“This is new to me. I never thought that through, seemingly childish games, one could encourage a young person to read more books.” This was a common response from most public library specialists from Lithuania, Slovenia, and Latvia, who participated in the Erasmus+ project “Dungeons and Librarians: Quest for Gamified Reading Promotion II” training in October 2023. The training, organized by Povilas Višinskis Šiauliai County Public Library (ŠCPL), had already carried out a similar project in 2022. Then, representatives of project partner libraries from Tallinn, Tartu, Viljandi, and Silamäe (Estonia), Jelgava (Latvia), and Šiauliai city libraries came to trainings about the gamification method in library reading promotion activities. Considering the success of the first training and positive feedback from libraries, the project was repeated. This year, 32 library specialists from Lithuania, Latvia, and Slovenia expressed their desire to participate in the training.

During the week-long training, led by ŠCPL lecturers with extensive experience in project-based reading promotion activities, participants had to complete a challenging task – using gamification to create relevant and engaging activities for youth in their libraries, which would improve the quality of library services and project activities and encourage the young audience to rediscover book reading and cultural entertainment as a fun and beneficial leisure activity. To improve the quality of library services, participants also explored the employment problems of young people in their cities, shared experiences and ideas, and participated in practical-creative workshops.

Gamification in the context of non-formal education is currently a very popular method, where regular, traditional educational processes are gamified, creating a playful atmosphere, competitive element, or incorporating other interactive-entertaining elements. The specifics of the gamification method are used in organizing reading promotion initiatives, preparing educational programs, and creating project activities.

Project manager Urtė Šulskienė noted that “In the context of library work, gamification not only helps to interest young library visitors, but can also be successfully applied in involving adults. Therefore, training participants were introduced to different forms of gamified education, the ‘LEGO serious play’ method, the use of comics in education, and visited the Šiauliai County Povilas Višinskis Public Library, where they could see the gamification method applied in practice: try out library-created board games, escape room, and Sensory Reading sessions. All the knowledge gained was applied by library specialists on the last day presenting new ideas for gamified education and projects, which they plan to implement upon returning to their library.

The project is funded by the Erasmus+ program funds.

Information by T. Pauliuščenka.

Photos by Povilas Višinskis Šiauliai County Public Library