Lemontree, the Library Game

Lemontree is a game for the Library at the University of Huddersfield in the UK.

In the words of the game’s creators:

It allows a more social view of the library, assists knowledge filtering, discovery and creating well crafted user journeys for learning and pleasure.

As well as receiving points for certain actions (checking into the library, returning books, recommending things) achievements are granted to active users for completing certain combinations of actions such as coming to the library at the weekends five times, or borrowing widely from every subject area to completing all the works by one author!

In addition to earning points, some repeated actions award players fun badges. Here are just a few examples:

  • Midnight owl
    Checking in to the library after 10pm five times
  • Remember your humanity and forget the rest
    5 x Humanities / Media items borrowed
  • I Passed the Turing Test
    5 x Comp & Engineering items borrowed
  • Guilty as Charged
    5 x Law items borrowed
  • Gold coin
    Reviewed or tagged over 250 items

One of the many things I like about Lemontree is that, aside from signing up, playing the game doesn’t require an exorbitant amount of effort from students. Item use, library visits and other points earning activity is based on library account use and sent to the game through the ILS.

The downside to this automation is, perhaps, the need to insure that people are invested in the game. If it all just happens and players don’t have to actually perform they might not feel like there’s anything at stake. They’ve seemed to have found a balance. The game does reward people points when they tag items or make recommendations.

There’s a social aspect to the game too. Friending classmates and being able to see what resources they’re using could be really useful.

The visual design of the game is totally of the time and employs – by far – the best icons and general visual design I’ve seen on on a library related site. Most of it requires a library card to see but Iman Moradi, one of the folks at Running in the Halls – the game’s creator – was nice enough to send me some screenshots.

Start page

A book record inside the game.
The game’s activity stream
Lemontree can post to players’ Facebook walls

Super cool, eh?

Here’s more: