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Thread: Video Games at the Library

  1. #21
    Kirby (Level 13) ubersaurus's Avatar
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    We just started at my library, over my objections. Of course, we don't buy the games...we only take in donations. Too expensive, and too risky due to the possibility of theft.

    As for why we started getting them, it's largely because people kept asking about it.

    But having worked at a library for the past 9 years, I can tell you that it's not all doom and gloom. Yes, we're getting more movies and music. But that's because people want them, and they're no less valid forms of entertainment than books. There's no hidden agenda here. We like circulation numbers, they like the items.

    And internet being a good source of information? Maybe, but it depends what you want, and how willing you are to purse through fallacies.
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    My library has yt to do games (although they do some gaming nights i do believe), but they have a pretty good selection of TV show sets. Stuff like Dark Shadows, which are like 60 bucks a set and have 1000000 sets or whatever. Stuff no person with passing interest would want to drop that much on. I think this is a nice service. Now if only they would get Mr. Wizard and Unsolved Mysteries...

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    Quote Originally Posted by ubersaurus View Post

    Yes, we're getting more movies and music. But that's because people want them, and they're no less valid forms of entertainment than books. There's no hidden agenda here. We like circulation numbers, they like the items.
    Except that there's a difference between providing entertainment and encouraging literacy. One I think is a proper way to spend taxpayer money, another isn't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FantasiaWHT View Post
    Except that there's a difference between providing entertainment and encouraging literacy. One I think is a proper way to spend taxpayer money, another isn't.
    I completely agree with this. I think libraries are there to help people with continuing education in some way and it is a cause worthy of some taxpayer money.

    I think most movies and almost every video game falls outside that category and are only entertainment. I don't think taxpayers subsidizing people's entertainment is a good idea.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ubersaurus View Post
    And internet being a good source of information? Maybe, but it depends what you want, and how willing you are to purse through fallacies.
    That's all a matter of where you're looking. I've got access to JSTOR and several other online libraries through my college's website, so I really don't need to set foot in the library at all unless a professor is lazy and just has something on hold for students to waste their time copying instead of scanning it for everyone.

    That said, I'd be far more in favor of libraries expanding (or hell, to be honest, HAVING IN THE FIRST PLACE) comics. I'm not saying have every half-assed mid-90's overwrought X-Men trade paperback Marvel charges too much money for, but maybe at least some stuff like Bone, Peanuts, Will Eisner's graphic novels, etc.

    As far as libraries having DVDs, I'm not opposed to it, but the sorts of people I've seen at the library checking out DVDs aren't exactly looking to expand their scope or understanding of cinema. I don't think you have to be all that curmudgeony about it, but a film should have some artistic/educational worth to be at a library. No library should carry Tyler Perry's "movies", for instance.

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    Alex (Level 15) boatofcar's Avatar
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    Double post power--activate!
    Last edited by boatofcar; 10-23-2008 at 10:02 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Half Japanese View Post
    That said, I'd be far more in favor of libraries expanding (or hell, to be honest, HAVING IN THE FIRST PLACE) comics. I'm not saying have every half-assed mid-90's overwrought X-Men trade paperback Marvel charges too much money for, but maybe at least some stuff like Bone, Peanuts, Will Eisner's graphic novels, etc.
    Most libraries have a good selection of comic strip books, but I've never looked for TBP's before.

    As far as libraries having DVDs, I'm not opposed to it, but the sorts of people I've seen at the library checking out DVDs aren't exactly looking to expand their scope or understanding of cinema. I don't think you have to be all that curmudgeony about it, but a film should have some artistic/educational worth to be at a library. No library should carry Tyler Perry's "movies", for instance.
    But who decides that that Ultimate Spider Man trade has more artistic value the Diary of a Mad Black Woman? Sounds pretty hypocritical to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by FantasiaWHT View Post
    Except that there's a difference between providing entertainment and encouraging literacy. One I think is a proper way to spend taxpayer money, another isn't.
    Agreed.

    Uber, do you have access to your library's circulation numbers of books and DVDs over the past nine years? I think that would be really interesting to look at.

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    What I gather most people saying is that games shouldn't be in libraries because they aren't seen as learning tools in any sense...

    I just think of all those years I fought with my parents to buy video games because I actually did learn something. Hand-eye coordination, problem solving skills, even learn to read and math (I learned how to do multiplication when I was 6 because of a math game on my TI 99 4A). Video games have had some positive impact on my education.

    Now our libraries are saying "You know what, maybe games do have a place in our institution, there is some greater good that can be gained," and people on a videogaming site are basically saying "Psh, what are you doing wasting our money on these trifling games."

