SLIC attended InsomniaXResonate - Scotland's largest gaming festival - last weekend to chat about what libraries offer in a digital world. Here Gillian Daly, SLIC's Head of Policy & Projects, talks about the three day event and digital developments in libraries.

 

Scotland's gamers assembled at the Scottish Exhibition Centre in Glasgow last weekend to get up to speed with the latest developments in gaming technology at InsomniaXResonate, and we were there to spread the word about all of the exciting digital developments in libraries across Scotland.

Over the course of the three-day event, Digital Champions from public libraries all over the country demonstrated devices - such as 3D printers, robots and microbits - and promoted libraries' diverse range of digital skills programmes, with a particular focus on our Code Clubs for young people.

At the exhibition stand, sponsored by the Scottish Government's Digital Participation Unit, the library team spoke to over 1,500 people - many of them not library users - setting out the key offer of the modern library service.

3D Printing at Libraries

The 3D printer was a star attraction as visitors young and old flocked to the stand to see items materialise before their eyes. Our print run progressed from buttons to Batman fidget spinners and culminated with a mini version of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

One of our Public Library 3D Printers at the InsomniaXResonate Gaming Festival.

Visitors to the stand brought lots of ideas of their own and we encouraged them to head to a library in their own area to try it out for themselves. As part of a Scottish Government funded initiative, all 32 library services in Scotland offer 3D printing to enable everyone to have the opportunity to take advantage of the creative, educational and entrepreneurial opportunities they can open up.

Free Code Clubs

Our free code clubs for young people were also a major attraction. Earlier this year, public libraries across Scotland introduced free and fun computer programming sessions for 9-11 year-olds, through support from the DigitalXtra Fund and in partnership with Code Club.

A mini robot advertising our free Code Clubs which take place in libraries throughout Scotland.

Young people came to the stand excited to have the opportunity to make their own computer games as part of our code clubs, and parents/carers were keen to support their children in developing an essential skill for their future.

On the Sunday, visitors were encouraged to take their first steps with programming by playing coding games on tablets and operating our fleet of robotic vehicles.

A Modern Library Service

Our team of library staff also toured the exhibition to get new ideas for developing digital library services and were particularly taken with virtual reality and augmented reality devices. We also managed to drum up some techie volunteers to contribute to future developments in digital library services.

A few years ago it would have been considered a weird novelty for libraries to be represented at a gaming festival but recent service developments have demonstrated libraries' integral role in supporting digital skills and digital literacy development through life.

And the invariably positive response we received from the hundreds of visitors to the stand demonstrated a clear demand for library services in this area. Representation at more events like this - locally and nationally - presents the perfect opportunity to reach wider audiences and share the exciting offer of the modern public library service.