Role Playing Games and Libraries

Becoming RPG

My hubby (Brian Engard) is running a Kickstarter for his latest role playing game. This is his first solo Kickstarter – but not his first game. He wrote an awesome post on his site about why he’s including a reward tier for libraries (yes that means your library could get in on this):

But why did I include libraries in that tier? A couple of reasons. First, my wife Nicole is a librarian. She’s given me a healthy amount of respect for libraries as repositories of knowledge and centers for community. Beyond that though, libraries are starting to become places to go game too.

Many libraries have RPGs on hand, and many also have scheduled game days when people can come in and learn how to play those games. Most of the games these libraries have are the big ones, games like D&D. That people are learning about D&D through libraries is great; it gets people into the hobby, and it’s a fun game. I want to expose those people to other games, show them that D&D, while awesome, is not the only game in town.

And librarians, if $60 is too steep, there’s nothing stopping you from going in on that tier with multiple branches or libraries! Maybe you know a few librarians at other locations who want a copy for their collection.

So if you haven’t already – and your library does gaming nights – check it out and see what non-D&D Role Playing Games look like :)

Interview about Open Source on

Nicole C. Engard

I recently gave an interview on about libraries, open source, getting involved and educating everyone I can.

Sharing is a fundamental part of the open source philosophy, and the same goes for libraries. Spreading, disseminating, and breaking down barries to gaining knowledge is a core mission of most library systems and their staff.

That that end, libraries—which are essentially hubs of knowledge and gathering places for learning and continuing daily education—may choose to implement open source tools and software.

An advocate for “open libraries”, Nicole Engard, is one of our new community moderators, a long-time contributor, and a 2013 People’s Choice Award winner. She has a passion for libraries and wants libraries’ core operations to run on open source.

Let’s find out how some of the open source tools like Koha and Zotero are changing the future of libraries and learn more about Engard’s open source passion.

Check it out here. People’s Choice

Image by

Last week I was named one of the three People’s Choice Awardees for for 2013.

First, thanks to those who voted! Second, if you haven’t been reading you totally should be! There’s lots of great points of view and several library professionals writing for the site.

If you’d like a place to start, check out my award winning article on how open source software should be developed in the open.

Holiday Granola


This is a bit off topic, but I wanted to share with you all my awesome Holiday Granola recipe :)

This year I made granola for friends and family and I took multiple recipes I found online, mashed them together and then adjusted accordingly. So if you like granola and want to try something new, here’s my recipe:


3 c. old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 c. wheat bran
1/3 c. flax seed meal
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. all spice
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c. dark cocoa covered almonds chopped
1/2 c. chopped almonds (I just mix these with the almonds above in the food processor)
2 tsp. rum extract
1/2 c. maple syrup
1.5 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. coconut oil
1/3 c. dried cranberry


Preheat oven to 350

Combine dry ingredients (first 11) in large bowl

Combine the rest of the ingredients (save for cranberries) in a small bowl

Mix wet ingredients in to the dry ingredients bowl

Spread mixture evenly on a foil covered baking sheet (non-greased)

Bake for 10 minutes.

Take out and mix ingredients on the baking sheet

Bake for another 5-10 minutes until toasty, but not burnt

Take out of oven and return to large bowl

Stir in dried cranberries (or any other dried fruit you might like)

[Note] The image I used is not of my granola because I didn’t take pictures! It’s from here (also a good sounding recipe that I did not use in my mashup)

Saturday Funny


This is totally not tech related and not library related, but I wanted to share it anyway :)

Our dog Beau likes to jump in our bed at night, spread out and then stare at us when we think about maybe getting in to the bed ourselves. My new favorite comic strip can be found on Facebook and captures Beau perfectly.

From Off the Leash on Facebook

Dog lovers be sure to check out Off the Leash on Facebook.

Once an introvert…

Photo from Edudemic

I had an interesting chat with a librarian last night. She commented on how young people don’t know how to communicate because their heads are always in their devices. I don’t really want to talk about “kids these days” so I’m going to talk about myself instead :)

When I was a kid, we didn’t have mobile devices, we didn’t have computers and weren’t allowed hand held gaming devices (when they came out). But that doesn’t mean I sat a the table and talked to my family at dinner time. Instead I used to sneak a book out with me. My mom would tell me to leave the book at home, but I never did. I would read it under the table at restaurants instead of participating in family socialization. I’m sure my parents knew I was doing it, but I thought I was clever and I was content.

