Gaming in Libraries


What is the largest group of gamers in society today?  According to Jenny Levine, a well known blogger, there are a lot more gamers than we realize, and the stereotype of the teenage boy in basement playing games alone is far from the truth.  There are many young gamers—90 million them up to the age of 35.  But the largest group of online gamers is now middle-aged women! 

Gamers tend to be creative problem solvers or experimental learners, and they expect interaction, rewards, and customization. A new gaming console based on motion, Wii (pronounced “wee”) is greatly expanding the world of gaming.  Even some physically challenged people can now play games.

 How should libraries interact with gamers?  They could:

  • Provide -support materials and services for the culture of gaming (see the Orange County Public Library website for an example).
  • Create Reader’s Advisories by figuring out what books gamers would like based on games they play.  They should also consider non-video games—some librariess provide board games, or geocaching in the library. Others provide “open play” periods and either buy the necessary equipment or have players contribute it. 

Kids love tournaments, and some libraries (the Ann Arbor Public Library, for example) have been proactive in providing an environment for game tournaments, with great success.

 Jenny recommended a report by the MacArthur Foundation as a “Must Read” for anyone interested in gaming in libraries. 

Her slides with many examples of gaming sites will be available on her wiki.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and CIL 2007 Blog Coordinator


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