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SWON Weekly: Minecraft, Save the Date for OKI, an Art Show & #freebookfriday

Tuesday, March 21, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Cassondra Vick
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More Than a Game

"He's tricked 40 million people into learning to use a CAD [Computer-Aided Design] program." (Cody Sumter, MIT Media Lab, on Minecraft creator Marcus Persson) 

A kid lets out a whoop of excitement at the computer. He's playing a game. Actually, all of the kids are playing a game. Every last computer is, once again, packed out by kids playing Minecraft. The game, even though it launched in 2011, had been attracting kids for years. In all my time in Youth Services, I'd never seen anything like it. I'd assumed, like all the other games I saw on the computer screens over the years, this one would wane. 

But it hasn't. Instead, Minecraft has enjoyed a popularity outstripped only by Tetris. And unlike Tetris, this game gives users a lot to learn. 

In fact, that's a possible reason for the game's enduring popularity -- there's so much to learn, so much to do, and the possibilities are really endless. Minecraft is what is known as a "Sandbox Game" meaning the play (and, indeed, in the case of Minecraft, the whole world of the game) has no set structure, design or purpose. It is up to users to create the game they want to play. In Minecraft users can share these worlds they've created with their friends or even the world. I think you can see the appeal.

Educational institutions are increasingly using Minecraft, and that includes libraries, too. In fact, demand was high enough that Minecraft recently introduced an Education Edition which is available to libraries as well as schools.  

Why are our schools and libraries investing in a video game?

There are lots of great reasons to teach with Minecraft. Some suggestions from Leah Rocketto of Popsugar Moms include improving spacial reasoning, problem-solving and abstract reasoning skills. It's creative. It teaches goal-setting, math, teamwork, collaboration...  and it's fun! Popsugar isn't the only publication extolling the virtues of the Minecraft; you can find media institutions no less august than The New York Times or The Atlantic exploring the benefits and popularity the game. And more relevant for us, Library Journal.

The Library Journal article has some great information -- overviews of the game, information on setting up servers, using Minecraft's Educational Edition, and good resources listed throughout the article and in the references. More helpful further reading: The Verge's overview of Minecraft for Education (which is balanced enough to anticipate some of the pitfalls), and Edutopia's guide to classroom ideas. 

But maybe, in that last paragraph, you saw the words "setting up servers" and had no idea what that involves, or even what it means. Good news: Clara Gerner of the Campbell County KY Public Library (SWON Supporting Members) has been running a Minecraft server for 2 years at the Cold Spring Branch. And she wants to share with you the successes, the pitfalls, the tools and some ideas on how to get started using this popular game in your library. 

And here's the great news: this learning opportunity is free. Here's the downside: Space is very limited, as Clara can only accommodate a maximum of 20 people in her lab. This event is open to any library employee anywhere, and will fill up fast, so we recommend you register ASAP

Questions? Just let us know at Otherwise, we hope you will join us at the Cold Spring Branch of CCPL on Tuesday, April 4th at 2pm. Register now, and have fun playing and learning! 

Cassondra Vick, MLIS
Technology Educator, SWON Libraries


How to use Minecraft @ Your Library 
4/3/2017 - Cold Spring, KY

  Register Here  



Do you like free books? Do you work in Ohio, Kentucky or Indiana? Are you on Twitter or Facebook? (If not, it's easy to sign up). Then you can win free books! Check out the complete rules at (though this is basically it). 

This week, we're are offering two books! One on Facebook and one on Twitter. Keep your eyes peeled!

The fun starts Friday! Don't forget to follow @swonlibraries and like our FB page so you can keep on top of all of our #freebookfriday offerings.


Save the Date: OKI Children's Lit Conference (Proposals Accepted)

SWON Libraries is proud to be providing support to the popular Ohio, Kentucky, & Indiana Children's Literature Conference, which will take place this year on Saturday, November 4th. Save the Date

OKI has been connecting teachers, librarians and library staff, & those who work with children's literature with amazing speakers, authors, and illustrators over 20 years.

Join OKI this year as they explore the We Need Diverse Book movement with Building Bridges of Understanding: How Diversity in Youth Literature Can Change Our World, featuring award-winning author Rita Williams-Garcia and award-winning illustrator John Parra. In a world that seems more divided than ever, OKI wants to explore how we can build bridges, not walls, in our schools, in our libraries, in our homes, and in our world.

OKI is currently accepting workshop proposals. To submit a proposal, please see .

  Submit a Proposal  


Cincinnati Art Museum presents "Dialogues with Artists"

Cincinnati Art Museum, one of our Supporting Member Institutions, would like to invite you to "Dialogues with Artists," a rare opportunity to hear two contemporary women artists to articulate an answer to the question “Why do you make art and how does this determine your connection to your audience?”, as well as see their work up close. 

This event will feature the work of Radha Lakshmi & Molly Donnermeyer. Coming from different traditions, Eastern and Western, both artists explore femininity, folklore and a place of rituals in everyday life. 

This event is free and wine and cheese will be served. Reservations are not required.

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Coming up on the Calendar...


Please register for SWON & PCI events by the Friday before they take place

      Webinar - Confronting Misinformation: How Librarians Can Assist Patrons
FREE (a Federal Depository event)
3/27/2017 - Online

Technical Services Special Interest Group (TeSSIG)
SWON SIGs are always FREE
3/29/2017 - West Chester, Ohio

Webinar - Providing Excellent Customer Service to Library Patrons with Disabilities
FREE (a Texas State Library event)
3/29/2017 - Online

Webinar - Conversation Circles: A Simple ESL Program
FREE (a Nebraska State Library event)
3/29/2017 - Online

InfOhio Webinar - To Build A Better Question
FREE (a InfOhio event)
3/30/2017 - Online

Webinar - Measuring America Series: Accessing County Business Patterns Data
FREE (a Federal Depository event)
3/30/2017 - Online

Webinar - A Conversation on Improving School Culture Conversation on Improving School Culture
FREE (an edWEB event)
3/30/2017 - Online

Webinar - A Conversation on Improving School Culture
FREE (an Infopeople event)
3/30/2017 - Online

SLJ Webinar - Bringing Coding to the Makerspace
FREE (an SLJ event)
3/30/2017 - Online


    Save the Date Icon

Save the Date


Take note of these selected events in the coming weeks and months

      Free Comic Book Day
5/6/2017 - Worldwide!

LOEX (Library Orientation Exchange) Conference
5/11/2017 to 5/12/2017 - Lexington, Kentucky

KDLA - Children's & Teen Services Workshop
5/15/2017 - Cold Spring, Kentucky

Code Studio Workshop
5/16/2017 - Cincinnati, Ohio

OKI Children's Literature Conference
11/4/2017 - Crestview Hills, Kentucky


SWON Libraries
10250 Alliance Rd. Suite 112
Blue Ash, OH 45242

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