We continue traveling our way of interviews with fascinating personalities of libraries around the world and today we have landed in Spain to meet one of the funniest professionals in the world. She is a specialist in gamification in libraries, and we will let her introduce herself:
Who is Ana Ordás?
A librarian who started working in a university library, but that most of her professional career has been developed in the private company doing consulting for the creation of networks of libraries and digital libraries. Currently I am dedicated to the continuous training of library professionals on playful thinking and innovation through play.
What is and what is not gamification in libraries
Gamification or gamification, framed in playful thinking, is a way to motivate long-term behavior, is to try to involve people in the activities proposed from the library and get them to commit to their values. Gamification is based on extracting elements from games and applying them to a practice that can be daily. Many times the term gamification is misused when designing a game, whether to get a fun experience or to encourage learning (Game Based Learning), also when using board games or video games in the library; In the latter case we are playing, not gamifying.
Gamification is a marketing strategy?
Gamification can be used as a strategy to achieve desired objectives, among which may be marketing. Of course, it does not have to be the best solution or the one that at that time fits with the people we are addressing. We must always stop to analyze what our objectives are, how are the people we are addressing and what is the best way to achieve them.
What is the basic difference between implementing gamification strategies in a Company and in a Library.
I don’t think there is any difference other than the objectives to be achieved. What is true is that there are differences in the economic resources allocated to the design of the projects. Companies usually hire specialists in the design of game-based experiences, instead libraries pull creativity in the absence of resources, which of course influences the development of projects and results. Recently I have written a post with examples of gamified projects in Spanish libraries, and none of them have been hired from a specialized company. Yes, they have had good results. What would it be like if they were designed by professionals with knowledge about the gaming processes! I collaborate with A la luz de una bombilla (In the light of a bulb).
How does gamification in libraries relate to the empowerment (Advocacy) promoted by IFLA?
I have always believed that library professionals should raise their voices in the right direction, and with a good speech, to arrive and convince the power of libraries. In this case, and without reaching gamification, the game itself can help us to develop cognitive skills such as language, communication base, or emotional and social skills such as assertiveness, negotiation skills or Teamwork in the case of cooperative games.
One more step would be the development of a game for learning certain skills. And of course, as a medium or long term plan, the development of a personalized gamified project that motivated librarians to get involved and engage in the defense and visibility of their value as professionals and libraries as engines of change.