Games and libraries: gamification

Super mega-achiever badge by Steven Johnson CC-BY

Super mega-achiever badge by Steven Johnson CC-BY

Gamification is loosely, the adding of game like qualities to everyday activities to help engage users and provide some motivation to complete them. The most common application of this in the library context is probably gamification of information literacy (there’s even a Pinterest board dedicated to this) or gamifying orientation to your library.

What other applications are there? What about making a game of coming to the library? Gamification of everyday library activities such as borrowing and returning items, reviewing books or commenting on other people’s reviews via inbuilt social mechanisms is behind the development of applications such as LibraryGame. Library users collect points and badges along the way, providing classic gaming rewards for everyday library use.

Professional development programs such as 23 Things and its spin offs including 23 Mobile Things and even 23 Things for Researchers, while not directly applying gamification, do construct a fun, engaging platform for learning new skills and consolidating some old ones along the way.

Do you use any of these techniques or have you participated in a 23 Things program? Perhaps you have a full blown tech platform behind you, or have developed a mobile app for use in your library? Or perhaps you reward kids with a stamp on a ‘passport’ just for coming to storytime each week?

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, on Twitter using #interlibnet or via our Facebook page.

Posted in Discussion topics, Round 2015A and tagged , , , , .


  1. Pingback: Games and libraries: gamification | Flexibility Enables Learning

  2. This is a bit different to the focus of this discussion starter and to the Canadian post but I recently read a really interesting book about the way libraries are using crowds to make their collections more accessible or even to develop their collections. Some libraries are building gaming features into the tasks they’re asking the crowd to do, as a way of keeping people engaged and making the experience enjoyable and also, interestingly, as a way of generating high quality data. The book is called ‘Crowdsourcing our cultural heritage’, edited by Mia Ridge and published by Ashgate; the most relevant chapters are those about the New York Public Library’s Menu transription project (chapter 5); the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and the VU University Amsterdam’s social tagging game to annotate the Institute’s audiovisual archive (chapter 7); and the discussion about how to ensure activities like these are compatible with institutions’ values and practice (chapter 12).

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