Greetings; Introduce Yourself to the Group!

by Chris Baker 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Hello everyone! My name is Chris Baker, Public Library Consultant with the Library Services Team at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. I live in Oregon, WI, and work mainly the Madison area. I am a HUGE gamer (video games are my personal favorite, though I adore games of all types), a musician, a horror geek, and a proud doggy father of a Bichon Frise named Sir Oliver Beans.

I am the Administrator & creator of this WISELearn cohort; please feel free to contact me here, or email me at chris.baker@dpi.wi.gov if you have any questions. I created this group to serve as an affinity space for educators and librarians of all sorts who are interested in collaborating together and learning alongside one another when it comes to the Games + Learning space, which is rapidly growing in study and popularity worldwide. We have the opportunity to position ourselves as national leaders!

I'd like to invite everyone joining this group to take a moment to introduce yourself; share your name, title/role, organization, and which municipality/community you work on behalf of. I'd also ask everyone to share an interesting fact about yourself or hobby, and why you are joining this group. You can be as broad or specific as you like; this is a chance to get to know others who share this affinity space, and make your voice heard in terms of what you're hoping to get out of participating in this group.

Gaming Controller Image

I look forward to meeting you, learning more about you, and collaborating together; game on!

~Chris

Shannon Siebers 7 months, 1 week ago

Hi everyone!

My name is Shannon Siebers, I am a Teen/Youth Services Specialist at the Germantown Community Library, where I have worked in various capacities for 8 years. I am currently attending UW-Milwaukee to get my MLIS! 

My gaming takes forms mostly in TTRPGs, specifically DnD 5th ed. I'm fascinated with the resurrgence of DnD, and it's popularity growth in libraries. I am also a member of the Geek Week Planning Assembly at UWM's Geek Week, where gaming is a huge part of our programming. I love video games, but I am terrible at them! I've been playing a lot of Animal Crossing, Hades, and Crypt of the Necrodancer lately. I'm also a fan of graphic design and all things nerdy. I'm a Dungeon Master, a sci-fi/fantasy die-hard, and an anime nerd.

I'm excited to be a part of this group because I've always enjoyed working with people who share my interests, and the way gaming as affected libraries recently has been so fun to watch. I'm looking forward to seeing where this takes us, and how we can bring about positive change!

Nice to meet you!

Shannon

 

Chris Baker 7 months, 1 week ago

Hey Shannon! Welcome! It's so nice to connect.

Love that you'll be bringing expertise in TTRPGs and DnD to the group. You're spot on -- DnD is going through somewhat of a new renaissance right now, and I'm thrilled to see it. It's an excellent chance for libraries to capitalize on that popularity! I tend to err more toward the video game side of gaming rather than TTRPGs (though I love them, too), and recently spent close to 500 dang hours playing Baldur's Gate 3 (which, for those unaware, takes place in the DnD universe and operates with DnD roleplaying & gaming rules). Baldur's Gate 3 is, in my opinion, a masterpiece -- and helps solidify DnD being an evermore household hobby!

Do you have any materials, resources, guides, etc. related to DnD programming in libraries you might be interested in sharing with this group? If so, I'd love to talk with about adding them to our group as OERs!

I'd love to learn more about Geek Week; I've not heard of it before and would probably want to get involved. There might be potential for some collaboration with this group? 

Also --  heck yes on Animal Crossing, Hades (swoon!), and Crypt of the Necrodancer. Regarding the latter, I LOVE King Conga's boss music and Deep Blues' as well!

~Chris

 

Sara Tiede 7 months, 1 week ago

Hello!

My name is Sara Tiede, and I'm the ILL/Outreach Librarian Assistant at Beaver Dam Community Library. In my position, I'm not usually directly responsible for developing programs and events, but I am part of our library support staff that's excited that we're considering how to offer a TTRPG club at our location! We currently host a monthly LEGO club, and Pokemon club, and I'm very excited about expanding the gaming opportunities we have!

I come from a strong family tradition of board and card game players, (I can play a mean game of cribbage and mancala!) and I've been playing D&D since 3rd edition, with some occasional one-shot forays into modern setting rules sets. These days most of my DM'ing is for my own kids, currently aged 8 and 11!

I'm excited to see a place to share resources and ideas with other libraries, who may be at the same inital stages we are here, or who may have great advice to offer after plenty of experience!

Sara

Chris Baker 7 months, 1 week ago

Hey Sara! Welcome!!

Cribbage is my FAVORITE card game. My wife and I sit on our deck and listen to music and play; it's a wonderful summer hangout.

I'd love to learn more about you DM'ing for your own kids; I think there's a lot of opportunity to cultivate resources here for DnD programming aimed at younger librarygoers. Do you create your own adventures? How do you alter your approach to DM'ing to making it accessible for them?

Keep rockin' on! I look forward to hearing more about what you do.

~Chris

Sara Tiede 7 months, 1 week ago

I LOVE playing with my kids, and it's definitely very different from the adult group I used to be a regular DM for! With my kids, they really love building a very detailed character, although it's a lot more likely to CHANGE than the adult-built characters I'm used to! And pets- they both were super excited to have a pet on their character sheet, even though they don't utilize them much in game play.

I have pretty much always run my own adventures and in my own world- I like being able to depend largely on the rules as written (RAW) but have the flexibility to say "that player's idea is too cool to not allow!" It also has helped greatly for my young players to have adventures that revolve around only one major encounter rather than many smaller battles. And they LOVE their dice, so I make sure that even when they're doing a great job role playing, there's also a lot of fun dice rolling!

I'm sure that a library group or club would be a whole new set of best practices and challenges, but it's nice to have a little experience from home!

Chris Baker 7 months ago

Sara,

Wow -- your experiences running campaigns with your kiddos sound like it's given you excellent tips that other libarians could possibly use. To be totally honest, I hadn't heard of the "RAW" acronym before, and I'm pumped I can now utilize it when discussing tabletop games moving forward; thank you for teaching me something new!

If another librarian was looking for some guidance or troubleshooting with campaigns, would you possibly be willing to help give them some tips and tricks? I'm hoping to build a community of advisors within this group that could be peer mentors for folks looking to get involved in gaming but whom don't have much experience. If not, no worries -- it just sounds like your experience would be super valuable!

Rock on; thanks for sharing. :)

~Chris

Sara Tiede 7 months ago

I'm always happy to share ideas and past experience! I always give a caveat that for all the time I've been playing, very little of it has been in established campaigns or even established worlds. Along with my first group of players, a lot of my campaigns have included a lot of world building of our own!

It's actually one thing I really feel the need to brush up on- being able to insert players in an established setting, like Grayhawk or Ravenloft, or any of the numerous recognizable game worlds out there. But I do have some neat tricks I use for creating setting off the cuff! I follow a Facebook group that is also geared towards tabletop gaming in education, and a great seasonal trick I have often used, is for creating a natural looking boundary area, like, say, an island, save pictures of interesting looking snow piles!

Chris Baker 7 months ago

Sara -- what is the link to the FB group geared toward tabletop gaming in education, if you don't mind sharing? There might be some other folks here that would want to join, if it's open!

~Chris

Courtney Cosgriff 7 months, 1 week ago

HI everyone!

My name is Courtney Cosgriff and I'm the Adult Services Manager @ the Waunakee Public Library. Waunakee is about 10 minutes north of Madison! I am a weaver and I also knit. I really am obsessed with anything fiber arts! I joined this group because I'm always looking for new ways to engage adults and I always find it helpful to meet up with different librarians! 

Chris Baker 7 months, 1 week ago

Hey Courtney! So glad you're joining us. :) 

FYI, friends, Courtney is also a part of another outstanding Games + Learning + Libraries-adjacent project called the "PolarVR Project", which brings together Antarctic researchers, educators, and game designers from UW-Madison along with a Fellowship of librarians throughout the state to create and implement polar research-inspired Virtual Reality games -- specifically to try and better reach rural and Latine community members. Said project is different than the Astrophysics Game Development Call for Participation (apply if you're interested!!) that I shared last week.

Courtney is awesome and is piloting a new VR checkout option at Waunakee!! You'll have to let us know how things go, Courtney.

If anyone is interested in being shortlisted to possibly joing the PolarVR Fellowship come summer 2024, reach out to me at Chris.Baker@dpi.wi.gov and I will add you to the list of considerations. 

