Librarians Prepare Book Ambush for Guitar Hero Players

July 30, 2007 -
So you schlepped down to your local library to check out Guitar Hero. While you were waiting for the n00b in front of you to become frustrated and give up, they sprung - kid-librarians, armed with... books.

No!!!!!!!!!!

As reported by the Fort Dodge Messenger, librarians in Humboldt, Iowa are hoping the lure of video games will bring teens through the front door. Meanwhile, teen volunteers will be waiting to talk up books with unsuspecting gamers. It's all part of a program to encourage students to read.

14-year-old Sam Lenz, a freshman at Humboldt High, is a member of the library's Teen Advisory Board:
While they’re sitting here fidgeting and waiting, we pounce on them and say, ‘Read this.’

Sarah Wright, a senior, added:
They’re usually very receptive because you’re another cool teenager.

Librarian Demi Johnson said that a book recommendation from another teen might carry more weight than one from an adult:
Maybe if [other kids] like it, it’s way cooler than if the librarian [makes the recommendation].

Nor are the teen advisors pushing books favored by adults. From the Messenger story:
The students... displayed particular fondness for books that delved into serious — and sometimes taboo — topics, such as affairs with teachers, suicide and self-mutilation.

They also talked about removing books, labeled by adults as classics, that had sat on the shelves for years without being read. Lenz said he and other students displayed a definite preference for newer titles.

Comments

"Sarah Wright, a senior, added:

They’re usually very receptive because you’re another cool teenager"


hmm, who's cooler, the teenager that goes to the library to play guitar hero, or the one that volunteers their?

We already read harry potter is that not enough!

“Sarah Wright, a senior, added:

They’re usually very receptive because you’re another cool teenager”

Honey you're not having a hot prom date. Declaring yourself cool is also a nono people can call you cool, but once you call yourself that you are dork. And ambushing funny as that is I would tell you to shut up and gimme the damn guitar before i show you rock star wannabe anger.

I dunno why people feel like this might not work...

Teenager to Teenager does sound more reasonable then adult to teenager...

You feel different talking to someone a different age/generation then you compaired to talking to someone probably the same age...

I dunno...

[...] [Via GamePolitics] [...]

Focusing on books that do not bore you to death might help gamers read more.

[...] Update: GamePolitics.com has an entry on libraries in Iowa using Guitar Hero to pull in teens, then encouraging them to read. Michael Neary at the Ft. Dodge Messenger writes how local librarians hope the lure of video games will lead to teens transitioning over to books. [...]

Want to get kids to read the Greek classics? Set up a God of War display and put the Iliad and Oddessy there next to Kratos.

Hmm, My library has Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Runescape competitions. I feel so left out.

[...] Students bring teen touch to reading recommendations [The Fort Dodge Messenger via Game Politics] [...]

IT'S A TRAP

it sounds like those beatherins knocking at your door......dont let them know your inside.. DONT

The teens were the ones saying classics should be removed so more of their choices would fill the shelves. I hardly doubt any serious library would actually listen to such a call, especially from teens. There are easier ways to make shelf space. Most of the time a library (especially one that is a repository) can make space by actually weeding local, state, and federal documents that they were only supposed to keep on hand for 5 years or whatever. These documents are available online before they ever get tossed, along with microfiche and microfilm that goes for years without being weeded.

These items may be in entirely different areas so better weeding may produce no space for new books in say young adult books but weeding older periodicals as they become available in other digital forms can possibly provide space near enough where young people can find new fiction. I think the art of reading a book that lacks a fancy dust jacket or flashy artwork is lost of many people as it is, leaving the question how does on get classics to be discovered? New software and other solutions are helping provide clients with more info, and overall making the online catalog easier to utilize. You can be referred to books (classic and new alike) based on reviews, keyword searches, tags, and other links of info available to the user. It only takes a library to make serious effort in improving the interface customers see to their local collection, and in some cases making changes to records as necessary. The invasion of slat-wall (what BlockBuster and other vendors use to utilize wall space) into more libraries also offers more possibility of classic book displays of ranging subjects catching the eyes and imaginations of people wandering about.

