Julie Andrews

I'm a library assistant in a public library and a library science student in the San Jose State University SLIS program. This blog is to track my progress in school and to note things of interest to library students, staff, and patrons. Expect to find reviews, essays, musings, and links.

Current Courses

LIBR 287 - Gamifying Information
LIBR 298 - e-Portfolio

Completed Courses

All of 'em!

LIBR 287 – Gamifying Information – Presentation


The following are games designed for LIBR 287 – Gamifying Information at SJSU iSchool (formerly SLIS). This is my last class! (I hope!)

The general idea behind most of these games, though not all, is to teach librarians, library staff, or library students about queer collection development for a teen area. I had initially had grand  plans about including a whole teen area design element — gender neutral bathrooms, awesome computers (with or without Internet filtering?), posters, and whatnot. However, ultimately that was a bit ambitious and a narrower focus allows for better learning, and a simpler gameplay.

I have a background in IT, so designing games in Scratch really appealed to me. It was a platform I hadn’t really played with before, but since I did know a bit about programming, it wasn’t too difficult to figure out. Later on, I branched out into other ways to design games. I should also give a shout-out to GIMP, which I used to edit graphics in my Scratch games as well as my final Path Game.


(a) One environment in which I envision my final game being played in is a workshop for library staff or students. The workshop could be about GLBTQIA issues in libraries, about collection development, or about teen spaces. The workshop instructors could use this game as part of the structured learning, or have it available for “free” time during the workshop.

(b) What I hope people will learn when playing my game are collection development skills. When you have a limited budget, and when other challenges are thrown your way, which books do you add or keep in your collection? When specifically developing a collection for teens with GLBTQIA themes, what types of books is it important to look for? Have you developed a well-rounded collection, with fiction and nonfiction, and many different types of people represented? Was it worth spending 30$ on that one book when you could have had 3 for the same cost? Have you chosen all older titles, because those were the books you’d head of before?

(c) Andrews-BibliographyContent.doc  – My annotated bibliography of LIS content sources.

(d) If this game is played in an LIS workshop, then it will expose the players to a number of GLBTQIA YA titles that they may not be aware of. It will also let them practice skills of developing a well-rounded collection, as much as is possible with a limited budget and other factors.  Hopefully it will also get players to talk with each other about the books, or about books they wish the game included. That’s why I have encouraged game runners and players to create their own Collection Cards. They may also create their own Event Cards, if there are scenarios they’d like to see represented in the game.

(e) Andrews-BibliographyAssessment.doc – My annotated bibliography for the assessment tool.

(f) I would hope that LGBTQIA librarians and ally librarians would find value in my game and promote it to people and organizations that might find it of benefit to play. Whether or not they are teen librarians themselves, I feel most librarians would think it worthwhile to improve the LGBTQIA content of any library’s YA collection. They can share the game with their colleagues and coworkers, over social media, or by talking it up at conferences or whenever they meet face to face.

(g) In a workshop context, it would be attendees of the workshop that would play the game. They would be librarians or other library staff, or library students — people who are taking the workshop to improve their LIS skills and learn new things about library service. So, they would be familiar with libraries and probably at least the basics of collection development. What they may not be familiar with is LGBTQIA YA literature, or perhaps LGBTQIA issues in general.

Strategy to Attract Players

We brainstormed some wacky, kind of involved ideas, but I think a simple strategy is really the way to go with this.

With workshops as one intended setting for playing this game, it would make sense to debut the game at a library conference that is likely to have workshop runners at it. Those workshop instructors may be busy in programming at a conference, so it would make sense to have the game being played during breaks, or even at the end of the day when people are ready to unwind, but not quite ready to go drink at the bar or crash in their room. If I couldn’t arrange a dedicated room for the game, I would set it up in the vendor’s room and try to coax people over to play a round. Then people wandering by the vendors could stop and watch the game being played.

I would have business cards made up to hand out. They would have the name of the game, a graphic to remind people of the game, and a link to the website. On the website, they could download the game board and the game pieces (or, ambitiously on my part, they could order a professionally-manufactured version). For the people who played the game at the conference, I would have a ribbon that they could add to their con badge to say that they played, and a different ribbon if they won a round. Hopefully some people would attach the ribbon to their con badge and thus advertise the game just by walking around.

I could do this at GLBTQIA conferences or conventions, but I feel like the library population would be pretty small at such an event. It’s more effective to find the GLBTQIA librarians specifically in their spaces, such as the ALA Round Table mailing list. An Email to that list talking about the game shouldn’t be considered spam. All the better if I can tell them the game will be being played at an upcoming library conference they may be at.

Game 4 – Path Game (12/4/14)

Book Donation Event Card

Queer It!
(The two files are identical, just in different formats.)

Creating a board game was a different sort of challenge for me. I had to focus on the gameplay making sense, without the true ability to test it, as I was able to test my Scratch games. But I’m pretty proud of it, because it feels a bit more like a game to me, rather than a video game, which I’ve made before. It has more of a feel of those games I played in my childhood. It’s no Candyland, and certainly not Settlers of Catan, but I feel like I’m one step closer to being able to design a game like that.

Assessment Tool


This post looks more aesthetically pleasing if I say something here, but really this tool doesn’t need an introduction. It’s my assessment tool, in a Word doc.

Game 1- Scavenger Hunt Game (9/22/14)

Screen Shot of Monkey Game

Help a Monkey Out

This was my first foray into Scratch and I was definitely in the midst of the learning curve on this one. The scavenger hunt elements lies in how the subjects of the books are ‘hiding’ behind their Dewey subject areas. Looking at it now, I can find many ways to improve it, but I still enjoy playing it. That monkey makes me happy.