~Chris

 

Jennifer Moore 7 months, 1 week ago

Hello there!  I wish I knew how to make this post more exciting!  I am an elementary librarian in the Wausau School District.  I am afraid to admit I am not much of a gamer without a guaranteed win...(ha)   but I truly do enjoy providing learning opportunities for my students, and this seemed like a terrific place to learn and grow.  In Wausau we are working on updating our long range plan, and Makerspace concepts and skills are a definite focus, so I would like to think I might pick up something along the way or be able to share with this group.  Until then, I will be happily lurking, and possibly Googling some of the gaming terminology!  Lovely to read about you all!  

Chris Baker 7 months, 1 week ago

Hey Jennifer! So glad to meet you.

It's TOTALLY cool that you're 'not much of a gamer'; no matter what someone's experience level, if they have an interest in the Games + Learning space and how it can impact their programs and services, they've come to the right place. We're going to work very fluidly as a group so that those who have more comfort in the space can be leaders and contribute resources, but for folks who just want to 'lurk' in the wings and borrow resources and knowledge when it comes up, that's a great fit too.

I'd love to learn more about your long range plan -- and how making and playful learning concepts could play into it. 

~Chris

Jennifer Moore 7 months, 1 week ago

We are still in beginning stages of inventorying our resources, and then agreeing upon cataloging.  It will be interesting conversation over the next few years as we discuss things such as the example of puppets.  Are they "stuffies" or Maker/Creation tools when students are writing and performing plays?  Robotics,  are we thinking to show the students it is a pathway to computer science careers?  Crafts, are they more individual maker or is there a place in a school library for all students to experience tasks such as sewing or jewelry making? (and so on)  A lot of these discussions are budget driven too, with CSF/nonCSF and building level monies factoring in. 

The PolarVR Project sounds incredible!  I am guessing it is geared for an older audience.  My students love when we do augmented reality work but I would be curious to see what else is out there for younger kids, as the list in my district is somewhat limited at this point.  

Chris Baker 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Jennifer -- sorry I missed your comment earlier! The PolarVR project has been in full swing for 2 years, and we have 3 more to go. We'll be developing 3 more Polar research-inspired VR games (the one currently in-development is a Weather Station Rebuilding game) through 2026 or so.

We've got a mix of school and public librarians in this year's "Fellowship", and we'll be inviting new people to join sometime in the Spring of 2024. The project is geared toward all ages -- including kiddos, teens, etc.! We just want to inspire young people in our communities (particularly rural and Latine populations) to be more invested in science, technology, polar research, and library programming. If you're interested, let me know! I can add you to the shortlist for consideration for 2024!

Best,

~Chris

Hannah Kane 7 months, 1 week ago

Nice to see so many familiar names here! I'm Hannah Kane, Youth Services Librarian at the Fond du Lac Public Library. I'm a nerd of many stripes, and as a recently-diagnosed autistic I always struggle with an interesting fact or hobby because they're all interesting to me, you know? I think the thing I talk about the most is being a homeowner, because I feel like that's how I spend a lot of my spare time (and money). I have two cats, an elderly gentleman named Heather, and Vincent, the surprised goblin in my display photo. Vinnie showed up on my friend's parents' farm last winter, and when the temperature got down to -15 they recruited her and the other farm cats to live in the garage; even inside, she got frostbite on both ears and lost the outer part, so she has these adorable little nubs. That's where she got her name - she's orange and earless, so, Vincent van Gogh. Any time you need cat pictures, I am available to assist.

As for why I'm joining this group, I played D&D a little in college but got back into it with some friends in 2020 (scheduling was SO EASY back then) and branched out into homebrew and other systems. I now have three groups who play regularly, and I've been enjoying spreading my TTRPG knowledge to my library teens. When it comes to video games I'm mostly a vintage gamer; we couldn't afford an N64 growing up, so I bought one with my very first adult paycheck in 2008, and have never needed anything more modern in my life. In 2023, our library began to circulate video games and board games, as well as some TTRPG starter kits (not just D&D books anymore!) I ran a game called "Lady Blackbird" for some teens over the summer, and it was so successful that I am hoping to bring more game programming to the teens (and kids) (and I guess adults are important too) in Fond du Lac. On my own time, I mostly play cozy games - I have logged a truly concerning number of hours in Stardew Valley, but as a library teen recently quipped, it's cheaper and more accessible than therapy. I'm so excited to start sharing resources to make my own offerings even better, and empower other libraries to start programs and collections of their own!

Chris Baker 7 months ago

Howdy Hannah!

I also identify heartily as a nerd of many stripes; I've lived my whole life with a pretty strong case of ADHD and it took a long time for me to figure out how to "work best" within that framework. I have no doubt that's also a big reason why I'm so attracted to gaming, among other hobbies. Gaming offers a buffet of themes, worlds, sensory options, etc. -- which is why I think so many young people find themselves drawn to them as well.

ALWAYS more fuzzy friend pictures; our group should always feel proud to share pet photos, lol. The picture of Mr. Van Gogh the Goblin is wonderful!

Re: your gaming interest -- how was it getting back into D&D? I feel like I'm always looking for a group to join. I'm hoping this Cohort will result in some new librarian D&D and other tabletop gaming groups!

Stardew Valley is wonderful, and vintage games still hold up. I grew up on NES, SNES, PlayStation, etc., so many games from those console generations are among my favorites of all time. And I TOTALLY agree about how this group can cultivate resources and empower other libraries to embrace gaming programs and collections; I look forward to seeing what resources you'll share!

~Chris

Emilyn Linden 6 months ago

Hi all,

My name is Emilyn Linden and I work with Hannah at FdL Public Library. I'm a reference and outreach librarian and I'm the one who buys the board games for the adults. 

I love playing board games with family and friends, currently really loving Wingspan. I don't play video games because I have a really strong tetris effect, unfortunately.

Other than games, I'm a gardener, knitter, cat parent and teenager parent. I listen to lots of audiobooks because I have a commute and love telling people about how awesome Libby, Hoopla and Boundless are.

Sherry Anderson 7 months, 1 week ago

Hi everyone! My name is Sherry Machones, and I am the Director of the Northern Waters Library Service, located in Ashland Wisconsin, right on Lake Superior. I've been a gamer all my life and brought that love to libraries when I could. I love board games, video gaming, role-playing and even larping. My longest 'hobby' of the gaming type is playing Runescape, which I've been playing since 2004. I even held Runescape After Hours for teens every Friday night at the Milton library when I worked there. I'm always looking to find ways to make learning or life more fun.

~Sherry

Chris Baker 7 months ago

Hey Sherry!!! SO glad you're joining this group.

Runescape is FREAKING AMAZING. What a great legacy game; I honestly still regularly see new TikToks/YouTube Shorts about Runescape achievements. It's a game that fundamentally defined multiple generations of RPG gamers, has immense staying power, and WELL DESERVES its legendary spot within gaming history. Any rare Partyhats you've gotten or come across!?

I think libraries could embrace LARPing more, too; so many teens and young people are into Cosplay BIG TIME nowadays. I had a lot of teens in my library asking if we could do a Cosplay club, and bring in folks who could offer tips and best practices for costume and prop creation/design, etc. That would lend itself well to LARPing opportunities.

By the way -- not to blow up your spot, Sherry -- but Sherry is our state's resident K-pop expert, as far as I'm concerned; we know there is a lot of popular crossover between folks interested in gaming and folks interested in K-pop, so if anyone is looking for a mentor in that space, I can't imagine someone better than Sherry to connect with, lol!

~Chris

Mike Scoville 7 months ago

 

Hello Everyone.  My name is Mike Scoville and I am the Library Media Specialist for the Gibraltar Area School District in Fish Creek.....on the Door County Peninsula.  This is my 25 year at Gibraltar.  I live working with any type of games.  I grew up when video games started and I abolutely love them.  I don't get a whole lot of time to play though.  I have worked with PBS and Field Day Labs on Jo Wilder and the Capitol Case and also on The Legend of the Lost Emerald.  Really looking forward to connect with others across the state.  I love comics, reading and playing with my two cats Turbo and Mika.

 

 

 

Chris Baker 7 months ago

Hey Mike! Great to see you again; thrilled you're joinin' this group!

Folks -- Mike has done terrific work with Field Day Labs on some library/research/learning game partnerships. I saw his presentation alongside PBS Wisconsin Education's own Michael Hartwell at the WEMTA conference last year, and it was stellar; it's incredible what collaborations in this space can bring about.

Not to blow up your spot, too, Mike, but for those interested -- here is a great interview Mike did about the experience. Correct me if I'm wrong, Mike, but didn't y'all take the kids out on a field trip to actually check out Wisconsin shipwrecks in the spirit of the Legend of the Lost Emerald? Do you have more info you could share with the group about that? Maybe some resources related to that could be added to this group as OERs?