Let us hope that books are never truly torn down by society Kommisar. If you find the right way to show a child what a book can bring, they will receive it. The younger they start the earlier it is obviously. The Robin Hood Foundation and other group's efforts to revitalize libraries, particularly elementary schools shows the effect effort can have on student's reading. Some of the videos of schools that have received funds for remodeling will nearly bring a tear to your eye. As I have told coworkers, in elementary my lifeline besides books at home of my mom's was the school library. No money had we for much. Reading Rainbow and a very strange librarian who used to dance for us. It was something like a Cossack dance but I was so young it wouldn't have mattered what it was.

Oh my god! Getting kids to READ?! Oh, the humanity! Won't someone think of the children!


...

The real question is how many 'average' kids these days who've grown up watching the crap that passes for TV these days actually have an attention span capable of reading a good book?

"But dad, Fox News said that reading books supports terrorism!"

@Archgabe:

I hated Catcher in the Rye -- far too much adolescent male angst for my tastes. Fahrenheit 451 was excellent, however. I don't remember much about it, but I do remember enjoying it.

However, even though I strongly dislike some of the classics, I would never support their removal from a library. I love books, and I believe that even the worst ones are worth reading if they have literary or historical significance. That's why (and yes, I know I keep bringing it up) I'm currently reading an English translation of Mein Kampf. It's a terrible book, but history has a nasty habit of repeating itself if we don't make an effort to learn from our mistakes. Most old books, even works of fiction, tell us something about the world as it was when the book was written, and I feel that that is invaluable knowledge.

"They also talked about removing books, labeled by adults as classics, that had sat on the shelves for years without being read."

If they touch any of the good ones I will be pissed. How can anyone not want to read Farenhight 451 or Catcher in the Rye!

Why do I get the image of heavy tomes being thrown at them till they are dead. Then there is the smashed guitar controller lying on top of a body, bathed in light looking all Iconic as if to say justice shall be served.....

Where am i?

One thing that I never understand about initiatives like this is why they invariably assume that kids are predisposed to hate books. I've always loved reading, even from a young age, and I suspect that this is largely because my parents and teachers never forced books on me expecting me to hate them. They certainly never organized "book ambushes" -- they just set a good example, supplied me with good books, and let me read.

Problem is, take great books like 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. That is really a very good book, but it loses potency these days because the issues over slavery and racism are moving further and further away from the now. A Modern day equivalent would be something dealing with a wrongly accused Muslim under Terrorism charges or the like, which would be an extremely charged subject.

The thing about ALL kinds of Media is that they are only general interest for a short period of time. 'To Kill a Mockingbird' has a very important message but as something 'Just to read', it really doesn't have as much context as it used to.

"I think a better way to get teens into reading is to give them GOOD books to read for school. Every book that I have been forced to read in school has been boring! Interesting books might turn that around."

An excellent point here, if gives have something the actually enjoy to read then they'll read, just look at the sucsess of hary potter,regardless of what people might think of the series at least it's got kids picking up books in thie rmillions.

@J-Guy

The problem with assigning even good books for school is they then want you to analyze them to death to prove you've read them.

"As reported by the Fort Dodge Messenger, librarians in Humboldt, Iowa are hoping the lure of video games will bring teens through the front door. Meanwhile, teen volunteers will be waiting to talk up books with unsuspecting gamers. It’s all part of a program to encourage students to read."

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Your tax dollars at work.
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"14-year-old Sam Lenz, a freshman at Humboldt High, is a member of the library’s Teen Advisory Board:
While they’re sitting here fidgeting and waiting, we pounce on them and say, ‘Read this.’"

----
HOLY $@#$, *fires rifle at the ninja.*
----

"Sarah Wright, a senior, added:
They’re usually very receptive because you’re another cool teenager."

----
That's a common misconception, teenagers aren't cool.
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"Maybe if [other kids] like it, it’s way cooler than if the librarian [likes it]."