Game 2 – Badge Game (10/13/14)

Screen shot of Collection Game

Collection Development with Draco

While designing this game, I learned new things about Scratch and was able to get more sophisticated with it. This game includes the collection development elements as the player is asked to select books for the collection when given a list of choices. Badges are awarded based on the relative diversity of the collection a player has designed. Choose enough books with a lesbian character, get a badge. Choose at least 3 nonfiction books, get a badge, etc.

Game 3 – Social Game (11/4/14)

Classify It!

 My first attempt at a non-Scratch game. I went very minimal with this, requiring no game pieces. Libraries often have limited budgets and a game that can be played without any game boards or game pieces, computer equipment, or even a printer is definitely a plus, in my book. With this game, you can see some elements of my final game, in making the books the real focus on the game play.


Gamifying information is a lot of work!

Monday’s Awesome Title #9

How to Moon a Cat Cover

How to Moon a Cat
Rebecca Hale

More genres really need to get in on this eye-catching-title thing.

Book Trailer Wednesday – Write-a-Thon by Rochelle Melander

With NaNoWriMo in mind, here’s a book trailer for a book about writing your own book in 26 days! Don’t worry, Nanowrimo gives you an extra 4 days, apparently!

Occupy Wall Street Libraries

There’s some seriously awesome, exciting, historic things going on right now. If I hadn’t already chosen a paper topic long ago, I’d be tempted to do one on these.

You see, Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Boston, and other occupations around the country have set up libraries. How do you run a library on the street? Especially in places that rain and soon snow will be falling?

People's Library at Occupy Wall Street
Here’s a good introductory post about the Occupy Wall Street library:
The Occupy Wall Street Library

“A few days ago, Betsy, a trained librarian who lives in Brooklyn, came to the protest for the first time and found a short stack of books lying on the ground where everyone was camped out. She decided to go to one of the organizational meetings for the protests and ask if anyone else thought it would be a good idea to start a proper library. People did.”

The Wall Street library has a blog, a Facebook page, and an online catalog through LibraryThing. 3337 items in the catalog right now!

Because Boston is close to me, I’m watching them with interest as well.

Here’s an article that just came out a few days ago:
Occupying Boston and Beyond, With Tent Libraries for All

“The librarians have eschewed the Dewey Decimal System, concerned by historical accounts that portray Melvil Dewey, its inventor, as a racist and misogynist.”

Interesting, no?

And here’s the Occupy Boston library wikipage.
With Simmons College in Boston, they shouldn’t have a shortage of librarians and library students to help out. They’re even doing story times!

This is what a library looks like.

Monday’s Awesome Title #8

Till Death Do Us Bark Cover

Till Death Do Us Bark
Judi McCoy

Till Death Do Us Bark Cover

Till Death Do Us Bark
Kate Klise

Yup! This title was so good, it’s been used more than once.

Some More Links For Y’All

Is it Y’All or Y’all when it’s in a title? 🙂

Here’s an assortment, collection, arrangement of links for you.

The New Hampshire ILL service is under scrutiny because one state rep feels 1 van should be perfectly adequate to deliver materials to every library in the state in a timely manner.

Rep Targets Federal Interlibrary Grant — Unfortunately you have to register on the Concord Monitor site to read this.
Library Loan Program is Working Well — Ditto, since it’s the same site as the link above.
Statewide Interlibrary Lending System in Jeopardy
The Rage to Defund Libraries Goes Off the Deep End — This is from the Annoyed Librarian blog.

Later I’ll do a post about how librarians feel the need to defend the profession as a profession. But here’s a good listing of what people who work in libraries do and why volunteers are not a good substitute!

What Do Public Librarians and Library Staff Do? — A few of the items are UK-specific, but most are universal.

We throw books out. It’s horrible. But that’s after we’ve seen that Better World Books doesn’t want them. And I can’t be too sad if we’re trashing 10 copies of the latest Patterson. I am more sad when it’s children’s books! They could be useful for crafts projects, right?! Alas, I can’t save them all. And have so far resisted saving any. I don’t have the space at home. All of which leads up to this link:

Hard Choices: Do Libraries Really Destroy Books? – On NPR

An Assortment of Links

Life got in the way of blog posts and I ran out of the Monday Titles and Wednesday Trailers posts that I had lined up ahead of time. So I missed some Mondays and Wednesdays! Plus, holiday. 🙂

To make up for it, here’s some links:

Neil Gaiman interviews Terry Pratchett over on BoingBoing — Focused pretty tightly on talking about his Discworld books. I enjoy interviews where they talk about the genre in general or other stuff. They only get into that a bit.

“The Rage to Defund Libraries” – Annoyed Librarian — Talks about the New Hampshire Rep who wants to cut the state ILL vans from 4 down to 1. The vans are paid for with FEDERAL money.

It Gets Better video by Random House Inc staff — People are still making these? Apparently. Is this the first publisher to do so? These guys didn’t even publish the book.

Monday’s Awesome Title #7

Cockatiels at Seven Cover Cockatiels at Seven
Donna Andrews

As a bonus to the pun, cockatiels is a fun word for a cute bird.

Book Trailer Wednesday – Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines

This book did catch my eye when it first came out, but I haven’t read it. The trailer’s pretty awesome though.

Thanks again to the Outer Alliance Google group for giving me suggestions.

Monday’s Awesome Title #6

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf cover How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf
Molly Harper

You may remember this title from an earlier post I did. But it really is my favorite awesome title so far. Of course my favorite werewolf is Lupin. (Circa Books 3-5. I’ll just erase 6 and 7 from my memory, thank you.)