    I know I'm going to the event I linked to earlier to try and see what goals my local library has in trying to integrate gaming into their system, and maybe even make some recommendations and actually get involved. I'm hoping that this will be apositive trend for the livelihood of an institution that we would be far worse off without.
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    Alex (Level 15) boatofcar's Avatar
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    Scoot, please post about that event. I'm quite interested in what they've got set up.

    I just think of all those years I fought with my parents to buy video games because I actually did learn something. Hand-eye coordination, problem solving skills, even learn to read and math (I learned how to do multiplication when I was 6 because of a math game on my TI 99 4A). Video games have had some positive impact on my education.
    If the library only stocked video games that had some kind of educational merit (text-heavy games, educational games, etc), I would have far less of a problem with this. However, it seems like they'll put any game that gets donated on the shelf.

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    Quote Originally Posted by boatofcar View Post
    Scoot, please post about that event. I'm quite interested in what they've got set up.



    If the library only stocked video games that had some kind of educational merit (text-heavy games, educational games, etc), I would have far less of a problem with this. However, it seems like they'll put any game that gets donated on the shelf.
    I will, as you know, I live in a small town, and through e-mail contact I can tell they are mostly clueless about what is out there in the video game / boardgame world...my friends and I mean to change that.

    Your second point is kind of what's making me want to get involved with the day as a whole, I want to see if they're thinking Brain Age or Dead Rising...
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    I think you guys are being far too constrained in what you believe a library is for in today's society. The reality is that most of the non-fiction books a library stocks are useless given how quickly the world is changing on a daily basis. It's far easier and more reliable in most cases to read about history, politics, art, and many other subjects on the Internet. Whether you want to accept it or not, kids and adults are doing a lot more reading than they did 20 years ago, they're just doing it at home and at work and in their car and anywhere else there is Internet available. Libraries should be depositories of art and culture and video games are good examples of a modern art form that have the ability to entertain as well as enrich and help kids build skills which can be useful in other fields. I don't think a video game is any different than a book or a film strip or a CD in the sense that any of these things can be frivolous and a waste of time, or they can teach and enrich. Would you advocate removing all of the fiction books from the library just because you don't necessarily learn anything directly from reading them? Of course not. Video games should be treated no differently.

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    Alex (Level 15) boatofcar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bojay1997 View Post
    Whether you want to accept it or not, kids and adults are doing a lot more reading than they did 20 years ago, they're just doing it at home and at work and in their car and anywhere else there is Internet available.
    Nobody's arguing that, but reading im chat windows and myspace pages isn't exactly as neurally stimulating as reading a book, no matter what the subject. You "read" all the text on the internet just like you read signs, menus, etc. Sometimes you glean something important from it, but most of the time its in one ear and other the other. Er, in one eye and out the...um...well, you know what I mean

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    Quote Originally Posted by boatofcar View Post
    Nobody's arguing that, but reading im chat windows and myspace pages isn't exactly as neurally stimulating as reading a book, no matter what the subject. You "read" all the text on the internet just like you read signs, menus, etc. Sometimes you glean something important from it, but most of the time its in one ear and other the other. Er, in one eye and out the...um...well, you know what I mean
    I don't know what kind of dopey people you hang around, but everyone I know uses Google dozens of times a day to look up information on a wide variety of topics. Those searches typically lead to newspaper articles, book excerpts, personal accounts of historic events, etc...Sure, there are some people who spend too much time on chat and Facebook, but I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn't read dozens of pages of information a day on the Internet. Reading articles of that type is no less stimulating than reading a book and frankly can be more so because it encourages you to dig a little deeper and connect facts between multiple sites where a book just lays out its own slanted view of things based on whatever research its author did through their own skewed filter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bojay1997 View Post
    I think you guys are being far too constrained in what you believe a library is for in today's society. The reality is that most of the non-fiction books a library stocks are useless given how quickly the world is changing on a daily basis. It's far easier and more reliable in most cases to read about history, politics, art, and many other subjects on the Internet. Whether you want to accept it or not, kids and adults are doing a lot more reading than they did 20 years ago, they're just doing it at home and at work and in their car and anywhere else there is Internet available. Libraries should be depositories of art and culture and video games are good examples of a modern art form that have the ability to entertain as well as enrich and help kids build skills which can be useful in other fields. I don't think a video game is any different than a book or a film strip or a CD in the sense that any of these things can be frivolous and a waste of time, or they can teach and enrich. Would you advocate removing all of the fiction books from the library just because you don't necessarily learn anything directly from reading them? Of course not. Video games should be treated no differently.
    hey bojay...we can agree on something I too, think that the purpose of a library has changed quite a bit in the last 15 years. The internet is a great tool for information...the thing that the library one dominated in. I rarely go to a library anymore...mostly because I can find the same information from my home. Libraries now carrying video games, movies, and other culture items is A GREAT IDEA. I think that as time moves on, people will use libraries more for different things. There is a stigma on what a library should be....it is no longer the same purpose as it was when we were kids(I am 32). Video games are iconic, art, culture, and represent a time period. There is no reason why they should not be in a library.

