Video Games as a Service: Hosting Tournaments @ Your Library

I didn’t want to forget to blog about Ann Arbor’s Erin Helmrich and Eli Nieburger’s YALSA presentation at conference on Sunday. Their presentation is here which doesn’t capture all the great commentary, but is definitely helpful!

What most interested me was when Erin and Eli both said that they don’t use gaming as a ‘bait and switch’ to get people in the door in the hopes that they check out a book. Not surprisingly, patrons find the services in an organic way and on their own without having to do it for them.

“I need to go relax in the Piers Anthony aisle” said one teen during a particularly heated moment at the tournament.

Why does this work? Because chances are if something is relevant to someone that walks through the door, they will be more likely convinced that other services are as well.

What do people think about this approach to gaming? Would it/does it work in your library?

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

About Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.
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4 Comments

  1. Mary Beth Kurspahic [Visitor]

    We use the same approach basically at Patrick Henry Library in Vienna, VA. We view the library as a community center and want it to be a place where kids and teens can come for any reason. We have a game night once a month after hours so checking out books isn’t even a possibility. Kids from 10-17 show up for Runescape, DDR, and anime. We are always willing to try something new as well. It has been an enormous success so far.

  2. Mike Hull [Visitor]

    I like the point about not using the games as a bait and hook. The younger people are, the less they like to be manipulated into doing something. I am fortunate that the system for which I work says in its mission statement that we provide information and entertainment. Still, I have problems with our librarians believing that books are the only thing that matters in the library. It can be frustrating, but we are making a lot of progress.

  3. lauriec [Member]

    We have just stepped into the organized gaming waters at my library, but as I was setting up the Playstation game the other day (We have DDR and Guitar Hero 2), I happened to notice the warning not to use it for anything other than private purposes. I had forgotten that the games are like movies and would require public performance permission. I haven’t seen anyone mention this in any discussions of how to do gaming events at the library. Does everyone just ignore this? I’m thinking of trying to obtain permission, but was curious whether anyone else has done that.

  4. Most game companies are extremely supportive of library gaming programs. Most libraries I know don’t ask the company for permission to play the games, but when I’ve contacted publishers about playing games in programs they told me that it wouldn’t be a problem as long as I didn’t charge for the event. Red Octane, the company that makes the high quality DDR pads and Guitar Hero is very aware of library programs selling and also giving away equipment to libraries for programing purposes. Even Eli from Ann Arbor who has one of the most successful gaming programs in libraries, didn’t have the written permission from Nintendo to use the games he did.

    For more information about gaming in libraries I encourage you to look for the notes from the symposium held this past weekend sponsored by ala techsource: Gaming Learning and Libraries Symposium. You could also purchase a copy of Jenny Levine’s Library Report Gaming in Libraries or Eli’s book Gamers in the Library?

    YALSA also has a interest group focused on gaming that you can also participate in. If you have anymore questions, feel free to go to http://groups.google.com/group/LibGaming and post any comments, questions, or revelations.

    Good Luck:)

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