Similar to the still-open Astrophysics Game Calll for Participation, and the PolarVR project I'd mentioned, there are some wonderful ongoing opportunities for librarians to collaborate with game developers at Field Day! This group will be notified as soon I'm aware of more opportunities available, so this is a great place to stay involved if anyone is interested.

~Chris

Eric Huemmer 7 months ago

Hello!

My name is Eric Huemmer and I am the Community Engagement Coordinator with the Mukwonago Community Library.

I have been running Teen Dungeons & Dragons programs at public libraries for over 8 years in either a volunteer or staff capactiy, alongside other gaming events and programs. I have presented twice on running games in educational spaces at two different conferences, and have been a volunteer Dungeon Master for social sessions at WLA and at the Play Make Learn conference hosted in Madison. 

I grew up in libraries and often read all the nerdy gaming magazines and books that I could get my hands on, but never had a group of my own to play or run. So I want to provide that opportunity when and where I can for little nerds looking for their own communities. 

Fun fact: I used to edit for a board game magazine called Casual Game Insider for five years as a side gig. While I passed on the red pen to another, it's still a great resource for those looking for easy-to-teach and relatively fast board games. 

Looking forward to providing input and support to y'all when/where I can! 

Eric

Chris Baker 7 months ago

Hey Eric! Welcome!!!!

I already know you're a pro at leading D&D one-shots because of WLA 2022 and Play Make Learn 2023 (again, thank you SO MUCH for being a champion Dungeon Master and presenter!), but I had no idea you'd been running Teen D&D programs that long; that is awesome, and I have no doubt you've got a LOT of tips, resources, and other goodies to share with this group. 

Folks -- Eric is going to be a vital resource for us to learn from!

And -- oooooh!!! -- it rocks that you used to edit a board game magazine! It seems like Casual Game Insider could be another terrific OER resource to add to our group.

Thanks for introducing yourself!

~Chris

Zander Miller 7 months ago

Hello everyone,

 

I'm Zander Miller, Digital Strategy Librarian at Kenosha Public Library in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I've been involved in some form of esports for over a decade whether competing, commentating or enjoying the games. While I am significantly less involved now, I Still enjoy competitive gaming and strategic thought and I think video games area a great way to develop creative ways of thinking and self-improvement. 

Gaming is a struggle even in my current role as interest overall in it competitively seems small in my community. I'm curious in sharing information and talking about gaming in libraries. 

 

Chris Baker 7 months ago

Hey Zander! Thanks so much for joining the group.

Okay - so - I HAVE to learn more about your competing and commentating with esports; what games?! What tiers or leagues? Anywhere I can watch or listen your commentating? Who are some of your other favorite commentators? (I was just watching some esports yesterday, lol).

I went to college at Parkside in Kenosha; I wonder if there'd be a way to bridge the gap with folks interested in gaming there with libraries in the area or something... hmm. I'mma keep percolating on it!

~Chris

Tiff Kelly 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Hi everyone!

My name is Tiff Kelly, and I am an adult services librarian at the New Berlin Public Library. I grew up on video games, from Super Mario World and Donkey Kong Country, to these days things like Elden Ring, the new Zelda games, and Stardew Valley.

I really believe that play is an important aspect of life, and one that adults don't necessarily always get to enjoy. I recently hosted an all-ages Nerf War event at my library after hours, and it was great to see people of all ages enjoying playing together! We are having another event in January!

I manage the board game collection in our library as well, which I feel could use some more/better options. I'm looking forward to learning about what all is out there!

One of my goals in my role is to help adults find more outlets for play, so I'm really looking forward to the resources and knowledge this group will have to offer! Nice to meet you all, and I look forward to learning with you! :)

Chris Baker 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Hi Tiff! I'm so glad you're joining us.

I grew up for a long time in Waukesha, and spent a LOT of time in New Berlin. And we don't pronounce it "New Ber-LIN", it's "New BER-lin", right?! 

Love your taste in gaming! Totally grew up as a SNES kid myself, and recently played through Elden Ring a second time (and most most recently, the outstanding Lies of P -- a soulslike game with the story of Pinnochio; it ROCKS!), love Zelda and Stardew Valley, etc., etc. I'd love to imagine some sort of long-form library program that uses Stardew Valley to engage kiddos in building up a farm space, discussing resource collection & management, etc,.

I value so very much your goal of more adult-oriented play; it's SO important, and is incredible for self-actualization, positive psychology, and long-term mental health.

Tell me more about this all-ages Nerf War; did you have nerf 'guns' available at the library? Did you invite people to bring their own? What space did you use? How did you go about designing the "rules"? So cool!!

~Chris

Tiff Kelly 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Hi Chris! Thanks for the warm welcome :)

I am really excited about learning about all kinds of ways I can help (re)introduce play into the lives of our adult patrons! Also, I will have to check out Lies of P - it sounds really great!

For the Nerf Wars, we are lucky enough to have a local organization that leads these events! They are called Milwaukee Area Nerf Outings (M.A.N.O.) and they are great! They bring plastic totes full of ammo, extra blasters, eye protection, anything you can think of that we might need! They also lead the patrons in all the games! It's really cool to see people so passionate about something so fun! We also have a great big space on the first floor of our building that was perfect for the battle - we just had to remove any potentially breakable items beforehand.

Thanks again, and I look forward to working with everyone! :)

Erin Kramer 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Good morning, all!

I'm Erin Kramer. I am an Adult Services/Materials Collection Librarian at the Waukesha Public Library. I have worked in libraries since I was 17 years old and have worked at WPL for nearly 23 years, including a 15-year stint in IT work. 

I have always loved puzzles and board/card games (yay for cribbage playing representation in the group! haha) , and have been into video games since playing my first game of Mario Bros on my dad's work Apple IIe computer. My experience with TTRPGs is limited, but it is definitely an interest. In general, I'm here because I'm loving the rise of gaming in libraries and want to be active in it in any way that I can. Here at WPL we have a video games collection (my selection area), a board games collection, and in the next year, we'll be starting table-top gaming programming. 

Don't know how interesting I am and my hobbies have been sidelined in recent years for a variety of reasons, but now that my kids are grown and I'm finding I have more free time, I'm starting to get back into some of them - sewing, embroidery, and I want to learn to knit/crochet. :-)

Looking forward to getting to know you all better! 

Erin

Chris Baker 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey Erin!!!

Woohoo! I grew up in Waukesha for 10 years or so. I consider it my old stomping grounds; I worked at the Pick N' Save and K-Mart (RIP) on Sunset Ave. I want to come visit again soon! Thank you for such amazing service at WPL. :)

I'd love to learn more about your selection process for video games! I also did gaming selection when I worked at the Portage Public Library, and it was interesting develop "new" best practices and procedures for games selection in the space, as they didn't have any processes documented for gaming prior. 

In fact -- it's my belief that professional library training from this point forward should include a healthy dose of programming and collection development practices related to "Popular Media", which -- in this case -- needs to include video games. I don't think a single class in my MLIS included gaming as an important collection development or program initiative, which I think is a huge oversight. Maybe a group like this can help persuade our WI library training programs to consider including more gaming education! After all, video games are the most popular entertainment medium in the world at this point, and show no signs of slowing down. TTRPGs and other forms of analog gaming are as popular as they've ever been. We'd be remiss not to better reach library populations interested in them!

Jamison Hein 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Hi everyone!

My name is Jamie Hein and I'm the Director of the Clintonville Public Library, a small-ish library about 45 minutes west of Green Bay. I've been here 15 years, 10 of those years as Director. I purchase materials for our gaming collections and helped organize playing video games in the library, among many other duties.

I've been a gamer since I received an NES with Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt on Christmas in the late 1980s. I mostly play video games, but I do enjoy card and table top games as well. My favorite genre is RPGs, though I do enjoy playing a little bit of everything. A few of my favorites I played this year are Baldur's Gate 3, Super Mario Bros. Wonder, Death's Door, and Hollow Knight. Besides gaming, I enjoy playing guitar, listening to vinyl, sketching poorly, watching movies, shows, and anime of all sorts, and taking care of two cats.

I joined this group to learn about how others are integrating gaming into their libraries. Anyways, nice to meet everyone and looking forward to working together!

Jamie

Chris Baker 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey Jamie! Welcome, my friend!

I also ALSO love me some RPGs. I seriously put probably around 500 hours into Baldur's Gate 3 this year (over 3 playthroughs). I first ran a Githyanki Warlock, then a Wood Elf Monk, and finally a Human Barbarian (in the style of Kratos from GOW). I'm convinced 2023 might be one of the best years for games in history -- in no small part due to games like BG3.

