Friday, August 1, 2008

changing times

The library director forwarded an email from our state library association. The email discussed the trend to include video games in the collection as a way to reach out to the YA crowd. Now, when I was the YA person, we'd had video games at a few events, I think they were Harry Potter games and tied into the event's theme which was Harry Potter! I never planned an event based solely around gaming, but articles in the journals I read started to suggest this as a way to get the teens in the door besides when they had a required reading assignment.

My successor held a guitar hero contest last spring. Best attended YA event the library ever had. She stopped counting at 140 kids. Amazing turnout and we both realized that the vast majority of kids neither of us had ever seen before. It brought them out in droves.

Spurred on by this huge success she applied for a local grant to purchase games, a system and a flat screen tv. The grant request was denied. First time a library request was given the thumbs down by this group.

I hope her next move is to approach the Friends about giving her the money for this. Now we just have to convince them it is a good idea. Hard to change minds sometimes about the evolving nature of a public/community library. Long gone are the quiet days of scowling librarians 'shushing' everyone in sight.

What follows is a brief bit of the email the director sent me.

"To our surprise, the video game trend is endorsed by the Chicago-based American Library Association, which recently got a $1 million grant from the Verizon Foundation to develop a national model for library gaming. Eighty percent of public libraries allow video games on their computers, according to a 2007 Syracuse University study, and 13 percent have separate game stations such as Nintendo, Wii or Xbox.Libraries are no longer just about literacy, if they ever were. They've evolved into social and recreational centers that mirror the communities they serve. Large- type and audio books for aging Boomers. Computer literacy lessons for seniors. Free wi-fi for students. Multi-lingual resources for immigrants. Cultural enrichment courses for everyone. The video games are targeted at the hard-to-reach young adult demographic that is too busy or distracted (temporarily, we hope) for things like books and newspapers."

On another front, one of the blogs I visited on a very regular basis has gone dark. Dwight Wannabe has hung up the blogging towel. Dwight is a talented blogger and writer. I don't attempt to make my blog anything like what he served up on a daily basis. His presence will be missed.

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