Libraries as happiness engines


Catchy title? – I enjoyed this session.

* I’m in a bit of a rush to get some of this down before going camping for a week, but wanted to get down a few of my notes on another keynote from Information Online 2009 – ‘Libraries as happiness engines”.

I’ve been thinking a bit about happiness the last week or so after a conversation while walking with a friend. Kerry had just heard a replay of a radio interview with a Harvard Professor of Psychology who has been studying happiness. I haven’t read or listened to the transcript/podcast yet – but interesting to note that people perceive they will be happier with children…but happiness levels do go down when you have children…and I think there are lots of good reasons for that (lack of sleep, body in total shock…). Even more interesting as Liz recommended a book, ‘Stumbling on happiness’ – Daniel Gilbert, the same person as in the radio broadcast.

Liz Lawley – Director of the The Lab for Social Computing at the Rochester Institue of technology. Gamer. – all slides will be there in the next week or so.

Elements of happiness:

  • satisfying work to do
  • the experience of being good at something
  • time spent with people we like
  • the chance to be part of something bigger than yourself

*** “for many people today – in terms of perceived quality of life, virtuality is beating reality” . Liz described the growth of wii bowling leagues in retirement homes in US as an example… “Wii bowling knocks over retirement home…”

Games as ‘gateway drugs’ – play Guitar Hero and then start playing guitar for real (more complex)

Games – “in place of the grind”

More examples:

  • Liz has “chore wars” so that her kids do their jobs
  • seriosity – ‘attent’– a game for email – – tags your emails with a money value to prioritise them!
  • ravelry – social software, social objects –  270,000 registered users – knitters, crocheters, spinners – keep track of yarns, tools, patterns – all user-driven community. I saw Liz crocheting quite often in sessions and at the last panel session she was wearing her red crocheted shawl.
  • see also 42entertainment

*** So how do libraries fit into this – immersive social spaces??? happiness places??

 Make your work fun, a game, strive for happiness. 🙂



4 Responses to “Libraries as happiness engines”

  1. This was my favourite paper too (of tuesday at least!). I’ll be interested to hear what you thought of the papers from Wed. & Thur. – but camping first right?

  2. Interesting! I know I enjoyed my web librarian job more than this one because of the “game” aspect of trying new things (and also because it was part time and so a better balance for me).

  3. 3 CW

    Lovely concepts – I need to keep this in mind when I am really really rushed at work and remind myself that I do love what I do 🙂

    When I heard about Ravelry I actually wished I like knitting, crotcheting, spinning, etc. Pity I don’t!

  1. 1 Pages tagged "walking"

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