Game of Libraries – Dragons, frozen yoghurt and so much more!

Game of Libraries promotional materialOn the 28th November Toowoomba Regional Library opened their doors for a group of excited librarians ready for an action packed day of professional development. They had been promised, by USQ, QUT Library and ALIA QLD, quests, learning, Dr Matt Finch and a free lunch and they were not disappointed!

It kicked off with a bang with myself & Michael Hawks presenting Librarians and Dragons: A Transferable Skills Workshop. Not only did everyone get badges (#swag) for participating but our workshop is pretty much a library quest, fun! Our  workshop focused on players understanding what transferable skills you have developed over your life experiences aka completed quests, and how these can be used effectively in a library setting. But in a fun way!

The  workshop is gamified and takes players on a library quest through a haunted library where you battle ghost catalogue cards, poltergeist reference librarians, dragon library directors and zombie patrons. Participants worked in groups as four different characters, Take life by the horns Library Manager, Ace Academic Librarian, New Graduate Cat and Old Man Hoot the Teacher Librarian. Each group would take a turn to solve obstacles they faced, such as calming down those dragons (!!) with either their #SUPEREFFECTIVE top transferable skills or their somewhat effect other transferable skills.

Luckily, all the characters made it out of the haunted library (yay!) by using their transferable skills. After the adrenaline of facing a zombie horde had worn off, everyone had time to create a character profile for themselves. This gave everyone time to reflect on what skills they can bring to the table. You could also identify what skills you don’t have and how you can get them and ‘level up’ you career. Overall. Librarians and Dragons was #supereffective at showing participants all the skills they never knew they had, plus questing is fun! To experience the thrills and ghosts yourself, download the presentation or get in contact with me (@maddymedlycott) & Michael (@mikeyh177) on Twitter or check out #librariansanddragons.

The second half of Game of Libraries featured Dr Matt Finch and his workshop, Library Island. There were a few ice breaker activities to rejuvenate everyone after lunch, such as writing postcards from the future and having some walking meetings (yes, you heard, meetings within a workshop!). And after this, the battle for Library Island commenced.

On Library Island there is the Ministry of Shelves, three libraries, some librarians to run them plus a whole bunch of community members running around with their own wants and needs. During each round (5 years in the life of Library Island) your role changes. You could start out as a young indigenous family then morph into an employee for the ministry and then become a librarian! Library Island is chaotic and it is meant to be that way. You get a real feel for each different role you play and understand their motives and the difficulties that affect them. The great thing about Library Island is that there are very few rules therefore the outcomes and experiences are always different. One iteration ended up with Donald Trump taking over one Library and a Homeless person and indigenous student banding together and forming their own library complete with a bar (for the homeless person) and beds (for the student)! Another version of Library Island was based around The Good Place and players had to either keep the fact that they didn’t belong and wanted to escape a secret OR hunt down the people who didn’t belong in the Good Place. And you better believe that frozen yoghurt was on offer at the library! You can read more about Library Island on Matt’s Blog – matt finch / mechanical dolphin or find Matt (@DrMattFinch) on Twitter.

Game of Libraries was a great day of professional development. It is a nice change to actually move around, meet new people, have some fun and learn a little bit. Next time you are looking for some innovative PD, break the wheel and play the Game of Libraries!

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