“Man only plays when in the full meaning of the word he is a man, and he is only completely a man when he plays” (Schiller, 1902).
25 years after Ray Oldenburg (1989) described his “third place” theory, French academic libraries started developing game practices with their publics.
Playing games was generally considered by academic librarians as minor and youthful, or merely connected to public libraries and their cultural programmes… until the late 80s, when games were re-discovered as a powerful tool for developing an original offer for academic patrons. Games started then to be seen as a leverage tool for training users on documentary research, and close attention was paid to their welcoming and integrative potential.
This efficient activity still needs to be endorsed and labelled by the institutions. Except for some private universities or business schools, there are only a few universities and academic libraries that formalise and publicise their gaming initiatives. The events and programmes are generally run locally and they mostly rely on individual skills and personal involvement.
Almost no library lists gaming activities as such in its functional chart (and none in its hierarchical one), even when gaming missions are clearly stated in job descriptions. Librarians play games with the publics. They play a lot, and various kinds of games too, but it is difficult to identify gaming initiatives, even if some are repeated and regular actions. Like any other kind of atypical event, they lack a clear political definition of the service, a dedicated budget, an external communication plan and policy, formalised publicity and, broadly speaking, knowledge management.
At the same time, we cannot help but notice the obvious interest aroused by gaming activities on social networks, blogs, and more commonly on the web. Playing games at the academic library and at university is not something taken for granted, even less a priority, but we realise how powerful it can be when used as a communication tool or as a strategy to reach ultraconnected patrons. It can even become a reputation issue, as for the BnF (Bibliothèque nationale de France) when the François Mitterrand buildings were turned into a gigantic Tetris gameplay by the Chaos Computer Club from Berlin Germany in 2002, allowing anyone to interact with the game using their cell phones.
This article aims at giving a general overview of gaming issues in French academic libraries, since during the past ten years libraries have been developing gaming activities from library board games to mystery games and immersive roleplaying games, as was presented in the Liber congress in London (Swiatek, 2015).
Part 1—Game is Calling: Gaming Initiatives and Innovations in French Academic Libraries
2. Motivation for Setting up a Gaming Policy at the Library
The setting up of a gaming policy and of a calendar of events in a library and, more generally, in higher education may result from various reasons and pursue different goals.
Amongst the reasons, we can point out: the decision-maker’s and/or the organizer’s own personal conviction, an opportunity that could not be missed, a wish to follow the actual trend of “ludifying” (or “gamifying”) the image of the library and the services it offers, the will to meet the publics on their own familiar grounds using serious gaming for learning activities. Some aims can be: the wish to attract and retain new and young patrons by diversifying mediation activities, to respond to a political solicitation, to make the library more accessible, to reinforce its cultural programmes, and to use pervasive processes to increase its influence. The game can thus be a means as well as an end. The Evidence-Based Recommendations, given by Karl M. Kapp (2012) are pointing in the same direction:
- Use a game/simulation to provide a context for the learning
- Don’t focus on “entertainment”
- Carefully craft the simulation/game to provide opportunities to increase engagement and interactivity.
This is, in a nutshell, serious gaming, as worded by van Meegen & Limpens (2010).
When academic and public libraries are collaborating, they can also use gamification to enhance reading training and educational activities. For Montreal public libraries for example, see Thierry Robert (2012) at Enssib (France national LIS School) and Martel & Robert (2014) at the AIFBD congress. This pedagogical orientation is opposed to the fundamental policies of toy libraries, which consider games as playful by both nature and aim.
Identifying a need is one thing, pushing the “action” button is another. Gaming practices and services need a strategic and institutional programme to root their legitimacy. Staff, decision-makers and publics welcome these initiatives more easily when they are part of a political action and perspective, and it can then become easier to make projects for the future.
Like any other innovative project, undertaking a gaming activity comes along with constraints, hesitations and resistance to change. The first difficulty is that the game can be considered as a means and not an end; but without strategy, a game is doomed to remain an isolated practice. Changing implies stepping out of one’s comfort zone, discovering and experiencing the unknown.
