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

Thought Control with Video Games

The AP shared in an article that brain wave-reading technology will be incorporated with video games. While this concept itself is not new (check out Brain Ball here), the article mentioned that NeuroSky has big plans for the technology including a consumer headset to connect to the Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360. Many libraries will have or already have these consoles for gaming events or chances are that users of the library own one.

Price wasn’t mentioned for the headset, but CyberLearning system costs about $600. If the NeuroSky technology is popular in the U.S. (it will be shown at the American International Fall Toy Show, Dallas, TX in October), it might have implications for library services for teens.

What if yoga and other relaxation classes were more in demand by teens? What about having to create immersive experiences (outside/inside of games) outside/in of the library so that the gratification of virtual worlds won’t replace the connection adults can have with teens? While we don’t have to wait to see if NeuroSky’s technology is popular in the US to develop these resources and services, it might help to understand and keep an eye on the pulse of video games becoming more immersive and how we can use that as a positive experience in our libraries.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Video Games and Virginia Tech

Wired reported that it took eight hours to connect video games with the Virginia Tech tragedy. Are video games used as a scapegoat for what happened or is there perhaps some merit in looking at a connection between the two? While there are opinions and studies on both sides: No Strong Link to Violent Video Games and Agression by Dmitri Williams, University of Illinois to Jack Thompson on YouTube speaking about video games related to Virginia Tech, who are we to believe? Since there has been such an emphasis on serving gamers at our libraries in recent years, how do we make the case that gaming is a viable and necessary service when tragedies such as Virginia Tech are tied to video games? How do we separate the people from the video game and how can we as librarians shape experiences for teens and adults at our libraries to value the positive aspects of gaming? Here are some ideas:

  • talk about it. Don’t be afraid to ask gamers and parents (who might be gamers as well), what they think about this at your library’s next gaming event and how they can (teen/parent) start a dialogue revolving around video games
  • post resources on your web site that your library can offer to teens in regards to responding to the Virginia Tech tragedy.
  • site positive resources of gaming such as What Video Games Have to Teach Us by James Paul Gee (Palgrave MacMillan, 2004) or Don’t Bother Me Mom–I’m Learning by Marc Prensky (Paragon House Publishers, 2006)
  • encourage teens to share with their parents/caregivers what games they are playing and what they are learning from them

What else? Please share.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki