ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom: Libraries Should Embrace Video Games, Not Ban Them

May 23, 2013 -

An interesting editorial penned by Barbara Jones, the director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom for the American Library Association, puts the brakes on all the talk about banning video games from public libraries.

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Poll: Should Public Libraries Allow Patrons To Play Violent Games On Its PCs?

February 6, 2013 -

Last week, the Paterson Free Public Library in New Jersey decided to ban the play of what it calls "direct-shooter" games on computers at its facilities.

Whatchu think about that?

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NCAC and Others Protest Video Game Ban in NJ Library

February 4, 2013 -

Do you like playing "direct-shooter" video games?

Well, whatever they are, you can't play them at the Paterson Free Public Library in New Jersey anymore.  Prompted by a petition from library staff members, the library's board voted last month to ban the play of such games on computers at its facilities.

Why?

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Pocono Pines Library Motivates Oldsters with Wii Fun

May 24, 2010 -

The Clymer Library in Pocono Pines is putting a $4,000 grant it received last year to good use. The grant came from the Federal Library Services and Technology Act through the Pennsylvania’s Office of Commonwealth Libraries. So what have they spent that money on? A Wii to get seniors engaged and active, among other things like large print books, extra seating and more comfortable furniture.

These items are part of the library's "Savvy Senior Space," which gives the elderly a reason to spend time at the library. At first the library's board members were not convinced that this was a good use of grant money - until one if its senior members, 71 year old Don Pitzer, tried out the Wii system for himself.

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In NYC, Teens Game Their Way to a Better World

June 28, 2009 -

Yesterday in the Big Apple, socially-aware teens held the first-ever NYC Youth Media & Technology Festival. The event spotlighted the work of teenagers who create video games and other digital media projects in order to advance social causes.

Organizers expected about 100 attendees for the Festival. The gathering was intended to produce a citywide dialogue about the role of new media and technology in teens' lives and how it can be utilized to promotes issues kids care about.

A group of young designers affiliated with the New York Public Library were scheduled to showcase their designs and conceptualizations for serious video games about subjects like celebrity drug use, media consolidation and genocide.

Meanwhile, teens from the Global Kids Virtual Video Project premiered an animated short film about child sex trafficking in the United States.  Members of MOUSE discussed their efforts to advance technology in New York City public schools by developing open source labs, advocating for the One Laptop Per Child campaign and other efforts.

The invitation-only event was held at the Parsons The New School for Design.

-Doug Buffone, Entertainment Consumers Association intern

9 comments

Nebraska State Auditor Employs Fuzzy Logic to Zing Gaming Librarians

March 2, 2009 -

Last week GamePolitics reported that some Nebraska librarians were under investigation by State Auditor Mike Foley (R) for - horrors! - purchasing a PlayStation 2 and Rock Band set for use in the library.

Foley's final report on Nebraska's library system is now out, including his findings on the video game issue:

[Library] Commission employees have occasionally provided their own personal game consoles for trainings and demonstrations...

GP: Now that's dedication, a quality that government bureaucracy is so good at beating out of its employees. No good deed, as they say, goes unpunished.

The purchase of gaming equipment is a questionable use of public funds. It is common
knowledge that children enjoy games and toys, so there appears to have been little need to
purchase the games.

GP: Wait - kids like games, so the library shouldn't buy them? Does that mean they should expend their budget on things that people don't like? WTH?

Moreover, none of the games purchased were so complicated or out of the ordinary as to require the Commission to demonstrate their use to library staff and others...

GP: Because absolutely everyone who walks into a Nebraska library - including older librarians - has an innate sense of how to set up and play Rock Band or Dance Dance Revolution? Thankfully, the Library Commission defended it employees against the Foley-crats:

Gaming equipment and games have become increasingly popular and in demand resources for library programming and service. The Library Commission purchased game equipment in response to requests from Nebraska librarians for demonstration and instruction. The Library Commission’s actions in acquiring gaming equipment and a few representative games are proper and in accord with the agency’s state statutory mission and its purposes in introducing new technologies, techniques and providing information and instruction in the use of these technologies.
 

GP: Bureaucracy... Grrrr...

Via: Nebraska State Paper

UPDATE: Cornfed Gamer has a terrific report on the situation with lots of additional details.

TV News, State Officials Investigate Rock Band-Playing Librarians... But Weren't They Just Doing Their Job?

February 25, 2009 -

Omaha's Action News 3 is running an exposé on some Nebraska Library Commission employees who posted a video of themselves setting up and playing Rock Band on company time. But did the workers do anything wrong? From the Action News report:

Were some Nebraska state workers paid to play? A video that appeared on YouTube is creating a firestorm of reaction and suggests so...  Employees at the Nebraska Library Commission are accused of wasting [taxpayer money] and then posting video and pictures of the whole thing on line.

Nebraska State Auditor Mike Foley told Action News that a YouTube user spotted the video at left and made a complaint, leading to an investigation by Foley's office. However, Library Commission Director Rob Wagner has backed up his employees:

In a phone interview... Wagner says the workers did nothing wrong. He says the library system is branching out into video games to bring more young people into the libraries. 

GP: While library systems around the country are increasingly adopting video games in an effort to attract teens and stay culturally relevant, that word seems not to have filtered back to either Action News 3 or the Nebraska Auditor General's office.

