The 8bitlibrary.com Retro Gaming Day
The first ever Retro Game Day will be conveniently located in central NJ at Piscataway Public Library! Cool panel speakers on retro games, and open play on old school platforms like SNES, Gameboy, Xbox! From Pac-Man to Mario to World of Warcraft, learn and play with the 8bitlibrary.com bloggers and librarians. See you there!
Piscataway Public Library
500 Hoes Ln, Piscataway, NJ
On June 23, the Piscataway Public Library was cloaked in silence. Not the regular kind of library-silence. Silence, as people sat on the edge of their seats, hoping and praying. The silence suddenly erupted into yelling, clapping, and cheering. The U.S. had just scored a goal in the 91st minute to gain a victory that sent them into the next round of play in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. But as far as I was concerned, the real win was for the community of Piscataway.
Coordinated by the director, James Keehbler, the Library hosted its first ever World Cup event. At around 9:30 am, I stood in the back of a room packed full of 60 plus jersey-clad people of all ages. The far end of the room featured a large movie theatre style screen displaying ESPN. There was a buzz of excitement in the air that this building just wasn’t quite accustomed to. Was I really in a public library?
In addition to screening the all-important group C match, the Library also arranged for the local women’s professional soccer team Sky Blue FC to join in the fun. Sitting with kids from the community, the team watched the drama unfold, and signed autographs for fans during halftime. During the break in play, I watched a young girl wearing an “O’Reilly” jersey talk to none other than Heather O’Reilly (two-time Olympic gold medalist and member of Sky Blue FC) and the full impact of this event really hit me. I don’t know what they were saying to each other, but I had a feeling the young soccer fan would not forget this day any time soon.
Piscataway is an incredibly diverse community, and the demographics have changed considerably in recent years. The room was packed with people young and old, and reflected a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. But on June 23, none of that seemed to matter. For one magical morning, regardless of where we were born, or what language we spoke at home, the only country on our mind was the United States of America.