October 24, 2017

Gamifying Your Library

Before the grammar police break down my door, allow me to defend my use of “gamifying”. If “gamification” can have its own Wikipedia page, and no less of a respectable source than National Public Radio can use it, then I think I’m good. So save your vitriol for those using “cyberspace”. I mean, srsly.

Librarian gamers have long worked to bring gamers into the library through such offerings as “game nights” at the library. But what if you could make using the library a game in itself? This is the premise behind a product produced by the likely-named outfit Running in the Halls. Dubbed Librarygame™, it comes in two “flavors”, “Orangetree” for public libraries and “Lemontree” for academic. According to their web site description for users:

Lemontree automatically gathers information about your activities within the library when you link it to your library card.

So when you visit library, when you bring books back or even when you log in to an e-resource, your actions — provided you’ve registered with us — will register on Lemontree and earn you points!

During the week Lemontree will show your progress visually…

As you progress through your studies and use the library you will also progress through the levels in the game! Make your Lemontree grow and unlock achievements. Some of these achievements are based around the books you borrow (ie their subject areas), others are related to the time and frequency you visit the library.

The description for librarians offers more detail:

Librarygame™ adds elements that make games engaging and delightful, directly into the library experience. As well as giving library users a fresh and useful social discovery interface, librarygame provides librarians with useful at a glance statistics on how their library is being utilised….

All flavours of Librarygame are pervasive and reside on a users most used social channels. They are tailored to make users feel welcome and with some clever interaction design they meaningfully encourage them to be social in their use of their library.

Librarygame’s game-like features encourage users to contribute and be active, ultimately leading them to discover new things and return for more.

Game like facets:

  • Set Collection
  • Points & Achievements
  • Virtual currency
  • Friends & Messaging
  • Serendipitious Discovery
  • Competition & Leaderboards
  • Progressive disclosure
  • Reward schedules

Here are some of the core features of Librarygame regardless of the flavour:

  • Integrates with your LMS
  • Enrich your existing catalogue
  • Allow users to Rate, Review and Recommend
  • Social view for every item in your collection
  • Human powered recommendations engine
  • Realtime usage analytics

I have no idea what I think of this, but since it is presently “in play” at the University of Huddersfield, I suppose we will shortly know what they think of it. What do you think? Will users participate? Will it encourage them to engage more with the library and its services?

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Roy Tennant About Roy Tennant

Roy Tennant is a Senior Program Officer for OCLC Research. He is the owner of the Web4Lib and XML4Lib electronic discussions, and the creator and editor of Current Cites, a current awareness newsletter published every month since 1990. His books include "Technology in Libraries: Essays in Honor of Anne Grodzins Lipow" (2008), "Managing the Digital Library" (2004), "XML in Libraries" (2002), "Practical HTML: A Self-Paced Tutorial" (1996), and "Crossing the Internet Threshold: An Instructional Handbook" (1993). Roy wrote a monthly column on digital libraries for Library Journal for a decade and has written numerous articles in other professional journals. In 2003, he received the American Library Association's LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Excellence in Communication for Continuing Education. Follow him on Twitter @rtennant.