Video Games in Libraries

Community and university libraries are another area that have recently embraced game consoles. With the digital age and the availability of online of information, libraries are now expanding their services to include game rooms. These are being added to provide video game and educational experiences for all ages even the young at heart.

Kids enjoyed video games on Wii, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 at the main branch of the New York Public Library on Friday. (Photos: Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times)

Kids enjoyed video games on Wii, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 at the main branch of the New York Public Library on Friday. (Photos: Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times)

Libraries that have added video games have experienced interesting trends in that teenagers are starting to come to the library in record numbers. While they have experienced increased participation “books are being checked out at a rate that exceeds what it was before the gamers arrived.”  Perhaps video games are the gateway to knowledge for a whole new generation similar to how movies and music were for generations before.  The benefit is twofold: libraries experience greater traffic in and out of their location, while at the same time books are available to a new audience that may not have experienced how truly great a library can be.

Techsoupforlibraries.org has written an article about gaming in libraries that shows the benefits of having video games in libraries. They stated the following points in the article “Gaming in Libraries” on their site

  • Gaming events can:
    • Draw teens and their parents to the library. For years librarians have worried that they’re “losing a generation.” Teens have been visiting the library less often and checking out fewer books as their information and entertainment options increased. There’s increasing evidence that gaming events in the library will increase circulation and reading among young adults.
    • Create a connection between young adults and library staff. Teens (and adults) are more likely to ask for help from someone they know.
    • Help teens develop teamwork and organizational skills. A lot of libraries involve teens in planning and monitoring their game nights. Teens help select the games, market the events, set up equipment, enforce time limits and so on. Furthermore, the games themselves often require teamwork and cooperative problem-solving.
    • Video games can be beneficial. There’s no universal consensus on this controversial issue, but there’s a lot of evidence suggesting that well-designed games improve fluid intelligence and one’s ability to solve complicated, multifaceted problems.

Sandy Farmer from the Houston Public Library told NPR:

“It’s a primary part of our service that we offer, and it results in a 15- to 20-percent increase in the circulation of books.” In other words, more video games in the library means more books getting checked out. “The kids and the teens spend more time here,” Farmer says. “Families come — their parents have things to do on the computers, because a lot of the families don’t have computer access at home, so the kids have some things to do and while they’re here. They find out, ‘There’s Superman. I can read Superman.” “I have a room full of teenage boys that are happy, and the library is the coolest place they know,” she says. “And video games are a part of that.”

Video Games in Libraries Google Search

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