Choosing to play games comes with implications for the academic library. We must start by gathering information from the public through focus-groups or direct interviews, best practices from our colleagues, contacts, ideas and some expertise from gamers and theory teachers, researchers and practitioners. We must think about how to build our programme: alone in our ivory tower, or in collaboration with the public in order to co-create it? How will we inscribe it in our charts, policies, strategy and communication action plans? How do we plan to manage this knowledge in our institution and also with our professional community? How do we plan to make our missions evolve if and when the gaming activities get successful?
With no claim to being exhaustive, and without providing a catalogue, let us have a look at the diverse, relevant and creative French gaming landscape in academic libraries, at a time when researchers and professional school institutions and associations are taking interest in gaming activities in French libraries.
3. Examples at French Academic Libraries
A first game type is the ARG (Alternate reality Game); according to the ESAR game classification, ARG is both a symbolic game and a game of rules. It aims at conveying a sense of belonging to a community. Johnson, Buhler, & Hillman (2010), researchers at the University of Florida, underlined the interest academic institutions have in building gaming projects designed for undergraduate students that include documentary research at the library. Their article followed the campus-scaled Humans vs. Zombies operation that involved a thousand students. The same kind of games has been set up in France since the beginning of the 2000s. These LARP games (Live-Action Role Playing) drag the participants into a virtual world in which they are playing a part, but with real documentary venues and purposes. They have to dig deep into electronic resources and printed documentation, compare results to deduce some clues, make concrete searches to unravel a mystery. Some of these initiatives were highlighted, even rewarded.
The BUPMC (Bibliothèque de l’Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris) received the Livres Hebdo innovation award in 2015 for murder parties organised in 2014 and in 2015 for the 1st-year students’ Welcome Week. It took around 7 months to build such a big event, as described by Gorsse (2015).
At the Lyon INSA (Institut National des Sciences Appliquées, Lyon, France), a strong sense of community was built amongst the participants through a two-month ongoing ARG in 2013. Completely viral and virtual at first, the game ended up in a unique and real evening event at the Lyon INSA library.
At UHA (Université de Haute-Alsace, Mulhouse) a yearly Cluedo-like Rally was organized until 2014, when it was marked and inscribed in the students’ curricula. It is featured (in French) in an interview by the French ADBU Association for academic libraries (ADBU, 2014).
Electronic games present lighter logistical issues, as happened with Zombibli,1 a tutored project set in 2012–2013 by the IMAC engineering school and the Marne-la-Vallée university library. An interactive game with motion recognition presents zombies invading the library. The interactive terminal is installed at the library’s entrance and the player has to get rid of the zombies until the library’s rules are complied with. Other projects are less technical, more flexible, completely web-based, and conceived to evolve. The game then relies on a heavy documentary research work by the game designers, who have to create permanently new and harder puzzles, enigmas and riddles to maintain the activity. We can take up two examples from Facebook: L’énigme du vendredi by BnF/Gallica, a weekly meeting that aims at discovering a heritage document, and OSNI Hunter,2 a challenge set up by the Montpellier science academic library in collaboration with the scientific heritage service of the university. An OSNI (non-identified scientific object, which sounds like the French acronym OVNI, for UFO) is a 19th or 20th century strange scientific object. It is placed in a display case at the library, a few clues are given, and people are invited to submit hypotheses or guesses about the use of this object, both through Facebook or using a ballot box located next to the object. The winner is asked to become the ambassador for the next OSNI.
Even lighter, you can find chess and Go boards scattered throughout many science academic libraries, recording the impact of mathematical arithmetic or combinatory games on scientific culture: “problèms plaisans et délectables, qui se font par les nombres,” as C.G. Bachet (1624) described them, and which delighted more than a Lewis Carroll.
