Mr. Kent’s Storytime

Gaming in Public Libraries

Posted on: November 30, 2008

Libraries across the country just celebrated gaming day, a day devoted to the future of our country – our teens, tweens and children.

The interesting thing is that this has divided a lot of librarians.  I’m for doing whatever it takes to get kids of all ages reading and learning to love to read.  I listened to a presentation at the WLA about teen areas.  The librarians at this presentation seemed to all embrace the gaming culture and the comment was made that many of the teens who were waiting to use the games actually (gasp!), discovered they were in a library and began to read!  Some even joined book groups.  Isn ‘t that the idea?

Can we, as librarians, limit our use of computers to the internet and catalog searches?  Should we limit library spaces to ooks and magazines?  Oh, wait a minute, perhaps you remember when the thought of cd’s and videos was at least heresy in a library!

Another positive outcome is the raise in confidence of kids who were not necessarily the popular kids.  These kids, who are good gamers, have been asked for help by others, and the attainment of higher levels brings a certain status.

Yes.  I love books.  I love the feel and smell of a book.  I love bringing the characters to life with my own version of how they sound.  I seriously doubt printed materials will ever go  away.  I certainly hope not.  I also feel that libraries should have quiet book nooks – comfortable spaces where folks can relax and read.

If you think there is no appreciable value in gaming, you have but to look at the heads up display in an F-18 jet fighter or M-1 Abrams tank, to name just two of the many military vehicles using technology that has even been designed after a video game.

Look at the big picture.  Our children need us to reach them in anyway we can.

Happy Holidays!

Mr. Kent

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