Wednesday, March 24, 2010

the library should definitely get harvest moon.

i was pretty happy to read this morning that the toronto public library is trying to secure funds so that they can begin circulating a video game collection and set up gaming programs at eight branches across the city. the walter stewart and bloor/gladstone branches have been testing out gaming programs for awhile now, but a circulating video game collection is pretty much non-existent in toronto libraries.

there are a handful of libraries across north america that have added video games to their collections and it's a great idea for toronto to get on board for a lot of different reasons.

for one, libraries are all about accessibility. although books aren't as pricey as they once were, buying every book you want to read is out of the question for a lot of people. it's important that libraries allow people to have access to books, music, films, and now video games.

any literacy tool is a good literacy tool. a lot of research suggest that video games can promote literacy not only through text in game play but also through comprehension, and problem solving. so maybe kids aren't reading the same kinds of books, or even learning to read in the same way, as their parents did but with plummeting literacy rates any way to get a kid to read works for me!

having a video game collection will bring people into the library who may not have considered going before. city councillor adam vaughan said that coming in to get a video game "may be the only time a young person comes in, it can act as a magnet to attract people" and once they're in the library the "librarians will be hard at work to introduce them to everything else the library can offer." in guilderland, n.y, the number of books taken out by teens went up 20 percent after the library launched its video game collection.

eli neiburger, an associate director for the ann arbor library IT department, says that organizing gaming events and having a video game collection turns "non library users into library users, it's not so important how they use the library, it's that they use it."

i agree, aside from the library being somewhere that kids can get books and movies it's also a safe space. a library is somewhere you can go if, say, you can't go home for some reason.

one commenter wrote:

"It’s not so important how they use the library, it’s that they use it."??? What a stupid comment! If they use it to snork cocaine, would that be OK? Kids spend enough mind-numbing hours mesmerized in front of a video screen, and now the taxpayer is now going to fund it? Good grief!"

they're not going to come to the library and "snork" coke, they're going to come and play mario kart racing with their friends. they're going to take out games that they might not ever play because they can't afford to buy them. maybe while they're picking out a game they'll peruse the books and find something they like. or maybe a librarian will mention to them that the lord of the rings was actually a book first, and they'll want to read it.

it just seems fair to me that if i can go to the library and take out a sketchy v.c andrews paperback that i should also be able to check out a video game or two. just sayin'.

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