Bronwyn's Library Blog

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Are You Game?

By Aaron Schmidt -- 6/1/2006

Thanks to electronic games, attracting teens has never been easier
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Via Stephen Abram who comments: Loads of food for thought.
It's practical and is a good place to start thinking and debating about how your library might jump on this trend. It's not a fad. There's a reason why these games outsell book, magazines and newspapers. There's a reason why they comprise a big part of military training. They do belong in learning and community spaces.

You’ve heard the buzz about how hosting gaming events will have young patrons beating a path to your library.

Marianne Kruppa, a Web developer librarian at St. Joseph County (IN) Public Library (SJCPL) has seen it happen firsthand. “Game nights grow exponentially,” she says. “When one kid has a great time, she brings one or two friends to the next event. Then those kids bring their friends!”

Kruppa, one of SJCPL’s resident techies and a major Nintendo fan herself, helps organize game events at the library, an eight-branch institution that serves a suburban, middle-class community of 250,000 in South Bend. Launched as a single exhibition event in December 2005, SJCPL’s gaming program now boasts regular gatherings around popular video and computer games like Mario Kart DS, Double Dash, Metroid Prime, and Animal Crossing.

Back in December 2005, the debut drew a ragtag bunch of about a dozen observers, but since then, SJCPL’s game events have attracted more than 30 enthusiastic and extremely focused youngsters every couple of weeks.

You’re probably wondering how you can make this happen at your own institution. Like many librarians, you may be a little intimidated by the hardware. But only a few things are needed to stage a gaming event, and they don’t cost a king’s ransom. So let’s get the geeky stuff out of the way... Read on ...

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