Daily Archives: September 16, 2008

Library Video Gaming is Here to Stay

It’s all over the news: In public libraries around the country, even right here at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, librarians are adding video games to their collections.  Before you respond with “I knew there was some serious intellectual decline in this country, but this is ridiculous!” think again.  Video games, more and more experts are agreeing, might have a legitimate place in the library after all. 

Whence came the library video gaming surge?  Do a quick Google search for “video games in libraries,” sift through the 40,500,000 hits, and you’ll find many news articles about public libraries obtaining video games to attract more teenagers (see, for instance, reports about the New York and Los Angeles Public Libraries).  The Carnegie has followed suit: our Teen Department began building its video game collection in 2004, and they now have a collection of 247 games, plus in-house game events such as the recent Super Smash Bros. Brawl Tournament.

If you’re worried that video games are harmful to our young’uns, you might be interested in some recent books about the positive influence of video games, such as Marc Prensky’s Don’t Bother Me Mom, I’m Learning!, Steven Johnson’s Everything Bad is Good for You, and James Paul Gee’s What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy


These books suggest that video games are an excellent form of educational entertainment, preparing today’s youth for work in a digitized world.  Then again, maybe video games are just plain entertaining, and who doesn’t like free entertainment at the library? 

Whatever the case, the American Library Association condones the addition of video games to libraries, as evidenced by their blog, News About Games and Gaming, and their declaration of a National Gaming Day that will occur on November 15, 2008.  Even the Library of Congress announced last year a new digital preservation project that will include video games.  There’s also some interesting scholarly research being done on video games and libraries.  For that, check out Megan Winget’s research on video game preservation, and Jenny Levine’s interesting blog about technology and libraries, The Shifted Librarian

Finally, let it be known that teens aren’t the only ones having fun with video games at the library.  Seniors, too, are joining the library video gaming movement by playing games at Nintendo Wii events, and beginning October 10th, the First Floor: New and Featured Department of the Carnegie Library in Oakland will be offering a senior gaming series called A Wii Bit of Exercise.  If you have any doubts about how much fun seniors can have playing video games, check out this video:

Whatever your age, stop by and enjoy the library video gaming revolution with us! 



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