Is gamification just for the sake of engagement enough to make it a worthwhile endeavor in the library?

For the school library trends assignment, my group and I have been exploring the effects of gamifiying school library services.  Since I am not in a library right now, I am not immediately aware of, from what I have read, the desperate need for engagement in the school library.  There are a host of ways to get students involved, to promote circulation and regular reading for pleasure, all while improving school-wide literacy and academic rigor.  Is gamifying your library the answer?  Are badges, rewards and simple competition enough to sustain the appeal of a school library and get students flooding your space? I think engagement has to be more comprehensive – gamify certain things, but is it possible to over gamify and cheapen a student’s experience with too much of a competitive atmosphere?  I say as long as participation is not be compulsory, then a library does not alienate those who don’t want to compete.   A commenter of Bohyun Kim’s 2012 article, Applying Game Dynamics to Library Services, asked, “can [gamification] deprive people of internal motivation for serious activities by offering superficial external rewards?” As long as we don’t overindulge, Kim warns.  From what I’ve learned through this group project, library services and learning experiences that have been gamified require a balance of elements.  “Bring out learning as a natural by-product of pleasant and fun experiences, not as a forced outcome” (Kim, 2012).  “Play is by its very nature educational” (Oppenheim, 1984).



Oppenheim, J. (1984). Kids and Play. New York: Ballantine.







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