How do libraries help students with real-world challenges?

How do libraries help students with real-world challenges?

Reference Librarian Alexander Justice recently caught up with Taylor Walker ’13 (current MBA student), on the day of an exciting Kickstarter launch for a game called Earth Encounters.

Could you provide a little background about this game your dad has been working on? Were board games a thing in your family, or did you and your brothers get drawn into this one from your dad’s enthusiasm?

Growing up our parents kept us involved in almost any activity you could imagine if it involved expanding our awareness of life, from Hooked on Phonics, Hooked on Math, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and including educational activities whenever we traveled. We were all in high school before he started sharing his projects with us. Earth Encounters is the project that has always been the most important to him because he said it was a project that had the potential to do the most good.

In a way, he tricked us into getting involved by posing a Challenge Deck type question and asking for our opinion, like which changed the world more, elevators or air-conditioning? Before we realized what we were doing we were bringing challenges to him. He would then add them to the game. My dad can’t spell his way out of a paper box. He’s always asking us how to spell words and reminding us that Einstein was a terrible speller! That led us to editing his questions and suggesting new topics. He had us hooked. It was all a ploy.

I remember a couple times when I met with you at the Info Desk, and you also met with Nataly Blas, our librarian for business. How often did you make use of librarians or any library resource, during the whole development process?

I could only estimate that we used the reference collection – especially Lexis/Nexis – well over a hundred times, plus I have used the information Desk and various reference tools in developing my presentation, videos, and support materials. We used study rooms, white boards, computers on a weekly basis from day one of the project. The library has been our most reliable and indispensable partner in our project.

How did the information you got from the library influence the development process?

Credibility! I had to present to 40 potential investors towards the end of the project. I can proudly say I was the best prepared of all the presenters with facts that supported my presentation based on timely data I obtained through utilizing the incredible resources at the library.


Librarians call it “information literacy,” but faculty tend to think of it as research skills, and in daily life a lot of people think of it as “Googling” and they don’t even realize they’re engaging their information literacy skills. Was using information resources always part of the game, or was there some point where it became necessary to incorporate them? How did that play out in the concept development?

My dad once told me about a play he has already written in his head about a super hero whose “Bat Cave” is a large library. From day one our action play was to base my project on timely, and accurate information. There was only one source for that, and it served us well. The library allowed me to speak with authority on issues and be seen as an expert by the investors when they asked industry related questions.


Tell us about the next steps… Earth Encounters is available for sale at the web site, but you’re doing a Kickstarter campaign, too, we heard? Will there be more testing with players as focus groups, or will the current version go right into production?

The current version of Earth Encounters is already complete and ready to be sold to families and friends across the nation; however, we are focusing on launching a Kickstarter campaign to allow early supporters of our cause an early opportunity to reserve their copy of the game, and to be a part of our story. We believe crowd funding is a great way to get our story out there.

Do you have any last thoughts or advice for incoming LMU students about the library?

I would advise incoming students to really take advantage of the resources that the library has to offer. Moreover, just walk up to a librarian and ask questions about resources. That’s what I did.

Students at Loyola Marymount University are very fortunate to have not only a library with a beautiful view overlooking Los Angeles, but a dedicated staff who go above and beyond their duties to ensure their students get the proper assistance needed.

Learn more:

LMU newsroom article about Taylor and Earth Encounters

Earth Encounters web site

Kickstarter page – support Earth Encounters!

Do you have a story about how the LMU Library has influenced your experience here at LMU? Please let us know – we’d love to share it!

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