The gaming call is now gradually spreading to the training of users, both in STM (Sciences) and SHS (Humanities), with a large variety of ambitions, projects and budgets. The BUPMC already offers trainings for undergraduate students built as police-teams enquiries, implying the use of special pedagogical and gaming equipment (quiz, construction games…) supporting active learning methods. The Dauphine University library, mainly oriented towards management, business and economy, is considering a serious game to train its public to documentary research. The Paris II Panthéon-Assas library has built a two-part training for 1,800 1st-year students in Law, exclusively based on the teachers’ documents for tutorial classes, which follows a scenario leading to the achievement of a comprehensive documentary research for their classes before attending the lecture. The gaming aspect lies in the avatar of a student freshly out from high school, whom you need to turn into a fully equipped 1st-year student.
Despite this new trend, games are not part of the traditional missions of a library yet. They are present mostly in hard science libraries, or in innovative, fun and active training activities. The pedagogical trends in blended learning—both classroom and distant learning—and active learning have not decisively spread in France for the moment. Until now, they mainly relied, if not only, on professors’ and teachers’ personal convictions, poorly supported or followed by the institutions—see the European Hy-Sup conclusions (Deschryver & Charlier, 2012). The French ministry for higher education released a strategic report (Béjean & Monthubert, 2015) in order to root and develop these evolutions into university pedagogical practices, followed by a series of conferences dealing with pedagogical transformations, starting in December 2015 (Institut Français de l’Education, 2015).
4. Gaming Activities: Research Background and Public-Oriented Practice
So how can we legitimate our gaming activities at the library, if French teachers have no career motivation to put more efforts into this trend? Well, we can look at the national and European research field, instead of the pedagogical field, if we feel like we need to justify our innovative actions.
The European academic research field is strongly supportive of gaming activities for research purposes, which can easily be translated into library actions. For example, the Tampere university gamelab, in Finland, has a four-year research programme for Ludification and Emergence of Playful Culture, with all PhD theses available online in Open Access, and in English (LUDIC, 2014). All sorts of lab initiatives are emerging in our universities, and are ready to welcome us and allow us to play an active part in their activities: gamelabs, fablabs, gamejams (which are times and spaces dedicated to a collaborative game creation). We can also take inspiration from public libraries with their labs and makerspaces, like Rennes’ biblio-remix,3 or the Nîmes Open Game Art,4 which organized a huge gamejam in 2014 with the library acting as a facilitator between artists and video games designers.
Collecting similar experiments and related feedbacks can also be useful for our activities. We can take the best from other institutions’/libraries’ innovative success stories, adapt them to our own context, and then elaborate on that. For example, we can base our activities on what has been done at the national library, which can be a good seal of quality for hesitant decision-makers. After its collaboration with the Play Research Lab,5 a ludology R&D laboratory from the Grand Hainaut Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the French national library (BnF) got an excellent feedback in terms of image. They programmed more than 3 weeks of workshops and a study day in 2014 about serious gaming.6
Such initiatives are generally highly appreciated as quality references, with rare restrictions. The awareness of academic authorities has also been a little heightened, especially in the management field and in some private business schools, by some researchers’ and students’ initiatives like Game of Deans.7 Amongst some twenty interviews that were conducted before the 2015 LIBER congress in UCL London (at which we presented the talk on which the present paper is based), the only limitations met by our interviewees were: budget constraints, removed after the first success at the Louise Michel library, Paris; reduction of the ECTS credits volume explicitly dedicated to gaming for information search and document retrieval at UHA; security issues that imposed an early closing, around 9.30 pm, to previously endless gaming and roleplaying nights at the Conflans- Sainte-Honorine public library.
The strongest resistance does not come from decision-makers, but from library staff. When professionals cannot identify with the library’s actions, they often rise up against gaming activities. Interviews revealed that the interest of the staff is aroused when the project is openly publicised and supported by the authorities, and comes along with internal information and training. It is essential to give value to the participating staff’s work and commitment and, at the same time, to put a particular emphasis on the awareness and training of the staff in relation with professional skills and techniques. This will enable us to widen, enhance, and renew our traditional field.
