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Michelle Goodridge

Meet one of OLA’s 5,000 members. An interview with random OLA member #30: Michelle Goodridge.

If you’re both a librarian and a gamer, Michelle may have the most envious job out there. In this interview we talked board games and talking animals.

Michelle Goodridge
Michelle Goodridge

What do you do in your role as a Game Design and Development Liaison Librarian at Wilfrid Laurier?

It’s a little bit unconventional in terms of a liaison librarian role because the position is brand new and supports a new program. So it’s figuring out what faculty and students want and need from the library and a lot of trial and error.

In terms of the program is it just online game development?

No, it’s a Bachelor of Fine Arts Program, and they do a 50/50 split between the digital stuff – making apps, doing computer and console-based games, and then the other half focuses on analog games – so tabletop games, roleplaying and strategy games. The idea is to create games that will “change the world”, not just gaming for pleasure.

Besides talking to the faculty, what else did you do when you were stepping into this new role for a new program to determine what their needs are?

I’ve only been in the role a few months, but I’ve been making a lot of connections with the community.  I’ve been working with the city to develop March Break programming, the Brantford Public Library to develop summer programming, I’ve been in touch with local board game cafes and the Computer Museum to bring in equipment to have game jams and events. I’m trying to go beyond the campus and develop a city-wide community. There’s a push to foster gaming culture on campus, not just in the Game Lab for the students in the program. I also started a student committee that meets once a month to give me an on the ground view of what students are doing and what resources they might need or want.

The Game Lab sounds great!

It’s three rooms where they have all their classes. There’s a lounge area where they have TVs set up so they can play tabletop and console games, and then there’s another room with super computers and Oculus Rift and other digital tools. And then the biggest room is the classroom with work space and a ton of tabletop games.

How many students are in the program?

There are 30 right now, and they’re the first intake of students, who started last September. And then for the Fall they’ve sent out around 75 offers so it’s going to be growing.

Do you find you play more board games now?

I’ve always liked board games.  It is so cool that now I can play board games with students as part of my job, to make those connections and build those relationships.

What’s your favourite board game?

I loved Balderdash growing up. I also really like Catan. The latest one I learned to play was Exploding Kittens.

As the liaison do you also do research workshops or is more collections-based?

It’s both. Because it’s a new program I’m doing research at this point but I am planning a series of workshops and have visited the classroom to inform students what resources are available, and created a subject guide for them.

I noticed on your Twitter feed that you have Magic: The Gathering artwork! My husband is a huge Magic fan.

It’s a hugely popular in Brantford! The only downside about Magic is that it’s kind of elitist. The cards can be really expensive. So if you have a lot of money you can buy the best cards and win. That being said, I am running an intro to Magic program at the Brantford Public Library and I’m using all old cards to get people into it.

Magic: The Gathering
Magic: The Gathering

That’s part of the outreach you were talking about with the public library.

We have a really interesting relationship with Brantford PL because our collection is over there and they run circulation for us. So it’s really important to foster that relationship.

What’s the last book you read?

I’m really into graphic novels. I love Blacksad. I was in Belgium for a little bit and he was really big over there. So I finally got a hold of some English versions. From my understanding it was Spanish, translated into French and then from French, translated into English. It’s sort of film noir, detective fiction but with a cat. He has some very endearing qualities. I also really like Maus.

That’s funny that both of your favourites are starring cats and mice.

Maybe I just have a thing for anthropomorphized animals!

I think we can agree that’s the important discovery we’ve made here today.

Adele Georgievski is a Teaching and Learning Technologies Librarian at Seneca College. The Random Library Generator column interviews OLA members; the current interviewee was selected by the previous interviewee.

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