If libraries are going to offer games like Rock Band, wouldn't it make sense for the employees to at least know how to set them up and be able to explain them to library users?

It's too bad that the local media and the state bureacracy is screwing them over for their efforts at innovation.

28 comments

Utah Library Enforces Partial Game Ban

November 15, 2008 -

Today may be National Gaming @ Your Libary Day, but one local library in Utah has placed restrictions on game access.

Utah's KSL-5 reports that officials of the Eagle Mountain Library found that teens were monopolizing its PCs in order to play online games. Spokesperson Linda Peterson commented:

There were students and adults who needed to use computers for research that were having to wait too long and, you know, getting frustrated by that.

The Eagle Mountain Library's game ban extends only from 2-5 p.m. on weekdays.

GP: Someone in Utah apparently didn't get the memo about the gaming at the library concept. KSL-5 notes that several other libraries in the same county have even harsher restrictions on games.

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55 comments

Saturday is National Gaming Day @ Your Library

November 10, 2008 -

Books?

Who needs books at a library?

This Saturday is gaming day in the stacks, baby.

That's because the American Library Association has declared November 15th to be the first-ever National Gaming Day @ Your Library Day. Libraries across the country (some more than others, certainly) will celebrate the fun and educational benefits of video and board games.

In addition to online gaming events, Wizards of the Coast has donated  copies of D&D as well as Magic the Gathering to libraries so that they may run local tournaments.

ALA president Jim Rettig commented:

Gaming formats have become a valuable tool for libraries, Not only has this new format increased library usage from hard to reach users such as teens, we also have found that video games attract a variety of users and are a great vehicle to teach basic technology skills.

More info is available from the ALA.

18 comments

 
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Andrew EisenNow, having said that, what sites are you reading that are claiming that if "you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem" or that gamers are "obligated to stop harassment"? Or was that hyperbole too?09/21/2014 - 1:03am
Andrew EisenFirst of all, ONE person in the Shout box suggested an obligation to call harassers out on their harassing but only after YOU brought it up. Plus, Techno said "when you see it happening." If you don't see it, you're not under any obligation.09/21/2014 - 1:02am
Sleaker@Craig R. - at this point I don't even know what the hashtags are suppsed to be in support of. what does GamerGate actually signify.09/21/2014 - 12:21am
Sleaker@AE - Hyperbole for the first 2, but it seems like some of the comments in the shout are attempting to place blame on fellow gamers because they aren't actively telling people to stop harassing even though they don't necessarily know anyone that has.09/21/2014 - 12:16am
Andrew EisenSleaker - Who the heck are you reading that is claiming "all gamers are bad," we "need to pass laws or judgement on all gamers," that if "you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem," or that gamers are "obligated to stop harassment"?09/20/2014 - 9:44pm
erthwjimhe swatted more than just krebs, I think he swatted 30 people http://krebsonsecurity.com/2014/05/teen-arrested-for-30-swattings-bomb-threats/09/20/2014 - 9:31pm
Craig R.Btw, the guy who swatted security expert Brian Krebs? He got picked up recently. It can be done.09/20/2014 - 8:55pm
Craig R.Such things are not done in a vacuum... hence why the 4chan and other logs show what fools you've all been, tricked into doing the trolls' work09/20/2014 - 8:49pm
Sleaker@Technogeek - How do you call someone out that anonymously calls in a SWAT team, or sends threats to people?09/20/2014 - 7:04pm
Technogeek"It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so." I'd say you're certainly obligated to call them out when you see it happening.09/20/2014 - 5:17pm
SleakerNow if you disagree with anything in my last 2 posts then we obviously have a difference in world view, and wont come to any sort of agreement. I'm fine with that, maybe some people aren't?09/20/2014 - 5:09pm
SleakerIt also doesn't mean that just because a news outlet says that Gamers are the problem and you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem. It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so.09/20/2014 - 4:59pm
SleakerJust to re-iterate: People getting harassed is wrong. Just because someone is harassed by so called 'gamers' doesn't mean that all gamers are bad. nor does it mean that you need to pass laws or judgement on all gamers.09/20/2014 - 4:56pm
SleakerAnd furthermore just because someone doesn't 'crusade against the evil' that doesn't make them the problem. You can have discussion with those around you. There's a thing called sphere of influence.09/20/2014 - 4:54pm
Sleaker@Conster - one person getting harassed is a 'problem' only so far as the harassee's are doing it. Just because a select few people choose to act like this doesn't make it widespread. Nor does it immediately make everyone responsible to put an end to it.09/20/2014 - 4:54pm
james_fudgeno worries09/20/2014 - 4:15pm
TechnogeekI misread james' comment as "we can't have a debate without threatening" there at first. Actually wound up posting a shout about death threats and "kill yourself" not technically being the same thing before I realized.09/20/2014 - 3:59pm
james_fudgeDon't hit me *cowers behind Andrew*09/20/2014 - 3:20pm
ConsterYou take that back right now, james, or else. *shakes fist menacingly*09/20/2014 - 3:00pm
james_fudgeOur community is awesome. We can have a debate without threatening to kill each other.09/20/2014 - 2:50pm
 

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