Successful experimentations led by highly and personally motivated teachers or mediators frequently turn into failure when managed by less motivated or untrained staff. Which may happen when a remarkable but personal initiative is suddenly turned into an institutional action, massively and quickly imposed, especially if neither set up with training nor change management.
More disturbingly, the public targeted by the gaming offer can also show some resistance, sometimes in a radical way. Which implies that it is necessary to re-think the gaming objectives of the library, and adapt them closely to the context and to the targeted public, rather than to put an end to the initiative. Such failures have been examined in recent studies. At the GEM business school in Grenoble, there is a “serious games and innovation” chair8 dedicated to serious gaming research, practice and creation. They pinpointed that that both GEM administration and teachers had a preconceived idea of Y/Z generations students, and that this was one of the main reasons why GEM students found it difficult to see gaming activities as part of the “serious” HE studies landscape.
Students have very concrete expectations, and demand to see the link between studying, training and the next step—working. Fully aware of the possibilities offered by the digital world, they show very little indulgence for clumsy ludopedagogical experimentations. Deeply convinced of the interest of ludic action, GEM decided to reconsider the gaming activity on its “serious” side, and to use it only and systematically during classroom courses. This way, the interest of and for the game is preserved.
More generally, we have to remember that blended solutions were recommended in the Hy-Sup 2012 conclusions (Deschryver & Charlier, 2012) for good reasons. We can assume that there is a strong necessity to closely connect the content of training and gaming to both disciplinary and utilitarian aspects. This implies a deep motivation within the staff, and a direct and strong mediation between staff, hierarchy, end users and advisers like teachers, cultural services, etc.
All this underlines the importance of a concrete and physical mediation, and reasserts the distinction between ludus (or play, without rules) and paidia (or game, implying constraints) that was made by Roger Caillois (1958) and by Gonzalo Frasca (2003).
Once the operational phase has been completed, comes the time to face and deal with knowledge management issues in order to promote, manage and disseminate experience and achievements. This track record tracking and evaluation time is crucial to plan further actions and set up strategic plans. It takes long to audit annual results and feedback, to analyse and interpret them, to write reports mentioning perspectives, not to mention budgeting… even longer than expected, since this often initiates long debates and discussions. In the following years, a rather long time must also be dedicated to adjusting and updating the gaming service or activity. Choosing to open up and democratise the library and its services, and proposing innovative—if not expensive—cultural activities, might modify substantially the organisation of the library and its chart. Attracting new patrons and building the loyalty of the users are tasks that involve change, and a good knowledge management can also turn out to be a revealing indicator and powerful leverage for this change.
Some pragmatic changes can be undertaken in the library to build a bridge between the services presently offered and gaming activity as a new entrance door for new patrons. Gaming at the library will attract new people. They can be inquisitive and wish to discover what is at their disposal at the library aside from games. Sometimes, even for advanced students, this can be a real and complete surprise! Yes, we do lend books. Yes, we do practice interloan services. Yes, we enable you to make copies, scan, book private boxes, work late, surf on the Internet and find people to help you search the documentation you need. Let us warmly welcome these new users. They help us upgrade our welcoming and orientation/general information services by challenging us: they are bringing fresh air and a new vision into the library. Sometimes this can also lead to a different kind of discovery: in Montpellier, OSNI Hunters opened for many students a window onto the scientific heritage university pole, a largely unknown cultural academic service. This also works for public, metropolitan and national libraries where gaming-focused events or visits are created to attract new publics and give them a possibility to discover the library itself: in France, see one-off giant events like “Press start, anatomie du jeu vidéo”9 at the Bibliothèque Publique d’Information-BPI in Paris or regular themed visits like “Chasse au trésor” [Treasure hunt]10 at the BPI and “Circuit Jeu de rôles” [Roleplaying visits]11 at the National Library-BnF, the latter being organised in collaboration with the French roleplay federation FFJdR.
