May 23, 2022

New Article Reports on Gamification in an Academic Library

From an Article in the April 2013 Issue of C&RL News by Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco:

Dress up the way you would for an interview. Take a photo of a friend with a roving reference student assistant. What exactly is the VPN, anyway? Stop by the table to get the secret code.

These simple tasks and questions are examples of the kinds of activities the University of California-Merced (UC-Merced) Library, along with several other affiliated groups encouraged participants to complete during our Welcome Week Campus Trek on the gaming app SCVNGR—an activity whose purpose was twofold: to introduce students to library and campus resources and to allow us to experiment with a new mobile gaming platform.

We envisioned groups of students bent reverently over their smart phones, awaiting the next directive and learning while they socialized. We purchased prizes and booked rooms. We carved and sculpted challenge directions until they were lithe, 140-character maxims. We posted a LibGuide. Finally, we assigned student assistants to test out everything to ensure it ran smoothly.

Then we waited for those groups of reverent, socializing students to materialize.

What happened? What did the University of California-Merced Library learn?

Direct to the Full Text Article: “If you build it …?” (via C&RL News)

See Also: UC Merced Welcome Week Campus Trek on SCVNGR (Fall 2012) Web Guide Mentioned in the Article

See Also: Author’s Homepage

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.