    On a side note, Last time I went into a library, there was a display of vintage computers...it was the coolest thing I had ever seen.
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    The internet is like having a giant world-wide library that's updated 24 hours a day at your fingertips.

    Because of that, the internet is rendering brick-and-mortar libraries, as well as some brick-and-mortar stores, obsolete. It's the evolution of technology and communication.

    I find it interesting that some people, especially members of a video game forum, believe visual fiction (movies and video games) is inferior to printed fiction (books). Both mediums have something to offer and can coexist.

    I also find it interesting that members of a video game forum could be so resistant to change.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob2600 View Post
    I find it interesting that some people, especially members of a video game forum, believe visual fiction (movies and video games) is inferior to printed fiction (books). Both mediums have something to offer and can coexist.
    It's known as an opinion. Just because someone believes that public libraries should consist primarily of books and not as a place where you can check out the latest Spyro game doesn't mean that they're resistant to change--they're trying to protect one of the last refuges left for people to enjoy the written word.

    Bojay, I don't hang around dopey people. But if you think the majority of the internet-using population doesn't spend their time chatting, reading forums, or sending werewolf requests on facebook, you're very na´ve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by boatofcar View Post
    It's known as an opinion. Just because someone believes that public libraries should consist primarily of books and not as a place where you can check out the latest Spyro game doesn't mean that they're resistant to change--they're trying to protect one of the last refuges left for people to enjoy the written word.

    Bojay, I don't hang around dopey people. But if you think the majority of the internet-using population doesn't spend their time chatting, reading forums, or sending werewolf requests on facebook, you're very na´ve.
    Well, I can only speak from my experience working with fairly well educated people and watching high school and college age kids as part of my volunteer work, but all of them seem to use the Internet for much of what I used to use the library for as a kid. I think it's exciting and contrary to how some would portray our society nowadays, I think people are actually getting smarter and more aware of the world because of the wide availability of high speed Internet. Sure, there's plenty of time wasting to be had, but in my opinion, chatting and forum use is a way of communicating that helps to build better interpersonal skills in the real world and encourages critical thought. Sitting in a corner somewhere reading a book doesn't do much except for enriching the reader slightly with whatever the topic of the book is and perhaps inspiring some creativity or critical thought down the road. I for one am glad that we have progressed and believe that the Internet is simply the next and in my opinion superior iteration of the printed word.

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    Kirby (Level 13) ubersaurus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FantasiaWHT View Post
    Except that there's a difference between providing entertainment and encouraging literacy. One I think is a proper way to spend taxpayer money, another isn't.
    It's a matter of perspective. I'd argue that it's a waste of taxpayer money for people to pay for stuff they never look at.

    Seriously, our nonfiction books are not popular. Fiction books, new nonfiction books, and media - audiobooks, movies, cds, video games - these are popular.

    I don't have the circ numbers readily accessible, though I'm sure the head librarian knows, but last year we had 198,000 circs. This year we had 214,000, mostly on the strength of new books, cds, and movies.
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    boatofcar - I know I promised a report of this day...unfortunately, a change in my schedule kept me from going to the event personally (in Ohio). But I do have a short report from friends that went.

    There were actually 2 events my friend worked (members of a boardgame group committed to trying to bring better games to light). One in London, OH. That one he said went extremely well. Big turnout, and the kids and adults got very interested in the "new style" of boardgames that our group brought. Most of the young kids got pulled away to the Wii...but even then, most of them tried the other games, and were engaged. I think the librarians there were very intrigued, and asked lots of questions. I could see them trying to add boardgames to the mix.

    The Circleville one, not so much. The adults saw game day, and equated that to free babysitting. And the librarians there stayed out of it. My friend said that the few people who at least paid a bit of attention did get very interested in the board games they had never seen before, but that the event as a whole did not pan out as well.

    I did stop by the one library where I was that I could find. And they had a sign up for the day, but didn't see any event going on. I did see the table they had set aside though, with the game they had been sent sitting idly in the shrink wrap. I did take the initiative to set it up and read through the rules, just in case, but no luck...ah well.

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