Games can also provide the library with a specific and very active public for crowdsourcing or collaborative thinking… even for co-creation, which builds a direct link with creating and animating labs, as mentioned earlier.
Besides the steps of decision, creation, realisation, motivation, there is one more topic we should quickly address—the art of convincing. It is one thing to convince the library’s board of directors to enlist their teams to do gaming activities and to promote and support them; it is another one to give our direct supervisors the right elements for their bottom line in order to convince the decision-makers. Decision-makers need to see the interest and utility of a change, and we need them to give us their support and formalise it. Colas Duflo perfectly phrased it in an interview given to the Cahiers d’éthique sociale et politique: “Le jeu est l’invention d’une liberté dans et par une légalité” [“Gaming is inventing a freedom within and through lawfulness”] (Duflo & Monteil, 1998). This interaction and the importance of formalising and taking responsibility for our gaming projects and initiatives are underlined in French national reports and studies. A 2015 library inspection report (Ministère de l’Education Nationale, 2015) gave some guidelines in this direction, encouraging us to “construire une politique explicite concernant les jeux ou jeux vidéo, cohérente avec le projet documentaire et culturel de la bibliothèque” [“build an explicit policy on games or video games, consistent with the documentary and cultural project of the library”]. With a broader angle, we can also read the “Recommendation” pages and the “Checklist: lead questions for quality teaching and learning” from a report to the European Commission (McAleese, 2013), many of which can easily be related to library training-by-gaming activities.
Part 2—Managing Game Activities and Services at the Library – Organisation, Profiles and Policies
5. Game Manager and Game Designer—Emerging Profiles in Libraries?
Hybridisation, mediation and intercession stem from a library’s top management open to gaming. Then come the questions. To what extent can we develop gaming activities? Who will manage and coordinate them? And who will be in charge of animating and mediating the activities with the publics? What skills are to be required? How can we name those functions and occupations?
The first point to settle is whether or not gaming service and activities need to be developed in the structure—in which case, gaming skills and competencies have to be listed in two job profiles.
The first profile is strategic, and somehow classical, and does not require one to be an experienced gamer. Being convinced by the strategic and operational interest of the presence of a gaming service oriented towards its users in the library is enough. This is the manager’s profile—skills and competences must be close to those of a manager of any innovative service and must aim at implementing and developing policy strategies and communication. Such was the case at INSA-Lyon, where the manager is not a gamer. But she found soft-skilled people in the team and went to reach out for hard skills outside the profession.
The second profile is completely operational. It is highly connected to the gaming universe and involves creative skills, game design skills, rule writing skills, and organising skills. This profile is at the heart of the activity—it is both its tool and fuel; it is also the expert profile. This professional can usefully come from the world of gaming rather than from the world of libraries.
5.1. The Game Manager
The game manager occupies strategic functions. He/she is a pilot, an advocate and a translator. He/she links and connects people from different professional worlds, people with different occupations. He/she takes the traditional librarian’s mediation activities and adapts them to an innovative context.
Responsible for developing, planning, implementing gaming activities and innovations, his/her role is to impel innovations, and then translate the options he/she first selected into a political language in order to inform—and convince—decision-makers above him/her to endorse and support his /her choices. He/she ensures that services and partners are well coordinated. He/she also has a part to play in both external and internal communication. There is also an important deal of knowledge management and staff training policy and activities that need to be handled, in order to define a policy by exploiting, capitalising and spreading the library’s achievements, best practices and feedbacks. He/she has to be an “agile manager” and also has to maintain and develop relationships with collaborators and partners. By collaborators, we mean IT services, teachers, users’ representatives, for example. By partners, we mean the University students affairs departments, patrimonial/cultural affairs departments, communication/marketing services, for instance, but also, when relevant, non-academic partners like public libraries.
