April 21, 2008

More on How Gaming Promotes Reading and Library Usage

Filed under: Uncategorized — tsladmin @ 7:49 am

Libraries Lure with Video Games

“‘Bellevue’s library, near Bellevue East High School, hosts a game night twice a month. About two dozen teens take turns thwacking virtual tennis balls or throwing super punches on Nintendo games. Some do their homework as they wait. Others browse the library for comic books and novels.
A.J. Score, a shy 15-year-old, aspired to join the high school’s football or golf teams. But he was afraid he wouldn’t fit in. Gaming was his thing.
At the library’s game nights, he immediately became a star. And gaming gave him something to talk about. He talks smack and teases gamers about their weapon selection. It’s all harmless fun, he said.
‘I’m not so much quiet anymore,’ A.J. said.
Any parent who has struggled to tear a child away from a video game may cringe at the notion that libraries, of all places, are promoting them.
But the games are age-appropriate and can help to interest kids in books, Wyant said. Library game nights typically are open only to those ages 10 to 18 and require a parental permission slip.
Some nights, A.J. does homework or checks out murder mystery books until his mom picks him up.
‘Every week he has a new book. It’s great to see a teenager reading at the library and not in trouble,’ said his mom, Tam Score.
Circulation of young adult literature has increased at some libraries with game nights.
Last year, teens borrowed 20 to 30 books a month at the Chadron Public Library. Now it’s well over 300 each month. The reason: video games….
The Loren Corey Eiseley Branch, which sits a block from a middle school, gets 50 to 80 kid gamers each day. The Arnold Heights Branch held a game day that attracted more than 80 kids during spring break.
Since Lincoln libraries have added game nights, teens don’t cause as many disruptions. They used to run up and down book aisles and talk loudly.
‘They were just being teens,’ said Greg Mickells, Lincoln’s library director. ‘They’re probably still a lot louder than our regular patrons, but they know if they’re misbehaving they’ll be asked to leave.’
The Council Bluffs Public Library hopes to offer game nights or tournaments this summer.
At Plattsmouth’s library, teens have formed a gaming council. The council plans tournaments and develops rules (such as no cussing).
The library has restricted gaming hours to between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. because parents complained that their children were spending too much time at the library and not focusing on their studies.
Library director Hunt said video games bring back a sense of community in libraries.
‘We have kids who come in that have never been to the library before,’ Hunt said. ‘We’re getting a section of readers we don’t normally have because of gaming.’ ” [Omaha World-Herald]


  1. Very cool, but I’m still waiting for libraries to treat video games like another part of the A/V spectrum.

    Comment by terry — April 21, 2008 @ 1:06 pm

  2. What does that look like that is different, Terry? How will we know when we get there?
    Thanks for commenting.

    Comment by jenny — April 21, 2008 @ 5:14 pm

  3. Hmmm…. maybe I’m overthinking this, but here goes: I think we will get there when libraries don’t need to justify having games in the collection or offering video games as programming. I appreciate that these libraries have seen a connection between offering gaming and increased circulation, but I would prefer if they responded to the media by highlighting aspects of gaming which are intrinsically good or were willing to state that offering games/gaming was part of their Mission.
    I don’t see articles like this about CDs in libraries’ collections or movie nights.

    Comment by terry — April 23, 2008 @ 7:44 am

  4. I may be wrong, but everything in excess doesn’t seem right to me. When one comments that “teens don’t cause as many disruptions” because they are playing games, it sounds like it’s a very comfortable way to have kids under control. The same applies to parents who let kids play videogames all the time because they become “invisible” while doing that. In a world that requires more of our time each day, we have to be careful not to do the wrong but more convenient thing, specially when everyone else seems to be doing that. I have seen teens who behaved like plants — who wouldn’t eat for 8 hours to play games, who refused to study or to work, whose brains seemed to have been burned and children who would wake up at night complaining of delirious visions, possibly because of too much game playing. These are my observations and one could argue that there’s no scientific proof that these are connected to game playing, but there’s no question that there is at least a disconnection between parents and children. And also so much time spent in virtual playing while these kids should be playing in the real world (no, the Internet is not the real world, folks) and discovering things that will actually make them better human beings. I am a web professional and aware of how newer generations are naturally computer savvy, but I repeat, nothing in excess is good, and one should be aware that it’s not because everyone is doing something that that’s the right thing to do.

    Comment by Renato — April 23, 2008 @ 2:29 pm

  5. Thanks, Terry. We’re on the same page on that one, and that’s one of the places I hope to end up with all of this. I do think some libraries are there, just not most of them. We did go through this with CDs, movies, and if you go back far enough, even fiction, so it’s just a matter of time and cycles.

    Comment by jenny — April 24, 2008 @ 6:29 pm

  6. Renato, I’m not sure what you’re referring to, as no one has advocated gaming (or anything else) in excess. I also don’t see anyone advocating that libraries should offer gaming just because everyone is doing it.
    Where we do agree is that games of any type are one part of a healthy media diet, along with television, movies, books, internet, etc., all of which should be balanced with family time, friends, outdoor play, and quiet time.
    I’m sitting in Las Vegas as I write this, and there isn’t much worse than watching folks putting coins in slot machines like zombies, so a little bit of everything is definitely the answer.
    Thanks for commenting, and I’m glad we agree about this.

    Comment by jenny — April 24, 2008 @ 6:32 pm

  7. My comment is not in regard to comments done here, I’m sorry if it seemed that way — it’s in regard to the article’s sentence “Since Lincoln libraries have added game nights, teens don’t cause as many disruptions.” It reminded me of the cases I mentioned and it scares me to think it is being recommended as a solution to keep teens under control, when replacing parenting time with gaming time can actually be the source of them misbehaving in the first place.

    Comment by Renato — April 25, 2008 @ 4:45 pm

  8. […] Artikel i Omaha World Herald om TV-spel pÃ¥ Bellevue Public Library. Via The Shifted Librarian. […]

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  9. “parents complained that their children were spending too much time at the library” – a problem connected to be too successfull, or what?
    What would be the options for the kids – the local mall? the local McDonalds? the local drug dealer?

    Comment by Peter Alsbjer — April 26, 2008 @ 3:45 am

  10. […] librarians and libraries are beginning to host gaming nights to promote reading and introduce libraries into the lives of teenage and younger citizens. Read […]

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