"Welcome to LibraryQuest…"

I had a really good meeting with Iman and Andrew Wilson (from Huddersfield based Blink) on Friday morning to see if we can set up a new project that combines the library with all (or some) of the following: gaming, RFID, serendipity, attracting non-users, improving book findability, and generally having fun.

Blink have done some really funky stuff with RFID at MAGNA near Rotherham and at the local Media Centre, and Iman did a cool project that combined the OPAC with social networking.

One of the ideas which was briefly kicked around the table has really grown on me over the weekend –turning use of the library and the library services into a game. In a similar way to many MMORPGs, you would earn (or even lose) points as you interacted with the library.

For example, any of the following might gain you points…

1] bringing a book back on time
2] bonus points for returning a book that fulfils a hold request
3] borrowing a book
4] bonus points for borrowing a book that’s previously had low circulation or not been borrowed recently
5] bonus points for borrowing a book that’s outside of your normal borrowing subject areas
6] using the automated systems for renewing books (e.g. OPAC or telephone renewal system)
7] using the other services provided by the library (e.g. electronic resources)
8] visiting the library

…and the following might lose you points…

1] bringing a book back late
2] not paying fines promptly
3] breaching the library policy on acceptable behaviour

The more I thought about it, the more it started to dove-tail with store loyalty/reward cards — we often penalise “bad” library behaviour (e.g. through fines) but rarely reward “good” behaviour. I always feel sorry for students who have never been fined before and then genuinely forget to bring some books back — maybe they could “cash in” some of their well earned points to offset a fine?

Perhaps points could also be converted into printing credits, or exchanged for low cost materials (e.g. ring binders, USB memory sticks, binding materials)?

Hmmm… I wonder how students would react to seeing something like this in their account page in the OPAC?

“You currently have a library score of 5,182 points and are ranked #176 out of all Applied Sciences students. You have gained 287 points in the last 7 days.”