To help decision-makers make decisions and build policies, the game manager needs to define and integrate new profiles and new skills in the library staff. Which implies defining the limits of libraries’ missions and activities, a fundamental and at the same time challenging exercise in a changing world. Here the game manager plays a crucial part. As a transversal manager, he/she must coordinate the teams and activities in order to carry on with developing gaming activities and ensure their consistency with the library’s purposes. This is pretty close to issues that managers deal with when collaborating with IT staff, architects… and sometimes with university teachers or researchers.
As is the case with any innovative actions, gaming activities imply rethinking what skills need to be asked from a trained library staff or gaming service, and what skills need to be brought in from an external professional field.
Since his/her main competency is less technical than political, the game manager must rely on a gaming expert to understand what interest and perspective there are in developing gaming activities: the game designer.
5.2. The Game Designer
The game designer is in charge of the activity: to design and lead it, but also to propose a progression. He/she is at the same time a gamification expert and a mediator. He/she is the one who best masters the subject and acts as the referent and technical adviser for his/her hierarchy, the game team and all the other library services. His/her job description specifies the amount of time he/she spends on designing and implementing the library’s major games. As a mediator, he/she maintains contact with the library’s game facilitators and the public, and collects their feedbacks to adjust the service offer. In return, he/she submits projects appealing to the targeted publics. His/her mediation can be deepened in order to result in a co-construction process engaged with the public.
Does he/she need to be trained in librarianship? Not necessarily. A passionate librarian can be efficient and creative, but at a point external skills are needed. Game designers can bring their knowledge and competences in the library and help their manager interact with consultants and contractors. This has been the case at the INSA Lyon library, which worked with a pedagogical engineer on its ARG projects, and in 2016 at the BUPMC, which hired a game designer for the specific purposes of a videogame project. In the meantime, the “librarians” were considered for their soft skills, their experience as mediators, which were capitalised on for developing gaming activities with their users and partners.
When integrated into library teams, external collaborators can bring their lot of surprises—and staff enthusiasm. They never forget that they are dealing with library services, which is a strong reassurance for both teams and libraries’ top management. And it can apply easily to other libraries than the game-loving mathematics research ones! The main issues here are time—to welcome and include the contractor in the team—and training for both the team and the new collaborator, since they belong to different professional fields and cultures. They must learn how to work together to understand and serve the library’s purposes. Introducing external skills into the library is not just interesting for the implementation of the games itself: it is, above all, a strong tool to enhance and give political leverage to the gaming service and activities. It is a label that can be seen as an indicator of reproducibility, and thus reassure the decision-makers… and maybe ensure, as a consequence, a steady budget for the activity.
If the game designer is a librarian, should gaming activities take up his/her whole working time? Certainly not. Focusing on sharing competencies is often much more interesting in a team than setting apart a specialist from the majority of the staff, who can then understandably lack interest in his/her activities.
This distinction between a strategic and an operational profile is not proper to games: it is very typical of services and project team structures, where coordinating, communicating, sharing competences and knowledge, and spreading innovative ideas are the keys to success.
6. Communication, Collaboration and Staff Training—Three Paths to One Door
Communicating is a key to bring understanding, vision and involvement into gaming activities for both leadership and library staff. In the library, it is essential to provide a clear identification of the functions and issues of gaming: gaming should be formally stated in library charts and should be a department. This is a big issue, since a lot of libraries that developed gaming activities still do not identify gaming as a service and a department, and somehow keep hiding it behind the charts, considering it only as a tool.
Gaming initiatives must also be brought forward to staff in general as part and parcel of library activity, not as “another innovative project” cut off from the library’s general workflow. This comes along with a solid awareness raising campaign and a global training programme. When skill-trained and committed to such issues, staff is more open to considering gaming activities as part of library services. But we need to clearly state that some skills do not belong to the traditional expertise of librarians. We need to interact with people with different professional skills; we need to collaborate with outsiders instead of willing to integrate every competence into a librarian’s profile.
