- 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
File this under #makeithappen.
We did it, yo.
As you know, 8bitlibrary.com (along with Robin Brenner of noflyingnotights.com) headed up a campaign to create an ALA Comic Book & Graphic Novel Member Initiative Group which would serve to unite all of the different “factions” within the Graphic-Novels-in-Libraries world.
Thanks to all of your help and support in getting the word out, we got all the signatures we needed and on Sunday January 9th 2011, the ALA’s Committee on Organization voted to make this group “official” in the ALA! John Chrastka of the ALA said I could announce the creation as “effective March 15th, 2011” so him, Robin & I, along with our ALA staff liaison Tina Coleman, could work out the deets.
I’ll add everyone who signed already into a list of people who want info on the group. If you didn’t sign but wanna be part of the group, just click here and send me an email using that form letting me know you want to be part of the group! Our first official meeting will be at ALA Annual 2011 in New Orleans, so please come out to that (as if you needed another reason to come to NOLA).
SO, what’s next for 8bitlibrary.com‘s #makeithappen initiative? At the ALA Mid-Winter meeting of the Games & Gaming MIG (which was attended by Brandon & I of team 8bit as well as a few members of the Emerging Leaders group on Video Games me & Justin are mentoring), we pretty much decided we’re going to move forward and turn the MIG into The ALA Games & Gaming Round Table. We’ll obviously keep you in the loop.
And one last thing: I’m running for ALA Council. You know I’m all about “make it happen” so I’d love if you gave me & my running mates a “thumbs up”:
…comes Buy India a Library, a project started by librarians to fund a library in India via Twitter. Head on over to their blog for more information on the project and learn about how you can help them accomplish their awesome goal!
What an awesome project and a wonderful team. I’ve been lucky to meet in person with Andromeda a few times and have many great discussions with Jan and Ned online. Kudos to them for making it happen!
WHAT? To celebrate Mario’s 25th birthday, Nintendo has cobbled together this collection of Mario history. The package includes a direct port of the Super Nintendo game Super Mario All Stars (which includes Super Mario Brothers 1-2-3 and the Lost Levels), a music CD of musical selections and sound FX from the Mario catalog, and a small book with Mario artwork and insight from the creators.
WHY? Libraries should be purchasing this game for the simple fact that it gives patrons who own the Nintendo Wii a chance to enjoy 4 wonderful games. The only other way to get these games is to download them through the Wii shop channel. The addition of a music CD and history booklet also adds to the appeal of this package and will give patrons a good example of the rich (and still greatly underappreciated IMHO) history of video games.
My biggest beef with this set is that IT COULD’VE BEEN SO MUCH BETTER. Add Super Mario World into the mix as well as more cuts from Mario’s musical history and right there is a better package. Oh well. That’s just coming from a hardcore Mario fan like me. Your patrons won’t notice the difference.
WHO? Anyone with a Wii and an interesting in discovering their video gaming roots should check this out. It also might be a good purchase for educators looking to use Super Mario in the classroom (HINT HINT PLUG PLUG CLICK ME)