Re-creating old buildings may sound like a mature hobby, but Sacramento teens are finding the joy in exploring local history — and making connections to new possibilities and Sacramento Public Library while they’re at it.
The Library invited local gamers to digitally re-create the original appearance of Sutter’s Fort and the city library by referencing old photographs and blueprints from the Library’s Sacramento Room archives as part of its Minecraft Sacramento
A virtual tour of the digital constructs will be streamed on the Library’s Twitch channel
from 5 to 6 p.m. May 22. The stream, led by Sacramento Room archivists James Scott and Amanda DeWilde, will explore the historical and architectural significance of the buildings all while showcasing the teens’ work.
The teens met at the Arden-Dimick, Martin Luther King Jr. and South Natomas libraries to produce professional-quality livestreams of how the iconic Sacramento buildings were built using Minecraft, a popular videogame in which players use 3D blocks to build anything and everything they want — similar to Legos.
Livestreaming allows the Library to reach audiences outside its physical confines — anyone can watch the virtual tour and construction of the buildings online. Participating teens even invited their friends to watch their work and hang out in the Library’s Twitch chatroom online.
“It’s a new type of medium that they’re making,” said Chris Durr, the librarian who leads the program. “Essentially what we’re teaching them to do is create a media product that is different from media products in the past because of its level of interactivity to it.”
Along with teaching teens how to reference primary sources and coordinate livestreams, teens also learned how to handle professional equipment, build confidence in their abilities and collaborate with others on large projects.
Beto Damian, a South Natomas Library volunteer who participated in the livestream said that while he has experience livestreaming, he has not used professional equipment nor has he made a professional livestream before.
“You get immersed into the experience. You get to experience it before you actually get into it,” Damian said of the program. “You get to know what it’s like to handle the expensive stuff. In school, you might be learning about circuitry, but you never get to touch that $100 battery. Well, I get to touch a $3,000 computer now.”
For others who don’t have experience livestreaming, the experience with using professional livestreaming equipment provided the courage to pursue that path.
“I’ve always wanted to make a YouTube channel and actually go somewhere with it, but I’ve never had the confidence or equipment, or even knew how it worked,” said Hannah Rumrill, who said she has been playing Minecraft for seven years. “I find using all this technology is really awesome because it’s all stuff I wanted to use and see how it works, and so far, it’s all really easy to use.”
“I think what we did really made me want to try it on my own and maybe even include it in something I do.”
is part of an ongoing effort to engage patrons with the Library’s technological resources, such as its access to broadband connection and its digital literacy and business-creating programs. Upcoming programs similar to Minecraft Sacramento
are Board(less) Games, in which Twitch audiences can talk with people who make indie board games such as Dungeon and Dragons, and Discover VR, where those new to virtual reality can learn the technology and share the experience on Twitch.
Minecraft Sacramento is part of the Libraries Illuminated
project at Sacramento Public Library. It is also supported by the Minecraft Sacramento project of the California State Library. Minecraft Sacramento is supported with California Library Services Act funding, which is administered by the California Library Services Board.