While borrowing a book recently at the Central Public Library (basement of the National Library), I came across this neat display tying in the bestselling A Song of Ice and Fire book series by author George R.R. Martin with the acclaimed HBO TV series Game of Thrones. Its nice to see our libraries transforming into experience rich learning zones with elements of Transmedia Storytelling to promote reading and literacy.
While dovetailing with a popular TV series is a good way to drive adult reading interests, incorporating a gaming challenge helps to pique the interest of kids or tweens. Here, the library has created a B.C.A. (Books Come Alive!) Sleuth Academy where “young detectives” are tasked to solve “mysteries” and uncover clues in their local community library.
Quoting from the library’s “Books Come Alive” website:
As a cadet, you will attend special training sessions (see Highlights), conduct experiments, learn about forensic science, crack secret codes, and discover the mysteries of ancient civilisations. Witness a crime as it unfolds and pit your analytical skills against other aspiring sleuths in Follow the Evidence. Can you solve it?
Other than the above, the library has encouraged young borrowers/readers to submit consolidated library receipts to amass Quest collectible cards. Part manga, part fantasy, and part gaming, Quest has reached some 29,000 children aged 7 to 12 years old with 550,000 collectible cards fully redeemed, and it helped to generate a 30% increase in loans in June and July 2009 compared to the same period in 2008.
These elements of transmedia storytelling and game mechanics help to drive public interest in our libraries. By going beyond the borrowing and reading of books, they are able to expand the public’s psyche on what the library experience is like.
Of course, our libraries could have perhaps gone the whole Hogwart’s in future (with movie, book, game, website, toys, and theme park thrown in), but then again, that isn’t its core purpose.