My whole life I’ve always loved a story. I was lucky to have parents who read to me before I could read, and library programs with story times. As I grew books became the medium I used to travel the world. I could experience places I’d never been to before through the pages of a book.

After I began 4th grade, I was intrigued by my great grandmother’s experience with stories. She born during the depression, and would often talk about double feature movies. Once I asked her about the types of movies she would watch, and she responded by showing me The Wizard of Oz. Since she had cable she began recording movies off of TNT, AMC, and other networks to share with me. I was hooked, and spent a large portion of my free time watching these old movies. I even wrote a collection request at my library asking them to collect these movies for “historical value.” In middle school I realized that I could get a better understanding of history through some movies, especially war, foreign cultures, and science. I would then pursue fiction, non fiction, documentaries, and films to help me understand any subject I was interested in.

I also spent my free time playing video games. I never came to the revelation that games would help me in school, because most of the games that would help me in school were PC games, and I was a console and tabletop gamer. It wasn’t until I entered college that I was able to see how plots and back story also would help players learn. Unlike books and movies where you look into some one’s account of an experience, video games are like choose your own adventure novels where you learn through your mistakes.

My point for all of this is: What classifies a story? Does it necessarily have to be written in print to be of value? Also what are the limits on a learning experience? My great grandmother opened up a world to me I would have never experienced if not give the chance. Shouldn’t we offer some programs that give teens this chance.

Food for thought: While many libraries embrace movie collections, how many offer viewers advisory, or player’s advisory? Why not? What’s today’s teens’ version of the movies and video games of my youth?

About Jami Schwarzwalder

Currently a teen librarian with the Pierce County Library System in Tacoma, WA.She is passionate about technology, making, and learning. See what I'm up to at

2 Thoughts on “Define – Story

  1. However simple I may sound – I have never thought of the story lines involved in some of the games kids play. My oldest son is a voracious reader – but given a free moment to do anything he wants – he turns to some of the megalithic games he loves on the PS2. The games are full of detail and history – he even has a few notebooks to keep track of some of it.

    I say, yes – they are stories and he is traveling somewhere off in the distance. We do not currently offer a player’s guild of any sort, but I would certainly consider it now. We have a YA book club where the kids bring in the best thing they have read that month – including an interesting post on MySpace or anywhere. Why not game guides or games???

  2. alexis [Visitor] on November 2, 2007 at 9:43 am said:

    I love that story

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