Gaming your way into a career

SIS Alumnus Dan Major

“I never anticipated I could do crafts and gaming for a living. The fact that you can get paid as a professional to play Dungeons and Dragons,” said School of Information Sciences alumnus Dan Major. “Now THAT is living the dream.”

Major, who previously worked as a director of sales and marketing and as an administrator for a senior living community, began his unexpected second career just 26 days after graduating with a master’s degree in library and information science from Wayne State in 2017. He was hired as the teen services librarian at the Orion Township Public Library and now is an adult services and makerspace librarian. The shift in careers has proven to be a perfect fit.

In 2018 Major received a grant for teen programming that was used to create an after-school program for middle schoolers and an updated library makerspace. With a personal interest in gaming, Major hoped to expand the library’s gaming options to include resources for adults. The library offers a large circulating board game collection as well as virtual reality and interactive games like Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, face-to-face monthly D&D meetings have been postponed, but Major hopes they will be able to resume this fall.

In the meantime, the library offers interactive game nights with online favorites including Fortnite and Among Us, and Major has seen the impact gaming can have on people who have been isolated at home. “Even with many libraries across the country operating at partial service, interest in gaming programs remains as high as ever,” Major said. 

Major, a member of the Games and Gaming Round Table (GameRT) of the American Library Association, will present "Virtual Gaming Programs: Resources for Fighting Social Isolation with Gaming" at the ALA Midwinter Conference later this month.

The presentation will feature a panel of librarians from the ALA GameRT who will share a variety of tools and techniques for planning virtual video game, board game, and tabletop game programs in libraries. The panel includes Jeff Pinsker, CEO of Amigo Games and board member of the Games Manufacturers Association to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the gaming industry. The conference will take place virtually from January 22 to 26.

Major encourages librarians to consider joining the ALA’s GameRT. The group, formed in 2011, provides a venue for librarians interested in the use of games and gaming in libraries of all types a place to gather and share.

“It has been remarkable to see how quickly libraries have been able to pivot to continue providing essential services to support our universities and communities,” said Tom Walker, associate dean of the School of Information Sciences. “Libraries have always been places where people gather and can find resources to support their passions. It has now been proven that even something as big as a global pandemic can’t dampen the spirit and creativity of librarians, who continue to find ways to connect with their patrons and bring communities together, even if it has to be done in a virtual space."

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