How did you like Death's Door & Hollow Knight!? I got about halfway through Death's Door and really enjoyed it. HK is one of my favorites of all time -- that's another game I nearly 100%'ed and played obsessively. The sequel, Silksong, should be coming out in 2024!!

Maybe I should create a discussion post for new game releases each month -- board, card, video, etc. That way folks in this group can always have an up-to-date place to look for new selections!

Thanks Jamie!

~Chris

Jamison Hein 6 months, 3 weeks ago

My wife and I finished one playthrough of Baldur's Gate 3 at around 200 hours. We played as an elf bard, mainly because we wanted high charisma, which was quite helpful in several situations. 

I loved both Death's Door and Hollow Knight. This was my second time playing through Hollow Knight and I enjoyed it more this time than the first. I'm so close to the platinum for it, but I can't get past the pantheon boss rushes. I have the last two most difficult ones left. I'm anxiously waiting for Silksong.

New game release discussion posts would be great. I would love to add to them if possible, though my knowledge would mostly be video games.

Anyway, thanks Chris for organizing this group. I look forward to whatever we create here.

Chris Baker 6 months, 3 weeks ago

High charisma was a blast for my Warlock, too (literally -- with Eldritch Blast)! I'd recommend a charisma playthrough for other folks' first time, too, so they can really roleplay the dialogue options.

I also CANNOT beat the Pantheon boss rushes; I've completed everything but that. I really enjoyed the Path of Pain, but the Pantheon kicks my tushy.

I'd love for everyone within this group to contribute to new releases! Mine also would mostly be video games, Jamie, lol, so we should have a lot of great info to share. I'd be looking forwad to other experts in the TTRPG, board game, card game, ARG, etc. space sharing new releases too. 

~Chris

Alison Wirth 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Hello!

I'm Alison Wirth, and I'm the Technical Services Librarian at the Portage County Public Library.  I moved from the east coast after getting my MLIS 10 (!!!) years ago, and now live and work in Stevens Point.

Some of my hobbies are: gaming of all sorts, horror, music (metal and electronic are my genres of choice, but I'm always on the hunt for anything interesting!), crafting anything I can get my hands on, and being a pet mom for my two hedgehog boys Bear and Brom.

My gaming mostly takes the form of videogames, where I've been joyously immersing myself into the boom of indie horror games that we're currently in. Anything spooky or scary, and I'm there (though I'm terribly hopeless at platformers or FPS, so I tend to stick to watching lets-plays for those). I've also recently found a friend group to start up a game of Mörk Borg, which is a doom metal-inspired TTRPG with the most AMAZING artwork (if you're into horror, that is...).

Every year I go to the gaming conference PAX East in Boston and get to see all sorts of new games - I also get to check out panels about how people use games in interesting and new ways. That made me interested to see where and how games could be applied to the library world, and how libraries could support and give back to the gaming community.

Chris Baker 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey Alison!!! Welcome!!!!

I HAVE TO SEE BEAR AND BROM. I love hedgehogs! Your hobbies totally align with mine (I am a horror fanatic); I wouldn't be surprised if there are a lot of folks in this space who share hobbies, haha.

Indie horror makes up some of the best that gaming has to offer nowadays; Mörk Borg looks so cool.

I'm jealous you go to PAX East; I've never been, and I'd love to go!! There are so many outstanding opportunities for cross-institutional (and even intersectional) work between gamers, developers, library programmers and selectors, learning scientists, school clubs, etc., etc., etc., and more. I genuinely believe a motivated cohort of Wisconsin librarians can serve as a network of subject matter experts to assist folks nationally; I'm glad you're representing us there!!

On the conference note... I'm going to again plug the Play Make Learn 2024 Conference in Madison; people visit from institutions globally to attend to the conference and engage in research/practictioner partnerships, project sharing, "serendipitous connections", and more. It's one of the coolest conferences I've ever had the pleasure to attend, and now I get to help design the conference experience for attendees. We've got some really fun games and learning based stuff planned for this coming year.

Our Call for Proposals is currently open! If ANYONE in this cohort has exciting ideas to share (even if they're still "in-the-works"!! We love in-process projects at Play Make Learn!), y'all should consider proposing to present!

Alison -- I also noticed you added a resource to WISELearn; HURRAH! I'm not sure it worked (it's just listed as "lesson" at the moment), so you might want to take a look and edit it or try again -- but I can approve it once you've got it ready. THANK YOU for being the first brave person to add a resource!!! w00t.

~Chris

Alison Wirth 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Well now I feel a little bad - I was clicking around the other day and hadn't realized I actually created a draft post. Once I come up with something I'll be happy to post though, haha.

I'll definitely have to check out that Play Make Learn Conference, so thanks for the extra plug!

If you enjoy horror imagery, you should check out the independant publisher Hollow Press. They focus mostly on comics and art, but have some really interesting lore-centric TTRPG-esque stuff mixed in there too. I didn't link directly as there are quite a few NSFW images on their site so didn't want anyone to click through unknowingly, but for any interested it pops right up in a google search.

And I'm always happy to show off my boys! Meet Bear (relaxing with his little feets out) and Brom (my piggy nosed cutie)!

Bear relaxing <3Brom exploring

John Klima 6 months, 3 weeks ago

My name is John Klima and I'm the Technology Manager of Waukesha Public Library. I've been at WPL for almost 13 years now. I've been gaming since my older brother convinced me to ask for Dungeons & Dragons for my eighth birthday (this would have been 1979) because my birthday is earlier in the year than his. Since then, I've played so many games.

For the past ten years or so, I've been in a consistent monthly gaming group. We don't tend to re-play games (one of our members has hundreds of games) but some recent favorites include Everdell, Star Wars Outer Rim, Sheriff of Nottingham, and Wingspan. I also play some games on the Switch and our family recently got a PS5 so I let my teenage son crush me in games on that whenever I get the time.

WPL is launching a gaming night in the coming year, so I'm here to brainstorm and learn to help support those events.

Chris Baker 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey John!! I grew up in Waukesha, and have a LOT of fond memories of WPL!

I'd absolutely love to hear more about your plans for a gaming night; do you think you'll include any of the games you mentioned (like Nottingham or Outer Rim)? What other gaming night plans do y'all have?

I'm pumped to learn more!!

~Chris

Sarah Kyrie 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Hello!

 

Looking forward to expanding my game offerings, including, perhaps, taking over a DnD game group of which I know very little (it sounds like the teens mostly have it but the last facilitator said that he would work to keep it from being too violent).

I play a lot of games with my own kids at home and in a past career life, taught old-fashioned parlor games in a one room school house.  The video gaming is all green to me though!

 

Sarah, in Argyle

Chris Baker 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey Sarah! Welcome!!!

If you ever want to learn more about video games, I'll be happy to help, haha (although I'm sure lots of other leaders here can help, too!).

Violence and gaming is an incredibly interesting subject -- with a LOT of nuance to research, social outcome discussions, etc. It's quite complicated to dissect -- I've done a lot of research about it in the past. I have a feeling that as this group grows and we have more people looking to embrace gaming in their space, questions about violence and impact will arise. Hopefully, our group can locate modern research and writing on the subject and engage in thoughtful, respectful, productive discussion about it!

~Chris

Edgerton Public Library 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Hi Everyone!

I'm Beth Krebs-Smith, Director at the Edgerton Public Library as well as the Teen Services Coordinator. I am a huge lover of board games....big complicated campaign style board games like Gloomhaven and Arkham Horror. I also dabble in D&D, but don't really have the time or focus to do the work of creating and upgrading characters, so I like to play one off sessions where the GM has done the work of creating characters. (Lazy, I know!) 

I'd really like to start a circulating board game collection at the library, but haven't quite found a way to fit it into the budget yet. I have purchased some games for our Teen Space that stay in house and am working on buying more here and there as I can. 

I've tried getting D&D started at the library, but can't seem to find the right day of the week or something because it just doesn't happen. 

Outside of work, I'm an avid crafter and the mama of three big dogs: Bart a 1-year-old German Shephered/Bluetick Coonhound mix, Phoebe a 5 month old Saint Bernard, and Hank a 7-year-old Newfoundland. They keep me busy!

Looking forward to sharing resources!

Beth

Chris Baker 6 months, 1 week ago

Hey Beth!!! So glad you're joining our group.

also love big complicated campaign style games like you'd mentioned; I'd really like to play Gloomhaven some day (never have before!), and I also want to hit up Call of Cthulhu if someone could be a proper GM to introduce me to the gameplay.

