Starbucks Cards and Libraries – Would it Work?

I sometimes pick up those cool Starbuck’s Free App/Free Song/Free Book cards when I’m at Starbucks buying a coffee. I think those cards are pretty cool, and I think they just might work in a library setting, too.

What if libraries did something like this – created some cards, and pointed to free content, like:

  • Project Gutenberg free ebooks
  • Free music via your Freegal account (or fill in the blank if you have another music database)
  • Free event – have the card be the ticket to the event
  • Free game – point to something on the web, or actually make an app-based game and point to that.

This idea is sort of like those signs I saw at the Denver airport awhile back.

So … thoughts? Do you think it would work in a library? I’d love to know!

And an aside – yes, I know the video is sorta jumpy. Sorry about that! I should have used the Focus Lock feature, and didn’t think about it. Next time!

Foursquare and Libraries – Definitely Something There!

This is a follow-up post to my original post, Foursquare and Libraries – Anything There?

Lots of you left some great ideas in the comments, so I thought I’d do a little copy/paste and highlight some of them … because they’re really very cool ideas!

So – here are what some of YOU are doing with Foursquare:

  • Colleen Greene: Pollak Library (at Cal State Fullerton) is using it in beta mode, adding in a bunch of To Do items and Tips for students (i.e., get a Titan Card, set up their borrowing privileges, check their circulation record, use one of our AV or Group study rooms, visit the latest exhibit, etc.). our Social Media Team is exploring the idea of prizes. I am also teaching our campus social media working group how to use it and incorporate it into a campus culture.
  • Jason Clark: Saw this in a tweet from NYPL which talks about the kernel of an idea – summer reading meets foursquare . A friendly reading competition in the mobile space? Job description provides some more detail. While this isn’t true foursquare integration, it points to how foursquare could lead to/inspire new library apps and services.
  • Brad Czerniak: Canton Public Library offers a weekly prize to their Mayor. Just a concept. This week it’s a #totebag
  • libmario: Harvard and UNC recently teamed up with Foursquare to encourage social engagement with the campus community ,including faculty. Innovative way to encourage learning and connections that could be extended to libraries. –

And one interesting sidenote. Sometimes, people can be a bit negative about our libraries while adding tips to Foursquare. For example, Stephen Francoeur said “Saddened to see that one tag already added to my library: shitty wifi. Hope to find a way to turn that perception around.”

We’ve had one of those, too. Jason D. added this To Do list item to my library’s entry: “Late fees are being enforced, so to help you remember to take your books in, sign up for email reminders via” Not sure that’s really a negative comment, but it makes us sound a bit like “enforcers of the evil late fee” or something…

Anyway, yet another use for Foursquare – see what customers say about you in the Tips and To Do lists sections (then see if you can improve or fix those things).

Feel free to friend me in Foursquare!

The Edge – Our New Teen Center

Check out my library’s new Teen Center! A little more about it: “The Edge, our new Teen Center, has opened! What can you do at The Edge? Well… lots: meet with friends, play games, read, study, do stuff on the web, watch movies, and listen to music. We also hope to have live performances by garage bands, Guitar Hero competitions and crazy karaoke.”

Read more about it here. Kudos to my library for building something that’s pretty cool.

Gadgets and Gaming at Computers in Libraries 2008!

If you’re going to be at Computers in Libraries 2008 on Sunday (April 6!!!), then stop by this cool new event (swiped from Aaron’s blog):

What: Gaming (& Gadgets!) Night
Where: CIL 2008, Jefferson Room
When: Sunday, April 6th, 5:30-8:00 pm
How much: FREE
Who: You and other people interested in gaming

Jenny Levine and I have given a few gaming workshops at past Computers in Libraries and Internet Librarian conferences. After the sessions we’ve opened up the room to anyone interested in playing some games and/or learning about gaming. It’s proven to be a popular and really fun time, so this year Information Today has turned the post-workshop gameplay into a featured event. With refreshments even!


Go read the full post here. I plan on being there!

SXSWi2008, Day 4: Closing Remarks

Title: Alternate Realities

Speaker: Jane McGonigal

Showed “The Lost Ring” – video preview of a game – you can find hundreds of screenshots of this video in flickr, looking for hidden clues

She focused on the game designer’s perspective on the future of happiness

Question – are you in the happiness business?

Our primary product soon will be happiness… (think experience)

Happiness is the new capital

four key principles of happiness:
1 satisfying work to do
2. experience of being good at something
3. time spent with people we like
4. chance to be a part of something bigger

Multiplayer games are the ultimate happiness engine

We can be good at something (in games) that we can’t do in real life

Games give you instant feedback (you never get a “great job at speaking – you gained one speaking experience point”)

better feedback all the time in games – we know how we’re doing

better community – we feel part of something

Quality of Life – for many gamers today, their gaming life is better than their real life.

Bad News:
multiplayer games – it’s like we invented the written word, and we decided to only create books – why are we chaining the game to a PC or console? Why not free it into the real world?

Real world game examples:
Chore Wars – you do household chores, you gain points
Zyked – video games are fun, excersising not so fun – they give points for excercise
Serios – give work mates points for doing stuff at work – helps you set priorities. And you can see where the virtual money is being spent… it shows connections

Citizen Logistics – what if life were like a team activity? Treating everyday reality like a game by doing stuff in the real world

all these are in beta/alpha

to imagine the future, always look backwards

Soap analogy:
1931 – soap kills germs… it took many thousands of years to figure this out! Games are kind of like soap – we should be installing them everywhere. Instead of killing germs, we are killing boredom

Games kill alienation – for people who are socially challenged

games can kill depression by giving you community and a sense of purpose

She’s making the point that it’s not alternative reality – it’s alternate reality – still real, just alternate – another way of experiencing existence

World Without Oil as example – live your real life like this statement was true. People actually converted their cars to non-gas power and made videos of it. It sounds like a social activist kind of thing – figure out how this works, and attempt to do it. It lasted for 32 weeks.

It was alternate reality in real life

10 skills/terms in gaming that help amplify happiness…?

1. mobbability – ability to collaborate on large scales. Think crowd conrtol

2. cooperation radar – who would make good collaborators

3. ping quotient – ability to reach out to others in a network, easy to resspond to them

4. influency – adapt your persuasive abilities to different environments

5. multi capitalism – somem people want money, some want social capital, etc – different types of currency and how can you trade amongst the groups

6. protovation – rapid, fearless innovation – not worried about failing because you’re still learning

7. open authorship – think blogging. comfort with giving content away and knowing it will be changed. Also a design skill – knowing it won’t be broken when people change it

8. signal noise management – they hear lots of signals, and can sort it out

9. longbroading – ability to think in much broader systems

10 emergensight – spot patterns as they pop up

[aside – interestingly, these are all business-related skills or team-building skills with a game-based name…]

how do we start?

start with twitter

nike ipod – it gives you feedback, challenges by friends

sniff collars for dogs – the collar measures speed, “dog friends” etc in real life

Prius – “my car is a video game”

trackstick – records your gps locatin every 5 seconds

new brain scanner thing that shows when you’re tired, angry, etc while in a game

the important stuff:
– most of us in this room will be in the happiness business
– game designers have a huge head start (think experience in gaming, in web, in real life)
– important because they signal the desire, need and opportunity for all of us to redesign reality for real quality of life


Q on how much is good. some people are breaking their broken reality with gaming. Also – some have perfectly happy, normal lives. We won’t replace face-to-face – no online story. It’s about real life stuff.