Liz the Librarian-Gamer-Geek
I’ve worked in libraries since the mid-80s, usually as a part time paraprofessional. That translates to “I have a bachelor’s degree and do many of the things formally-titled Librarians do but I’m not a titled Librarian.” I obtained my masters degree (MLS) in 2008 but my job title is still Library Associate, which is the local title of the paraprofessional class. (We’re also called paralibrarians.) There are few half time Librarian positions in my library system and, at least for now, I am not interested in working full time.
Being a paralibrarian suits me very well. In the library arena, I do many of the things the public sees as “the usual work of a librarian.” I help people do research, answer reference questions, make library cards, check out books, troubleshoot the public computers, and point people to the bathrooms. I do a lot of other things too although I’ve only actually shusshed someone once. I’ve asked people to tone things down, but just one stereotypic shush. I was so embarrassed.
Elsewhere in Libraryland
I do other work in Libraryland. Most visibly right now, I write the “Games, Gamers, and Gaming” column for Library Journal both in print and online. You can always find my latest column for the online blog here. My related print column, usually a bit more formal, also appears every other month in the dead trees version of Library Journal. Libraries and gaming — who would have thought the two would go together so well, or be so much fun to talk about? Skeptical? Go check it out.
From 2008-2010, I worked with ALA’s team of game experts on a $1M grant, funded by the Verizon Foundation, in support of libraries, literacy and gaming. As part of the grantwork, we created a model gaming toolkit for libraries, and ten libraries from around the country were selected to receive grant monies to launch some brilliantly innovative gaming programs. I was very pleased and proud to be part of this initiative.
Occasionally I pop up elsewhere in Libraryland. I was tapped to do some interviews for School Library Journal at the Tucson Festival of Books a few years ago, and met some wonderful and passionate YA writers along the way. I have given presentations at professional conferences like the Arizona Libraries Association (Mad Skills in WoW in 2009, and Get Lucky! in 2010.)
My background in games and my love for libraries intersect in a wonderfully serendipitous way. I honestly never thought the two aspects of my career would have much in common. It’s a genuine pleasure to be able to bring games to libraries, and libraries to games.
I was interviewed by a Junior Girl Scout awhile ago, as part of getting her Books badge. I have copied the interview for others to read here on the site, under “Libraries and Me.”