And what you mentioned about having a GM/DM create characters to expedite the set-up process for D&D adventures is SPOT ON -- I have a feeling a lot of people in this group would feel the same! We only have so much capacity as librarians, and the best way to begin building TTRPG gaming in libraries (I'd submit) is to avoid getting too bogged down in the weeds with new players. More complexity could always be added in later for interested players -- after they've learned the ropes at an introductory one-shot session or two!

I'd imagine you do have a lot on your hand with those big doggos!!! My friend has two Newfies and she loves them to death. So cute!

Thanks so much!

~Chris

Maggie Davis 6 months ago

Hi everyone!

My name is Maggie Davis, and I am the Adult Services and Reference Assistant for the Menomonee Falls Public Library in Menomonee Falls, WI. I started as a Page about 2 years ago. Currently, I hold an associates degree in applied sciences for 3D animation with some introduction to game development and interactive experiences, but I hope to go back to school and finish my bachelors with a goal of pursuing an MLIS with a certificate in archival studies! I run a monthly gaming and eSports club at our library for Adults, as well as animation-focused programming for all ages.

Off the clock, I am an alumni advisor for Story Xperiential, as well as a huge gamer and lover of cross-stitching (below is my current project!). I primarily play on the Nintendo Switch, PC, and I GM'ed a DND oneshot designed by my colleague Allison for the first time in 2023. I found I really enjoyed it! I'm curious about trying out Critical Role's Candela Obscura (or another similar system) to feel out the differences between mechanically-driven and cinematically-driven gameplay. I have also been teaching people how to play Disney Lorcana at game club. Some of my favorite games include Hades, Kingdom Hearts, Undertale, God of War 2018, and recently I have fallen back into Genshin Impact.

I'm interested in being a part of this group because I really enjoy this style of programming, and introducing our patrons to new ways to think about and engage with the entertainment they encounter in their lives, regardless of it being film, tabletop, or video games, and hopefully grow an appreciation for the labor and skill that goes into creating it. I hope to learn more about the resources that are out in the world available to libraries, so I can help put creative tools in the hands of the public. I'd also love to develop more programming that increases access and knowledge of our other resources at MFPL to drive our patrons' creativity. The intersections between animation and library services is pretty cool!

An unfinished cross stitch project featuring Sora, the main character of the Kingdom Hearts series.

Chris Baker 6 months ago

Hey Maggie!!! Thanks so much for joining! There are so many things to respond to in your post -- which I love!

Whoah -- your experience in the games space is SUPER impressive. I'm jealous of your education with 3d animation and game development/interactive experiences; I'd love for more of that to be brought into youth library programming! Also -- the eSports club for adults is REALLY compelling to me. How do you run it!? What games to you play? What's the organizational structure? Do you have any resources, or paperwork, or links/best practices that you might consider uploading as an OER to this group? I can always create new folders if you thought there was something to add; let me know if I could help clarify anything about the process, too!

OMG KINGDOM HEARTS! What an AMAZING (and super big and complicated) cross stitch!. You are really talented. My wife cross stitches but that is REALLY huge compared to anything she's done so far. Impressive!!

I'd love to learn more about your GM experience; I'm hoping this group will result in more librarians throughout the state being comfortable diving into a GM space -- just giving it a shot. In fact, a recently added resource to our group is a collective .zip file including everything needed for a terrific D&D one-shot experience. Todd Gibbons, an excellent and creative DM, designed and offered the experience at WLA 2022 and at Play Make Learn 2023; he graciously offered to upload it for librarians to utilize -- so y'all should go check it out! It's ready to be integrated into library programs.

And geez, you're speaking my language: I've 100%'ed Hades, platinum'ed GoW (2018 & Ragnarok) and Undertale (not bragging; just admitting how much time I've spent with these masterpieces), and spent WAY too much money on Genshin Impact back in the day.

I can't wait to collaborate on different resources and initiatives; I want to come visit your library space!

Thanks again. :)

~Chris 

 

 

Maggie Davis 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Hi Chris!! Great to hear from you (and sorry it took so long to respond)!

Having the background in animation makes for super cool possibilities! I started here when I was finishing school and trying to break into studio work in the animation industry, and as I got to take on more responsibilities I found I really like library work. Then I learned about Disney's hush hush Animation Research Library when watching a documentary and had the epiphany of I CAN DO BOTH!!!! I'm hoping we can run our Lego Stop Motion camp again sometime this summer! I'd also like to start doing Blender 3D modeling and animation classes for teens and adults in our makerspace, eventually. I gotta brush up on my own skills in that software!

For running the adult game club, so far it's been based on experimentation with different kinds of games and activities. I don't have any formal paperwork, but in the future if I do I would be more than happy to share it! Generally, I'll pick a theme or a co-op/competitive game that we play on the big screen in our Community Room (our Spring lineup will be Overcooked, a tabletop oneshot for National Library Week, and Family Game Night for Memorial Day weekend), but also I also encourage folks to bring their own games and consoles to share and play together or just hang out and enjoy some parallel play time. I also pick 3-4 of our Library of Things board games to put out that folks can play or take home with them. Our best attended was our MarioKart 8 tournament in November, and I learned that an athletic game like Just Dance is not as popular. We also had a great time in December with our 'Cozy Game Awards', where we invited everyone to bring a favorite cozy game to play and watched the VOD of the 2023 Game Awards. I made a little passive activity where people could vote with popsicle sticks for their Game of the Year from the nominees. One thing I did not plan to encounter was people being very particular about their controllers when you bring out the fighting games, and they WILL insist on it!

I really liked GM-ing, but it was a controlled experience in the sense that I was performing for my colleagues who I knew fairly well by the time we played the one-shot for a Staff Education Day activity. I had been goofing about with Allison while they were in the process of developing the one-shot, and I ended up making an animated 1 hour timer of our magic library we would be playing in since the in-game deadline was sunrise, with a playlist of gaming music. I've seen people warn about Critical Role-effect when their gameplay doesn't measure up to a liveplay show, but I found making in-game jokes about liveplay shows and DND podcasts and other tabletop things I enjoy and thought were funny brought me new knowledge about my colleagues- I joked on an investigation check that they found an expired Fantasy Costco coupon being used as a bookmark and that's how I learned a few of my coworkers at my table also listened to The Adventure Zone! I also learned I was a little too passive about setting up rolls and making sure my players knew it was possible to fail an action, because it sucked so hard if they go all in on describing an epic action and the effect of that action and having to be like, "That is so nice, but I regret to inform you that you do gotta roll for that" after they are done. If I had to change one thing to how we played, it was that we kinda ran a Kids on Bikes-style system where everyone had a different value die associated to a different trait instead of modifiers, which made it really hard to keep track of who was technically rolling successes and failures on skill checks. We are planning to expand the one-shot for game club, so I'm curious to run it again for patrons and see how they react to it!

Yes!! I love those style of games! Undertale would be my go to choice if I had the chance to delete the memory of a game from my head to experience it for the first time again. As for Genshin... yeah, my claim to fame there in my friend group is that I have been 100% free to play since I downloaded it 3 months after its release, and am still regularly playing it. The grind is real and the Fontaine main quest and characters are so worth it.

I'm looking forward to working with everyone, as well! Stop by anytime, we would love to have you!

Krista Blomberg 6 months ago

Hi there!  My name is Krista Blomberg and I work in rural northern Wisconsin at the Rib Lake Public Library. We are all part-time staff here. I double as the Assistant Director and Youth Services Coordinator with my main programs being our weekly storytime and our summer reading program.  We (meaning my director and I) would dearly love to engage more of our tween/teen population and we think that games is the most likely way to do that.  We recently revamped our young adult/teen area adding a booth/table to give them a place to hang out. Personally, I LOVE games - mostly the non-digital kind - and play everything from games like Ticket to Ride (the Great Lakes Version is a fav!) and Mysterium, to card games like cribbage and sheephead to word games.  We just found one that had our family laughing hysterically called Ransom Notes.   So, here I am to learn more about how to do games in our library, finding ways to work another program into part-time hours, and meet some other amazing people!  Thanks Chris for this resource!

Chris Baker 6 months ago

Hey Krista! Nice to see you joining us. FYI -- I was going through some old files in my house and found our YS Development Institute completion certificate; immediate nostalgia. :-p

Lots of cribbage fans here; we should organize a cribbage playing night as a part of WLA some time!! Ticket to ride and Mysterium are both excellent, too!!

Welcome, my friend!

