October 27, 2007

When LIS Classes Game

Filed under: precat — jenny @ 6:12 pm

I love that my friend, the newly minted Dr. Stephens, devoted one of his LIS class nights to gaming. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there to help out, but it sounds like the students did quite well on their own. I would love to see more LIS courses playing and exploring like this, helping the students form their own opinions.

“How do you make your college-age son jealous? Tell him you played Guitar Hero… in school…for a class…while the teacher was there. Hey, I thought it was great fun at our Wednesday game night. I’m not totally convinced of all the educational values of these games, but in terms of building community, gaming really show teens that libraries are willing to invest in their interests. I love the idea that gaming allows teens to get to know their librarians on a more casual basis. We might not seem so ‘scary’ when they need us for informational purposes. I’m undecided about the concept of making kids check out books before they can play games. That might be a little like having to eat your lima beans before you can have your chocolate cake. In the end, does anyone learn to like lima beans?” [Sharonlis768’s Weblog]

Gaming Night: LIS768


“I definitely think there’s a place for games in libraries, including board games. From my own experience with strategy games, I know that some games require a great deal of thought and attention, as well as critical thinking and a lot of decision-making. At my old job, the president and I would often discuss corporate strategy in terms of strategy games, since we were both avid gamers at the time. He was the ‘conquer and pillage’ type while I was the ‘research and develop’ type, so we complemented each other well. The problem with some strategy games, though, is that you can sometimes learn what it takes to beat an AI without necessarily learning fundamental strategy. I don’t mention this as a criticism of the notion of gaming in libraries or to say that good skills can’t be learned, but I’ve always been disappointed by games that turn out to be puzzles. I guess that’s a bit tangential…” [Nat’s Weblog]


  1. That’s funny. When I was a kid growing up in the 1950s I was never scared of libraries. I didn’t have to be tempted with candy to go into one, and I was a typical kid. I knew that libraries were quiet places with books. It was that way in western civilization for at least 2000 years, until recently. Now we have a generation of youngsters, many of whom have attention deficit disorder. They have been raised by TVs, radios, stereos, and video games. They have been deprived of sufficient verbal attention from parents. Their moms didn’t read them bedtime stories from picture books. They cannot focus their thoughts when it’s quiet. This is sad, but it’s not right to do away with quiet libraries in order to accommodate them. Noisy libraries are an indicator of a civilization in decline. See my website.

    Comment by Michael Wright — November 4, 2007 @ 2:17 pm

  2. Michael, the history of the public library has changed drastically during the last 200 years. In this country, there were times children were not allowed to enter, and at other times fiction was not allowed because it rotted the minds of youth. So the results of advocating for things to go back to the way they were might surprise you and even prevent you from enjoying the library at all.
    The arguments you make about games are the same ones made about television, movies, and yes, at one point, books (woe, the loss of oral tradition). You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but the problems you note are not confined to kids who play video games and in fact they’ve been well-noted for decades about Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and others.
    Finally, I’ve never heard a single person advocate for “getting rid of quiet libraries.” What we encourage is “zones” within the library, so that there are quiet areas and non-quiet areas where *anyone* (not just “those kids today” playing video games) can collaborate, talk, and enjoy themselves without worrying about disturbing others. You don’t want others to take away the things you enjoy about the library – I would hope you aren’t advocating doing the same to others.

    Comment by jenny — November 26, 2007 @ 7:13 am

  3. Not only do I question the validity of gaming in libraries, but I definitely question its validity in library school!
    Forget leaving your college-aged kids aghast… what would fellow Masters students think? *Sigh* the devaluation of the MLIS continues.

    Comment by Library Student — December 30, 2007 @ 10:05 am

  4. I’d love to know just how much “Library Student” has investigated this topic. This type of unsubstantiated dismissal would have kept fiction and children out of libraries 100 years ago. Email on public computers was “not a valid service” ten years ago – does “Library Student” agree with that opinion, as well? It’s difficult to tell since this person doesn’t provide any arguments, facts, or even statements other than “gaming is bad.”
    Your opinion is yours, but I question if you’re learning how to evaluate services as part of your LIS education. Perhaps that’s the real issue here. If you’re getting your LIS degree so that other masters students will think more highly of you, then you’re there for the wrong reasons to begin with.

    Comment by jenny — December 30, 2007 @ 10:24 am

  5. Eric…
    I’m a real sucker for anything to do with accelerated learning ideas. Thanks for your post. I’m going to get back into this next month….

    Trackback by Eric — January 9, 2008 @ 8:49 am

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