With a busy school schedule and an even busier work schedule, I have not had as much time for studying as I would like this term. Last week I found a moment of freedom and decided to head over to the library for the first time this term. Upon entering the library, I found myself stopping short at a rather strange sight. There, in front of my eyes, was a huge rack of video games. Not books or journals or magazines, but video games. Puzzled, I made my way over to the information desk to find out why the University’s library was suddenly stocked with not only books, but video games as well.
As it turns out, gaming in libraries has been around for quite some time. As the times change, libraries have also changed. In the 1980’s CD’s started to appear in libraries, in the 1990’s movies started to appear in libraries, and in the early 21st century the internet arrived in libraries. So would it not make sense that video games follow suit in the later 21st century?
Video games in libraries has created a rare case where two audiences are benefiting from one public relations move. For video games, a library creates another oppurtunity for a child to try I (and potentially buy) a video game, as well as a chance for word of mouth to spread. For libraries, the presence of video games has brought kids into the library and revitalized the relationship between children and the written word.
Hands-on video games and systems, such as the Wii and Guitar Hero, have also allowed libraries to host tournaments in their local communities. The tournaments not only offer a safe haven for kids, but also enlighten kids about certain games and make the library a “cool” hangout. According to an article in Escapist magazine, these tournaments are also offering education to kids in a fun way. Jenny Levine, a member of the American Library Association, states that gaming and libraries are a “perfect fit.” To read more about Levine’s theory, please look at page 32 of this PDF.
Libraries will continue to evolve as the times do, and I cannot wait to see what video games and libraries will do next!