~Chris

Laura Turpin 6 months ago

Hi all! My name is Laura Turpin, and I'm the youth services department at St Croix Falls Public Library (we're kinda small). I played my first computer game on an Apple IIe, then graduated to NES, where Tetris was a family favorite; then the PC, where Return to Zork and Myst were family favorites. Since then I've come to appreciate several other video game series, like Elder Scrolls, The Longest Journey, and Mass Effect. (Engaging storylines FTW!) For awhile I developed user interface add-ons for Elder Scrolls Online, but these days I just play.

My family growing up also enjoyed playing board and card games; I am a 4th (at least) generation Pinnachle player, and I play a downright snarky game of Clue. I also play cello. My other interests include golden-age sci-fi, manga, high fantasy, knitting, and K-pop. I'm currently enjoying the manga series Oshi no Ko, and can't wait for the next volume to be published. I've never been big into TTRPGs due to lack of time, not lack of interest.

My daughter introduced my husband and me to Minecraft when she was 4 years old. She's now almost 13, and an unrepentant griefer (in-game prankster, in gamer parlance). We encouraged her to practice reading by getting her games like Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing, where all of the dialogue is written. (Then she discovered the Wings of Fire books and we were off to the races.) My husband plays Guild Wars II when he's not building a 3D printer or tinkering with his amateur radio setup. Sadly, we lost our 19-year-old cat to kidney disease last month, so we're waiting for that space to heal a bit before we seek new feline leadership.

Chris Baker 6 months ago

WELCOME, Laura!

I am *so* a storyline/RPG-based gamer myself and have enjoyed all of the games you mentioned at one time or another. I'm looking forward to the next Mass Effect (already announced!), and I'd expect to hear at least some news about the next Elder Scrolls game (since Starfield released and was... sortof... a flop).

Cello is one of my favorite instruments! I'm an electric bassist, myself, so I'm always jealous of what cellists can do.

I'm sorry to hear about your cat. :( I'm wishing your family all the good vibes, healing, and positive memories of your feline pal. 

Your family sounds like a super great example of the positive opportunity for sharing in gaming. I look forward to hearing more about your interests and work in this space!

~Chris

Keith Gerlach 6 months ago

Hi everyone,

My name is Keith Gerlach, I'm the Facility and Technology Librarian at the Lake Geneva Public Library. I'm the games interested/knowledgeable librarian on staff here and its been an exciting journey serving the community of the birthplace of D&D. 

I've always been an avid lover of board games especially, but also of TTRPGs and Metroidvanias (almost the only kind of videogame I'll turn a system on for any more). My favorite board games right now are Heroscape, Xia: Legends of a Drift System, and Inis, not least because they are beautiful games. For TTRPGs, I play D&D5e, a little Starfinder, Kids on Bikes, and am looking forward to my first game in Coyote and Crow soon. I've been gamemaster and player for each.

I currently organize our 'D&D at the Library' program for teens and have an adult program in the works. I've also collaborated with another library to organize 'Bards and Bookwyrms' an annual library TTRPG program held in the Horticultural Hall (birthplace of Gencon) here in Lake Geneva. 

I am excited to be a part of this group because of the potential resources, support, and collaboration that can come of it. Gaming is very relevant within libraries and especially in my community, so being able to fulfill the needs for it is crucial. I'm looking forward to learning from my colleagues on this front!

Keith

Chris Baker 6 months ago

Hey Keith! Nice to see you here, my friend. I believe we chatted for a moment or two after our DPI presentation at WLA this past year.

My parents had a place in Whitewater for awhile, so I spent quite a bit of time in Lake Geneva. Beautiful library y'all have! And YES -- Gary Gygax has cemented Lake Geneva as a legendary place in gaming history. In fact, myself and my boss Ben are currently exploring a partnership project with Washington state; we like to brag that while they have Wizards and are current gen D&D influencers, we'll always have the game's birth on our state's resume!

I love me Metroidvanias as much as almost any game type; I presume you enjoyed Hollow Knight? I can't wait for Silksong! I finished Blasphemous 2 this year as well; loved it. Symphony of the Night is one of my top ten games of all time -- granted I say that with a heavy dose of nostalgia. 

Would love for you to contribute any resources, thoughts, suggestions, etc., when it comes to being a gamemaster! I think a lot of folks throughout the state can benefit from y'alls' deep wells of experience in that space.

Cheers, m8!

~Chris 

Keith Gerlach 6 months ago

Glad to be here!

It is a beautiful library, we're very fortunate for that! 

I did thoroughly enjoy Hollow Knight and look forward to Silksong as well. It's hard to go back to now, but I grew up playing the original Metroid (but on GameBoy Advance) as my favorite. A pretty formative experience, if not always a reproducible one.

I will certainly add what I can to the group when I can!

April de la Ruelle 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Hello everyone - 

I am still very new to the library world, I've been a director for exactly one year. (Previously my career was in Public Safety). Our little library is looking for new and innovative ideas to provide educational experiences and fun for our community youth. We are offering our area's very first DnD creation workshop where we hope to give an overview of DnD and help newcomers create their own character. We also have a local business that visits with VR headsets and Xbox stations for gaming. This summer we are hosting our very first Minecraft gaming program with a closed circuit game for kids. 

I am not a gamer, but I'm slowly learning to love it!

Chris Baker 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey April! Library newcomers are WELCOME -- and congrats on hitting your one year! Thank you for being a Library Leader in Wisconsin. :)

Ooooooh -- I'd LOVE to hear more about how your DnD workshop goes; challenges that arise, opportunities that spark, etc. Like I've said on other posts in this discussion, I have a feeling a lot of librarians throughout the state will be in the same boat in terms of dipping their toes into it -- and could gain a lot of insight from your experience. Please feel free to post a new discussion sharing your experience after you offer the program!

Cheers,

~Chris

Keith Schroeder 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Good morning, everyone!

I am Keith Schroeder, Director of Library Services for the Marinette School District.  Gaming and gaming concepts in the classroom is an interest of mine.  I do try to incorporate gaming concepts to my approaches with students.  

In addition to the classroom, in our libraries we incoporate gaming in as many areas as we can.  We also have an eSports group that meets daily in the LMC.  I look forward to the exchange of ideas with this group.

Keith

esports students

Chris Baker 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey Keith! Thanks for joining -- and for sharing the TERRIFIC picture. I'd love to learn more about your eSports group; how did y'all supply the hardware/software for it? Did you develop best practices or guidelines to help moderate the club? How do you spread word and get other kiddos involved? Any particular challenges you've experienced, or unexpected opportunities? If you're interested, feel free to create a new Discussion Post sharing out. I can spread word to other folks in the cohort to get their eyes on it for ongoing discussion!

There are a couple of other folks I've connected with in the Wisconsin library community that are HEAVILY involved in eSports -- including leaders with the Wisconsin Highschool eSports Association; I'm looking forward to better connecting them as a resource with Wisconsin librarians so other spaces can begin to integrate eSports clubs!

Rock on; excellent work.

~Chris

Allison Puestow 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Hello! My name is Allison Puestow and I’m the Assistant Director of the Tomahawk Public Library in Tomahawk, WI. The brand new hobby I’m getting into is glass fusing and making pendants (I got a microwave glass kiln for Christmas, and it’s very fun). Gaming-wise, I tend to do more video games—currently trying to conquer Tears of the Kingdom—although am starting to get more into board games.

I’m joining this group because we are developing a good-sized board game collection at our library (I’m pretty sure we’ve hit 100 between our educational, nature, and regular board games), and I’m looking forward to seeing where else we can expand and be a good resource for our community.

Chris Baker 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Hi Allison!

I am so envious of folks like y'all who have a knack for arts and craftswork like glass fusing; it's incredibly inspiring to see people create projects out of whole cloth, as it were. I'd love to see some of your work!

I played the heck out of BotW (been a lifelong Zelda fan); I haven't yet picked up TotK. I'm kindof waiting for some period where I don't have any other video games to play so I will have an outstanding experience "in reserve" to dive into! How do you like it so far? If you've played BotW, how do you think they compare?

I'd love to learn more about your library's boardgame collection, too; do you offer them for checkout? How do you decide about what to purchase?

Thanks!!

~Chris

Allison Puestow 5 months, 3 weeks ago

They're both very enjoyable games. There are some things from BotW that I miss, but also some new features in TofK that I really like. I've been playing it for like 2 months straight XD 

We started our collection during Covid with educational games (like Fraction of the Pizza) to help out families that were now homeschooling. Then we branched out to more traditional board games. Some we just use in our afterschool program, but most of them can be checked out by our patrons. Our games for younger kids seem to be more popular, so we purchase a lot of cooperative games for 5 and under, though we also have a good selection for 8-adult. My director is a big board game lover, and her brother actually works for a board game company, so sometimes we get really good deals! 

