I’ve been getting alot of questions lately: “what IS 8bitlibrary“?
6 months ago i would have said “it’s the gaming-in-libraries blog”! And I’m not, 6 months later, saying that statement is wrong. But we’re about a bigger issue, and that is: “we’re the #makeithappen blog“.
In libraries, #makeithappen is a taking new exciting ideas and seeing them through to the end. It’s the blog about all the really cool new stuff people are actually doing in libraries.
I had the opportunity to watch the Joaquim Phoenix movie I’m Still Here thanks to the Netflix instant queue. It was a great documentary about Joachim trying to become a Hip-Hop star. I won’t give spoilers, but the end, to say the least, “leaves you wondering”.
Tonight, again because of the Netflix Instant Queue on Xbox, I got to see the 1998 documentary Wrestling with Shadows, which ultimately chronicles the end of Bret Hitman Hart’s WWF career, with the Montreal Screwjob being the crux of the story. Everyone KNOWS wrestling is scripted, and the movie takes you through the process of how wrestling IS scripted. However, the end of the movie is the story of a script gone wrong, where the person who was supposed to win was “screwed”. In the 90s wrestling era, this was a defining moment of “OMG, wrestling can be REAL sometimes!!!”.
When the movie started, I felt that the fact that a documentary was being recorded at the convenient moment when the ultimate wrestling “real” outcome (vs the usual fake wrestling) was proof that even at the time wrestling was “real”, it was also an elaborate hoax.
I suggested to my wife that this would be a great program for a library (like a book discussion, but with movies instead of books). Show both movies and have people discuss the fictional and the factual elements of both, and maybe try to decide which told a better fictional but factual story.
My wife said “this doesn’t belong in libraries“. There’s lots of dicks, boobs, balls, sex, and drug use in the Joachim movie after all, and the wrestling movie was full of violence: everything we love to censor.
I thought back to all the books I have read since becoming a librarian. Lots worse violence. Way more sex and drug use. Much more graphic violence. They are making a MOVIE out of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, after all! As an aside, that book was set right in the same historical period as the Montreal Screwjob.
I said to myself: WHY is it ok to have certain forms of “inappropriate” expression in books but not movies? Why do we treat some forms of media as sacred, and other forms as dirty?
This, of course, is also what 8bitlibrary.com is about. We believe that storytelling media shouldn’t be judged just because it is presented in a certain media format and not another.
So, should libraries ban content in some formats and not others? And, do you feel like 8bitlibrary.com is just a “gaming blog”, or do you feel like we talk about gaming so much because we are touching on an issue that is really relevant to current libraries?
Who Wins? Playing Games With Kidstakes a look at playing games and parenting. What really blew my mind was the whole cooperative game play theme the entire post presents to the reader. Gaming isn’t about winning…it’s about the experience, something that we here at 8BitLibrary have been saying for quite some time.
Download Free Kaplan Educational Textbooks for eReaders: As a teen librarian, how could I not be excited about this? Sure, the teen has to have something to read eBooks on (which, from my experience, most do not) but in any case, this offer could help out some people in need. Lasts through January 17, 2011.
Moss Rug: The living bathroom mat goes on saleFile this under neato. Basically, it’s a rug for your bathroom created out of moss. The humidity from the air and the water drops from your shower/bathtub water the rug, and in turn, you get this really cool, organic feeling when you step out of the shower.
Click the link, read it, and explain to me how libraries (or, more importantly, WHY) libraries plan on overcoming this obstacle. Why not just drop the whole “libraries are places to loan out popular commercial materials” and focus on what’s really important: connecting people.
“What’s a deviant violent video game?” asked Justice Antonin Scalia, who was the law’s most vocal opponent on Tuesday. “As opposed to what? A normal violent video game?”
“Some of the Grimm’s fairy tales are quite grim,” he added. “Are you going to ban them, too?”
“How is this any different,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked, “than what we said we don’t do in the First Amendment field in Stevens, where we said we don’t look at a category of speech and decide that some of it has low value?”
Justice Alito said the experience of playing a video game was different in kind from reading a book or seeing a movie. He described a game in which players throw their enemies into a meat grinder.
“Reading that is one thing,” he said. “Seeing it as graphically portrayed” is another thing.
“And doing it is still a third thing,” he added.
Where do you stand on content issues in new digital media?
In what is emerging as a series on “why I became a librarian”, here’s my next blog post. I started out this series, not realizing at first what it would become, by talking about the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom’s Banned Books WeekMachinima contest. As it turned out, there was a short depiction of book burning, in a video game, included in that post:
That brings us to my 2nd post on “why I became a librarian”, and I credited a group of musicians as influencing my future career. You know who is another group of musicians who influenced many people? The Beatles. (this post happens to come on the 1-year anniversary of the release of the first Beatles video game)
How did they deal with this American opposition to their British music? They took the true ideals of America, staging protests and standing up for what is right:
In Chicago, the ALA will be staging a protest to this act.