I guess my point is that even though the device has changed, I’m still the same person I was back then. I’d rather sit quietly at dinner with groups (I’m better in smaller groups) and read (my book, my email, my facebook, etc) rather than talk to the people at the table with me. I don’t have kids and I don’t deal with kids on a daily basis so I can’t tell you if these devices have made it so that they can’t communicate, but I can say that I probably wouldn’t be any different if I were raised today with a mobile device versus my trusty old book.

Looking for the dream RSS Reader


I’ve been hunting around for ages now and figure I should turn to my librarian friends (please no sales comments). I’m looking for my dream RSS Feed Reader. I use Android for my phone and tablet and Google for my email (both personal and work) so I want Google Reader to be this tool, but it’s just not. The tool can be web based or desktop based (I use Mac) but it has to sync 100% with Google Reader so when I’m mobile I can access it still.

I want to see both titles and previews (or full posts) when looking at the list of unread items – just like Google Reader, but I also what email like functions, like the ability to select all or select all unread or select all from a search and mark things read or starred or whatever (this last bit is what’s missing from Google Reader and is really bugging me – I tried Greasemonkey scripts but none of them see quite right). I subscribe to a lot of blogs technology blogs and when there is a new iPhone I don’t need to read 300 posts about it – one is fine – so I’d like to find all unread items with a keyword in the title or body and mark them all ready to get them out of my way.

My ideal RSS feed reader would work just like my Gmail inbox except that it would show the previews/full text when I click a folder (instead of just a list of titles) like Google Reader does now. Finally it needs to be free of cost very little because I’ve been dealing with Google Reader for ages now and can continue to do so without paying anything new.

Here’s my mock up of what my dream RSS feed reader would look like – a mashup of Gmail and Google Reader (this is just my wish – not something I’ve seen – it’s totally photoshopped):

A mashup of Gmail and Google Reader photoshopped by me to show what I want in my dream RSS feed reader.

Internet Librarian Wrapup on NCompass Live


Yesterday I was on a live webinar hosted by NCompass with several other Internet Librarian presenters talking about what I learned at the Internet Librarian conference this year. The recording will be available soon via the archives if you’re curious to listen. One of the things we talked about was what made the most impact on us, or left us thinking, from the conference. The one thing that has stuck with me (and that I have been sharing with people) was a Twitter conversation that happened as the result of something Cecily Walker said on our panel Tuesday night. Cecily wanted all new librarians (and current ones) to know that we’re all “special snowflakes” and an audience member tweeted back asking who would do all the work if we were all special snowflakes.

I didn’t get to talk to this person after or during the presentation, so I can only assume that this comment came from a bad experience with someone who both thought they were special and entitled. However, I know that Cecily didn’t mean it that way and I have to agree with Cecily. We all have something to offer, we all have skills that maybe no one else around us has, or a point of view that deserves to be heard. Too often I see people being very passive in their careers (not just librarians) and just going with the flow – but what fun is that? That makes your career a job, something you have to do to get paid and that’s it. I want a career that I love, I want to work with people who value my experience and my opinion, I want a job where I get to be special – and I have it! Does that mean I don’t do the day to day boring stuff? Heck no! It’s all part of the package. But I enjoy the “boring” stuff much more because I’m doing it for a company I love, for customers I love, for a product I love, etc etc etc.

A quote I share in my open source talks fits very nicely here:

The best person to do a job is the one who most wants to do that job; and the best people to evaluate their performance are their friends and peers who, by the way, will enthusiastically pitch in to improve the final product, simply for the sheer pleasure of helping one another and creating something beautiful from which they all will benefit. [Howe, J. (2008). Crowdsourcing: Why the power of the crowd is driving the future of business. New York: Crown Business. p.8]

So, what I want you to take away from what I learned is that special != entitled and we all have something to contribute – and should all contribute – and if you work somewhere where individuality is not appreciated and your contributions are not given the praise they deserve it’s time to find a new job.

[update]The recording is live now. Listen if you’d like.[/update]