 

Also, here's a before and after of a glass piece I did. glass piece

Nicholas Censoprano 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Hello everyone!

My name is Nick Censoprano, and I am the Adult Services Librarian Intern at the New Berlin Public Library. Our library is a part of the Bridges Library System, a consortium of 24-member libraries in Waukesha County and Jefferson County. I am working in this role while I complete my MLIS as a graduate student at UW-Milwaukee!

I have had an Xbox since I was younger, and have always loved story-driven games and RPGs, specifically games in the FalloutElder Scrolls, Bioshock, and Witcher franchsises. The first video game I ever bought was a used copy of Fallout 3 at a Gamestop! I have always found video games to be an amazing form of storytelling and world-building, and could be just as compelling as a story in a great book. However, through the medium of video games, the player have a greater involvement and engagement with the stories that are being shared.

I'd love to find ways to engage our patrons with all types of gaming, including video games, board games, card games, and anything else of the sort! I think that this can help connect patrons of all ages with the library, and help form a community of people who share similar interests and hobbies at our libraries.

Chris Baker 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey Nick! Welcome!!

I grew up in Waukesha and spent a lot of time in New Berlin (I believe I've visited the library a few times back in the day). Congrats on your role and the work you're doing at UW-Milwaukee; I'm ALSO getting my degree from SOIS, and have just ONE last class this spring to complete before I finally get my MLIS. I've been working on it part-time for the past 4 years while working full-time, which has been a lot to deal with, but has overall worked out great! I hope you're enjoying your degree.

All the games you mentioned are among my favorite; I believe we are still anticipating an eventual Witcher 4 (maybe starring Ciri?). Couldn't agree more about your feelings on video games; their interactivity and options for choice can make for truly transportive and transformational story/learning experiences.

Glad you're joinin' us.

~Chris

Colette Bezio 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Hi, all!

I'm Colette Bezio, library assistant at the Muehl Public Library in Seymour. I've played D&D on and off (including DMing and original adventure creation) since the 80s and computer games since the Commodore 64. My MMORPG of choice is Guild Wars 2, and have been playing regularly for nearly seven years now, and I've been puttering around in virtual reality with an Oculus Quest 2. I do some writing and cartooning, and have a graphic novel published based on the board game of Go. My latest cartooning project was to provide illustrations for my brother's new miniature war game, Mice At Arms.

Gaming can be an awesome way to make learning easy and painless. I hope my creative skills and/or gaming experience can be useful in help developing this project.

Mouse Overlook

 

Chris Baker 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey Colette!! Awesome to have you join us!! Seymour rocks; HOME OF THE HAMBURGER!

Holy schla-moly, your art is absolutely stellar. I am so impressed; what an enchanting, playful style you utilize. Not that I'd want to add any more work to your (already full, I'm sure) plate, but just tossing it out there -- as we develop resources and put together shareables for our Wisconsin librarians to use, it could be neat if you were interested in ever designing any logos/imagery to capture the eye and that would "brand" our Games + Learning + Libraries cohort!! Just a thought; I just really admire your work. Anything you'd provide would of course always be credited!! I've been looking for something with more personality to update the current G+L+L "logo" above for our WISELearn Group, which was just a public domain image I snagged, lol.

Anyway; I haven't jumped into Guild Wars 2 but I know a lot of people who absolutely love it. Oculus Quest 2's for the win! I got a chance to play around with the Quest 3 this past year, and it's a pretty remarkable improvement. Hopefully, I'll get the opportunity to utilize them more in future projects.

And -- I totally agree, Colette, about how gaming can really streamline learning and make it fun for folks.

Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to working more together,

~Chris

Claire O'Brien 5 months, 1 week ago

Hello hello!

My name is Claire and I'm a Library Assistant at the Shawano County Library. My favorite part of my job is that I get to design escape rooms for our patrons. This has been a super fun challenge for me since I basically get paid to frustrate people, which has turned out to be something I'm not too bad at. We run a full room every other month, and then we also do mobile versions for outreach events and have "at home escape room kits" that can be checked out of our Library of Things. The escape rooms have been a very popular program, and I'm excited about expanding and improving them this year. 

When I'm not at work, I'm generally at home with my boys. I homeschooled them once upon a time, so I'm always looking for ways to create fun, educational activities for them that keep them engaged and learning. My oldest is a sensory seeker and my youngest has a speech delay, so I feel like I've had a lot of opportunity to get creative in finding new ways to meet each of their needs. 

I love the concept of this cohort, and look forward to learning from everyone's experiences!

Chris Baker 5 months, 1 week ago

Hey Claire!

Welcome. :)

Oooh... your Escape Room work sounds incredibly innovative and popular! I'd bet that other folks here would love to follow your lead. Would you possibly be interested in adding some of your resources for developing escape room programs (both in-person and mobile) to this group's resources? 

I added a new folder -- "Misc Interactive Library Program Resources": https://wlresources.dpi.wi.gov/groups/wisconsin-games-learning-libraries-cohort/173/711/

Feel free to begin adding anything that you think librarians could benefit from there! I'd love to see other libraries embrace and design Escape Rooms and other ARG-esque interactive programs for their spaces.

Thanks!

~Chris

Laura Turpin 5 months, 1 week ago

Escape rooms are some of my more popular programs too! So far I've used or adapted pre-packaged kits rather than creating my own. (I bought a few "DIY-at-home" kits that I'm considering putting into circulation, and also Libraries WIN (WVLS-IFLS-NWLS) has a Breakout EDU set available to borrow.) I've never written my own before. I'd love to see a guide on how to write the puzzles!

Charlene Harteau 5 months, 1 week ago

Hi gaming friends,

My name is Charlene (Char)  Harteau. I am a Librarian in the Racine Unified School District at Horlick High School. A part of my SPO goal has been to create an open, welcoming rigorous Horlick High School Library environment.  My classes include  "deep Dives" into the location of digital and on ground resources.  My library curriculum is posted in Google Classrooms (at time this I co-teach in 151). Some information about our Horlick Library is on our Library website https://sites.google.com/rusd.org/horlickhighschoollibrary/home 

 

We have a deeply seated eGame Program at Horlick and teams have won many  competitions. Here is an example of a schoolwide email that was just sent: 

“Our state esports added Chess competition for the month of November only.

Horlick's first competitor is G. A. C. (Freshman). 

He won his match Monday night and will compete three more times.

If you see Grien (pronounced Rain), please congratulate him!

Go Rebels!”

Here is a Horlick High School eGame Advertisement: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1ZE2_HsnmLQvtmUClnEsbxjDN_JUCRLF8gJVHueY9rg0/edit#slide=id.g1d983b8a152_0_0 

I’ve had conversations with our administration about creating a gaming program supported by the Horlick High School Library.

I’m not much of an “actual” video game player but gaming is a popular subject in our library. When I ask students why they enjoy gaming, some of the things they say are because it provides escapism, relaxation, mental stimulation and enjoyable stories. Yesterday when we were talking, Loren, a sophomore,  said her favorite games are RPGs, especially JRPGs because “they're a lot more detailed and intuitive”. Tim, a social studies teacher, says he is now playing RGPG, MMORPGs, FPS and RTS, specifically Witcher 3, Dragon Age, Elder Scrolls, Total War, Darkside and Rogue Trader.

When I’m visiting with my grandchildren they like me to sit with them while they explain how they play such games as Fortnite and Minecraft. They let me take over and tell me what to do. A couple of months ago I went to a gaming store at Mayfair with my oldest grandsons and they picked out a Nintendo System for our house and bought Mario Brothers and sports games. They appreciate Robolox Gift Cards. All twelve have gaming devices, even Zeke the three year old. 

I have always truly enjoyed board games and I have a substantial collection for library checkout. They were all we had and our entertainment “back in the day”. I recently had fun teaching my grandchildren how to play Monopoly and Scrabble.

Via participating in the Astrophysics Game Design Fellowship meeting on Friday, February 9th, I’m hoping to learn how to better locate and learn about the development of educational digital games. Reading through your posts has been astounding and perusing the Wisconsin Games + Learning + Libraries Cohort

https://wlresources.dpi.wi.gov/groups/wisconsin-games-learning-libraries-cohort/173/ link is amazing.

The “It’s time for schools to Embrace Video Games” article https://www.nsba.o rg/ASBJ/2020/February/esports does a good job of addressing the gaming phenomenon in the school environment. 

Chris Baker 5 months, 1 week ago

Wow, Char -- you are doing TERRIFIC work in supporting the Games + Learning space in Wisconsin! I am so impressed with your advocacy, desire to learn more, and hands-on work in lifting up the interests of your students. 

