Friday, May 2, 2008

Fantasy Sports: The Road to Information Literacy Championships

A bit of background: I avidly play fantasy football (my completely obsessed husband would argue with the avidly part). I've played for 5 or 6 years, and I even played fantasy golf for 2 years. So I'm very interested in this idea.

By Paul Waechli (writer of the Research Quest blog) and Sara Holladay
First of all, here is Paul's blog entry on this talk

Fantasy football is research.
New opponent every week, check rosters (strengths/weaknesses), evaluate players, trade if necessary, collect information on matchups, weather, etc, form lineup, see how you did
It's about research, not football
91% of fantasy players play football
96% are male, 91% are white, average age is 40, 71% have bachelor's degree or higher

For people who don't play, you have a draft, then you choose your starting lineup, for which you get points based on how they play (yards rushing, passing, etc.)
Trend is toward drafting individual defensive players instead of whole defenses.

People spend an average of 5 hrs/week researching and playing
They use a variety of sources (magazines, discussion, blogs, fantasy shows)- ACRL standard

Incorporating IL into fantasy football
University of Dubuque- did orientation for football players before other students arrived, typical at first, but in 2007 changed to be football-themed. "Will the Madden curse strike again?"
They talk about where to find information and how to evaluate. They did a 2 minute drill to find as much as they could. Then discussed and decided who should be the overall #3 pick in a fantasy fb draft.
They asked for 3 criteria for evaluating resources, 60% named all 3, 80% named at least 2.
93% had very positive impression of librarians.

Ideas for outreach: Library league, draft prep workshop
Other places incorporating fantasy football: University of Central Missouri, Cuyahoga County Public Library

Roadblocks: NCAA can pose problems. It's not prohibited unless there are prizes or an entry fee.
Students may not know much about FF
Librarians: limited experience
Faculty/Admin: Perceived value, gambling
They're putting together a Fantasy Football toolkit for ALA.

This was a fun session with some great ideas for taking something students already do and incorporating it into information literacy instruction.

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