Fighting Fire with Free Speech: ALA Will Protest Book Burning with 9/11 Qur’an Reading
“The librarians of America will not stand by and let ignorance rule,” says ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels. “For every would-be book burner, there are thousands of readers who will speak out for the freedom to peaceably assemble and read whatever they choose.”
Book burning is the most insidious form of book banning, and just as the American Library Association is preparing to celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, along comes one Rev. Terry Jones of the 50-member Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida. The good reverend’s idea of world outreach is to commemorate the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001 with a public burning of the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book.
The mind-boggling logic behind Jones’s plan has attracted the attention of Muslims and media around the world, and this morning, news sources reported that Gen. David Petraeus had personally pleaded with the reverend to restrain himself because of the potential for retaliatory violence against U.S. troops and citizens overseas that the book burning could provoke.
Meanwhile, the American Library Association and librarians across the country will move the Qur’an to the top of the Banned Books Week agenda. (Leading the way by modeling tolerance, an Oklahoma public library has been hosting an exhibit of artwork inspired by Muslim tradition.)
“Free people read freely,” says Barbara Jones, director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. “That is a fundamental principle of the American Constitution and a basic mission of public libraries. We don’t burn books, we read them.”
Whether or not the Rev. Jones (who is no relation to ALA’s OIF director) proceeds with his plan, librarians and library advocates will assemble on the steps of the American Library Association headquarters in Chicago this Saturday at 1 p.m. for a public reading from the Qur’an to counteract the burning in Gainesville, and Banned Books Week will launch on September 25 with readings from the Qur’an.
Chiptune is a genre of music where the composer and/or performer uses the sounds generated by “retro” video game or computer hardware as the instrument. Instead of playing a guitar or a trumpet or a violin, they play a Gameboy. Or a Commodore 64.
The phrase “8 bit” evokes a certain nostalgic emotion attached to video game culture, which is why the movie we linked to in yesterday’s post was titled 8-bit, why we’re called “The 8bitlibrary”, and where this collective of chiptune musicians get their name:
Before I was a librarian blogger, I was a video gamer. And as such, I got into this crazy genre of music called chiptune. The 8bitpeoples are a collective of musicians who use classic video game hardware to make music and then give it away free on the internet. I actually think they are at least part of the reason why I ended up becoming a librarian: the idea that information and expression should be free (including artistic expression) is one of the core principles of librarianship. The contest that spawned yesterday’s post, and inspired today’s, is thanks to the efforts of the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom in fact!
8bitlibrary.com is inspired a bit by them as well; while the “8 bit” in the name we took because of its nostalgic nature, and the “library” because of our love for Library Garden et al, the idea of “a collective of creative outside-the-box thinkers” in this field is at least partly inspired by the 8bitpeoples.
This is something librarians should seriously think about as we move forward: we aren’t book depositories. Even things like literacy are only part of what we do. Let’s take our inspiration from a variety of sources. Musicians. Chefs. Artists. I would love to see a wave of librarians who say “I became a librarian because of an example set by a musician“. I had a convo with Allen McGinley on our way down to #ALA10: he said he would love to see a librarian on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, not as a musician, but as a librarian. I ended up using that as one of my two goals for an exercise we did during an ALA Emerging Leaders event.
Anyway, enjoy some free Chiptune music via the 8bitpeoples:
As the video game medium grows in cultural importance, it is natural that game players will want to use these communication tools (are they REALLY games?) in creative ways. A good friend of 8bitlibrary.com, filmmaker Justin Strawhand, released a documentary in 2006 titled (appropriately) 8 bit. The trailer for the movie, interestingly enough, includes a shot of an artist who used a video game to depict “book burning”, see if you can catch it about 1 minute in:
The largest movement towards “using video games as to make art” is called Machinima. When you make a Machinima, you record video game characters as your “actors”, the video game is your “set”, and you are the director. Machinima is so popular that the PR campaign for the upcoming game Halo: Reach include humorous machinima commercials using Halo as the tool to make the commercials. Here’s an example of machinima:
And that brings us to the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom’s contest:
Calling all filmmakers! As part of our celebration of Banned Books Week (BBW) in Second Life this year, we’re inviting everyone to take part in our Banned Books Week Machinima Contest. Machinima is filmmaking within a real-time, 3-D virtual environment like Second Life.
Your inspiration for your machinima entry should be “Think For Yourself and Let Others Do the Same,” the theme for this year’s BBW campaign. Submissions will be accepted between August 22 and September 25, 2010. Participants can enter as many videos as they’d like. The grand prize winner will receive 10,000 Lindens; a BBW 2010 T-shirt; and their video featured on the OIF Blog and in AL Direct. For more information about the contest, including rules and specifications, please click here. For further questions regarding the contest, please contact Tina Coleman (AKA, Kay Tairov in Second Life) via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You know 8bitlibrary.com will be participating! We will for sure be taking that little clip of a “video game book burning” as inspiration.
Please help us help the OIF spread the word about the contest by tweeting this link: http://bit.ly/deMZui