The link you shared really does hit home about the benefits schools are seeing when they embrace gaming as a means of connecting their students. I know we have multiple eSports-interested librarians (school and public) that are a part of this group; I'm really interested to learn more about other folks' work in this space, too!

Terrific sharing. Thank you so much!

~Chris

Emma McCarry 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Hi everyone!

My name is Emma McCarry. I'm an LAII at the Oshkosh Public Library! I started as a page there in the summer of 2019 and it is where I learned that I wanted to work in library as a career. I graduated from UW Oshkosh in December and hope to apply to an MLIS program either next fall or the next coming spring. Ultimately, I hope to become a teen/young adult librarian. :D

Some fun facts:

  • The first console I ever played on was the SNES; the first console I ever owned was a Nintendo DS Lite
  • I am currently playing a changeling paladin in Dungeons and Dragons!
  • In university, I was a history major with an LGBTQ+ certificate
  • Right now, I am playing Wizard101 (I'm in Polaris!), Dungeons & Dragons 5E, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Minecraft, Overwatch 2, Firewatch, Pokemon (Arceus, Sword, Violet, and Shining Pearl), and a handful of other games!
  • I was obsessed with Guitar Hero, Mario Kart Wii, and Super Smash Brothers Brawl as a kid

I'm excited to be a part of this group! I look forward to meeting other people in libraries who like gaming as well as how games can be integrated into libraries as an outreach and enrichment tool.

Nice to meet you all! ^-^

Chris Baker 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Hi Emma!! So glad you're joining our group.

Congrats on your awesome library journey; hopefully, we'll be able to keep you in Wisconsin as a rockstar Teen/Young Adult Librarian as you keep moving forward!! :)

Responses to your fun facts:

  • SNES is absolutely one of the all-time GOATs in terms of consoles. My fondest early gaming memories are playing SNES games with my brother!
  • w00t w00t for playing D&D
  • I'm super interested in your degree training and its potential crossover with the fields of gaming and librarianship! As we continue to explore opportunites and pathways for gaming projects in Wisconsin, we aim to do so ALWAYS with a lens of inclusivity and diversity in mind. We want to constanty ask ourselves; how can gaming help support diverse library staff and library users? Especially given your background of study, I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts on this!
  • Your gaming tastes rock! I am ALSO playing Tears of the Kingdom right now.

Thank you so much for sharing some thoughts!!! Please consider contributing OER resources to our group's lists, or make any other recommendations. I'll try to bear them in mind!

~Chris

Jordan Baneck 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Hi Everyone!

My name is Jordan Baneck, I have been working at the Marathon County Public Library Wausau location for about 6 months now as a Library Specialist in the adult services and reference department. Currently we are a bit light when it comes to TTRPG, Tabletop and Video Game availability and presence in our programming. I’m planning to eventually join some of my coworkers in the continuation of our teen D&D that has attracted a loyal group of attendees.  Through this group I’m hoping to learn how to best introduce and integrate the concept of gaming being an effective tool for learning and skill building, into my library and community.

Video games have been a part of my life since childhood, typically I tend to lean into more cooperative and PVE spaces though I do some competitive gaming as well with friends. Some notable favorites of mine include Last of Us, Resident Evil 4, Elden Ring, and on the Competitive side Overwatch 2.

TTRPG’s and board games have become a bigger part of my life in the past 10 years due to a friend group that I connected with through one of my oldest and closest friends. At the moment I play most of my board games digitally on Board Game Arena due to the distance from most of those friends. When it comes to TTRPG’s, I have some GM experience but have mostly filled the role of player in most campaigns I’ve been a part of. I have experience with a good variety of systems… I’ve recently gotten my hands on a system that was Kickstarted called Old Gods of Appalachia, which is made by the same group that puts out a horror anthology podcast of the same name.

I’m glad to make all of your acquaintances, and am excited to see where this goes and how together we can make something that we’re all pretty passionate about a more common thing in our communities and libraries.

Chris Baker 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey Jordan! So glad you're joinin' our group.

"Through this group I’m hoping to learn how to best introduce and integrate the concept of gaming being an effective tool for learning and skill building, into my library and community." -- I love this! I couldn't frame it better myself. That's EXACTLY what we're hoping this group will result in over time!

I also am MUCH more inclined toward coop & PVE myself (for those of you who might not be familiar with these terms: PVE = "Player vs. Environment" and is sometimes called "Player vs. Engine" -- essentially playing a game single player/solo against the 'game' itself, or computer-controlled enemies, vs. "PVP" -- "Player vs. Player", where games or modes pit players directly against other active players). Your taste is impeccable, Jordan! I love the LoU, RE4 is one of the best horror games ever made (I remember 100%'ing it on Gamecube and the Wii back in the day! The re-release was excellent), and the Soulsborne series (including Elden Ring) are among some of my favorite games of all time. Bloodborne might be my favorite game ever, come to think of it, even if just for setting and atmosphere alone. Sekiro is great, too! And I played a LOT of OW 1 back in the day; never jumped in to OW 2.

AND OH MY GOSH -- My wife and I LOVE the Old Gods of Appalachia podcast!!!!!!! We've listed to almost all of their episodes. How is the game!? We were so curious about if it was any good or not! I want to play against Old Hornet Head (or Old Horned Head, depending on on who's talkin'), buddy up with Jack O' the Woods, and summon "The Green" to battle the ancient forces!

I'd love to learn more about how your Teen D&D functions; how do you set it up? How do you promote it? Do you have multiple DMs? Do staff assist or partake? Any resources that you could add to this group's OERs that other members could utilize?

~Chris

Jordan Baneck 4 months, 2 weeks ago

I had a fantastic time with the OGoA system, I ran a module from the book for a group of friends who weren't familiar with the podcast. We didn't quite get to a point where they would go head to head with beings the likes of Old Horned Head or Jack, but if that group ever feels like jumping back in there's chances we'll get there... The system itself is based off of the Cypher System framework, so if you have any experience with systems like Numenera, the Strange or even the base Cypher System itself you kind of have a good feel of the game mechanically. Pair that with the eldritch goodness and the ever shifting power struggle between the deep dark and the green, and you have yourself an awesome experience in a setting that I don't often see explored in TTRPGS.

I myself am not yet a part of the Teen D&D program, though I do plan to help out where I can as things go into the future. I believe during the summer and early fall they were running an adventure module for teens who were interested. The turnout was pretty good but wound down to smaller group of consistent participants by the end. With the start of the school year the program has been mainly of a monthly D&D craft event and sporadic One-Shots. Advertisement and promotion would be handled through our website’s event page as well as physical advertisement on site in the library. From what I understand there were 1-3 GM’s depending on the amount of participants that registered. At the moment I don’t have any resources I can share, but as I become more a part of the group that runs those events I’ll see if anything becomes available that might be useful for the group.

Simon Baumgart 2 months, 1 week ago

Greetings and Salutations!

My name is Simon Baumgart, a library assistant at the Waupaca Area Public Library and coming up on my one year anniversary of starting here! Since starting i've become the unofficial IT person for the library and so I'm usually roped in to the new video games, technologies and table top things happening.
 

I've been DMing for a while now as a hobby (as much of a hobby as a party of 9 can be) and have been branching out to a few other systems as well (Vampire: the Masquerade, Blades in the Dark, Vagabond, Starfinder). I call myself a professional nerd, as I got my Bachelor's in Computer Science with a focus in Game Dsign and Development, which is a pretty big trump card when I work with our teens. My current games I'm going through are Monster Hunter: World, Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines, Carto and Yakuza 0. Some my favorites are Outer Wilds, Dark Souls, Crosscode and Psychonauts.

Im hoping to connect with some fellow nerds here, as well as learn how to get a better handle on library programming since that part is still a bit new to me. Ive been a big proponent of games in/as education my whole life, and so I'm always looking for an opprotunity to connect kids with games. Hoping to share any resources other can use as well!

Chris Baker 2 months, 1 week ago

Hi Simon! Thanks so much for joining the group and introducing yourself. :)

Your DM'ing experience and Game Design-based education are totally rad! There are so many terrifically transferable skills for these things to library programs. I'd love to have you DM a campaign that I could be a part of some time!

I'm a huge Soulsborne nerd myself; no kidding that I probably dumped 1500 hours or so into Dark Souls 1 back in the day. I love MH:W and VtM:B as well. The sequel to VtM:B is supposed to come out this Fall! Outer Wilds and Psychonauts are wonderful quirky games as well. Long live Tim Schafer!

Really looking forward to further collaboration with you in this space. Keep on keepin' on, pal!

~Chris