Some libraries decided to have the staff play instead of training them to play, and this makes sense, even through small initiatives. For example, playing games was used as a team-building tool at the Bibliothèque Sainte-Barbe in Paris, where a secret and mysterious “Stevenson Club” was spreading puzzles and clues in order to involve the staff into an investigation that could not be solved without good practice of e-resources and good e-research skills. In 2014, the “Stevenson Club” introduced the game in the form of a novel that was built chapter by chapter, along with the puzzle-solving progression. At the Dauphine research library (economics and management), the staff is used to seeking chocolates behind the books when looking for books on the shelves by call numbers. Now, everyone knows economics, finance and management classification sub-disciplines by heart. Well, the food lovers and the game designer himself, at least. In Montpellier, the game is used and practiced by the staff as a decision tool when it comes to decisions like voting the library’s name. At the BUPMC, training sessions are created through playing: trainers and training designers compete in teams in order to create new trainings for users. One team is made up of “architects,” the other of “scriptwriters,” and they have to design something consistent while a countdown timer is running. This makes it easier to fight against clichés about gaming that staff may have in mind, and to improve the quality and depth of the library’s gaming programme. In 2015, the French Inspection générale des bibliothèques published a report recommending to train the staff to gaming activities by practicing games and to mention these needs and action in the library’s staff training plan: “competences that have to be shared, experiences that have to be lived” [our translation].
Another issue is at stake, which is managing knowledge and ensuring the passing on of information and documentation every day but also in case of a staff change, and of course to other librarians and decision-makers, who will come and ask for feedback.
7. Knowledge Management Issues
It can be a good practice to deal with knowledge management (KM) issues in advance; various libraries recommend to set up feedbacks and evaluation files as soon as possible, so that they can be published on the library’s website quickly after the gaming event, or be sent to colleagues from other universities once it is over. These materials can also easily be used for a poster if needed. For example, after an article has been published in Livres Hebdo about the murder party initiated by the BUPMC, the department was surprised to be flooded with questions and it sometimes proved difficult to answer all of them quickly and accurately. One solution was to give talks at study days, or to propose courses for LIS degrees. The same thing happened with INSA Lyon—after they organised an ARG, they communicated on the Internet through Scoop-it, and published traditional slide shares and a Prezi presentation of their achievement and conclusions; INSA Lyon also presented a poster at IFLA in 2014.
KM oriented towards global librarians, and not only inside the institution, is crucial since it can lead to a real dialogue about the interest of implementing games in the library. All forms of report go to fuel professional reflection, to develop new practices, and to reinforce the librarians’ gaming network. Visibility supports and prices the activity, which fosters its sustainability with allocated budgets, which leads, in turn, to listing the activity as a steady service falling within the missions of libraries, and to mentioning it in job descriptions.
New functions are appearing in the librarianship landscape, and this trend is apparently spreading widely. After IT profiles, computer science engineers, subject librarians, marketing and communication experts, community managers, data curators, research data managers, we now have to open the way to game managers and game designers. Gaming is establishing itself as essential in our policies and services, as well as in museums and archive departments. It is developing as an innovative pedagogical tool – and aim. Giving it a strategic goal allows us to take the game outside the mere “toolbox” that makes it a one-time, closed and opportunistic activity. Let us give it a place into our organisation charts and, as Françoise Legendre (inspectrice générale des bibliothèques, France) words it in her main recommendations about gaming at the library, we must “build an explicit policy concerning games and video games that is consistent with the documentary and cultural project of the library” [our translation].
Game management certainly corresponds to a substantive change to come, if not already at work, in academic libraries. Will our profession integrate organisational changes, and include gaming or even playful skills into the information and knowledge management field? We should get ready to give this a deep thought, since in the few years to come, in our agile and project management structures, we might have to deal with the development of game management as a concrete reality in our libraries.