This speaking series was designed to provide those at the Leddy Library with an opportunity to share our research work -- work that we’ve done and work that we hope to do in the future. My presentation today is more about the former than the latter. But it’s worse than that.
Even without the external motivation of a deadline, I find that forcing yourself to articulate specifically what you really care about and what you want to learn more about is a very helpful exercise in the pursuit of meaningful work. I know this because in some ways I’ve gone through this process before. It happened almost two years ago now.
In 2010, I was paid to play a game. I was a game runner for a game called Evoke that was designed by Jane McGonigal and sponsored by the World Bank. Evoke was an alternative reality game designed to act as a curriculum for social entrepreneurism and during its 10 week run the game attracted almost 20,000 registered players from around the world and raised $30,000 for 25 projects developed by its players.
I am standing here to extend an invitation to all of you. I believe that we - our profession, our community, our country, our planet - need more collaborative events to bring us together. We need more opportunities to host conversations. We need more opportunities to change the conversation. And so my invitation that I am extending is not to a particular event - but a personal invitation to all of you to organize an event for others.
This conversation is just one of many that form the current re-negotiating and re-understanding of the relationships between librarians, the space the of the library, the collections that they hold and are connected to, and the communities that are served by these things. It might be too soon to say this, but I believe we are seeing a great change in librarianship and I want to speak briefly about this change because the work that I’ve done and that I want to do makes the most sense in this framework.
I mentioned Jane McGonigal before. She is a proponent of using games to fix reality, because games make us happy while reality is broken. I love this quote of hers from Twitter and I think that it dovetails what something we sometimes forget about libraries. While libraries are associated with content, libraries were and are created with larger goals in mind: self-education and self-improvement, improving community capacity, and embodying and supporting scholarly communication. The content of libraries isn’t the exciting factor for us. We don’t just exist just to provide information. We strive for literacy, or more accurately in these times, literacies, including information literacy and transliteracy.