----
That statement indicates that all librarians are slightly 'cool', I disagree.
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"The students… displayed particular fondness for books that delved into serious — and sometimes taboo — topics, such as affairs with teachers, suicide and self-mutilation."

----
"fond·ness, noun:
1. the state or quality of being fond.
2. tenderness or affection."

"The students… displayed particular fondness for books that delved into... affairs with teachers"

"2. tenderness or affection."

Ew.
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"They also talked about removing books, labeled by adults as classics, that had sat on the shelves for years without being read."

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I have an idea, lets start burning books we don't like! *Starts ranting in broken Dutch.*
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If the above post has offended anyone in any way, or is believed to take information out of context, I hate you. ;)

Hilarious post BloodEagle. :)

I don't believe the tactics used are wholly as simple as pouncing the line of Guitar Hero players. The article does not mention the librarians' efforts during the events, nor does it talk about efforts that go into advertising the events or signage used during. The youth may well be aware of what to expect if they attend. Working in a library I can say there has to be more to it.

What I did see from the article was that the pouncing acts seemed to be orchestrated mostly by a student group of volunteers. They are the ones who thought that they were seen as cooler than librarians, wanted classic pulled in favor of newer titles, and enjoyed the more twisted stories to read. At least one librarian has contact with them and supervises them at the very least, and it would have been nice to get more reporting on this story from the author at The Messenger.

Walking into a library you can be expected to at least be receptive to the idea of either perusing books/media items, doing research, using the PCs, or enjoying some scheduled event using library space. I imagine at least a few of the kids who were "pounced" returned for more than a single Guitar Hero event. I am not a librarian but I help students (college), faculty/staff, and community borrowers when they need help. Pouncing on youth with books is something teens are more likely to cook up and engage in than any librarians I've ever known at the random libraries I attended in the past (before working for one). The staff/faculty take of the event would probably be even more of an interesting read since they would be writing about not only the Guitar Hero players but also the book-rabid teens. This sounds more like a summer camp experiment with junior counselors running around on a power trip than a heavily-invested-in effort by the library director to boost circulation numbers.

You guys are nuts. Heart of Darkness is awesome!

@ J-Guy

True dat. I, for one, read far more before summer reading than I do now. I use to finish about two 500 page books a week, now I can't find any books that I'm willing to take a risk on. Part of that problem was Summer reading. Most boring and terrible books in history

@ Dorkmaster Flek & That Guy

I'll see your "Heart of Darkness" and Jane Austin, and raise you "Old Man and the Sea". Sure it was only a hundred pages, but it took me a week to finish.

Tack Jhompson must be thrilled to see gamers putting down the controller and checking out books instead. Especially when they're about suicide and self-mutilation. It's a win-win situation!

I think I would tend to pick books based on what I want to happen to the reader. If I wanted them to turn out gay, I'd recommend Proust. If I want them to hate women, Bukowski all the way. If I want them to start an organized crime syndicate there's always Palahniuk. If I want them to gouge their eyes out with a fork, then there are the classic works of Thompson*.




*Jack Thompson, ATTORNEY

I thought gamers didn't read. [sarcasm]

But yeah, sneak tactics won't work, itneresting reading material might.

I think a better way to get teens into reading is to give them GOOD books to read for school. Every book that I have been forced to read in school has been boring! Interesting books might turn that around.

Hopefully the deshelved books don't include science fiction classics like Ender's Game and Starship Troopers. :/

Regardless of whether or not this works, it's a bit sad that we have to resort to semi-underhanded tactics to get teens to read.

If I were on the book ambush, which I am one year past being eligible, I would give out Terry Pratchett...

"The students… displayed particular fondness for books that delved into serious — and sometimes taboo — topics, such as affairs with teachers, suicide and self-mutilation."

Is it just me or does it sound like that towns emo population has just found a new hang out spot.

Well I must admit I love a good book as much as I love a good video games and of course kids should be encouraged to read but I'm not so sure about sneaky tactics like this, it'll just push kids awa from reading as opposed to encourage it.

I sure hope they are not calling for the good classics to be deshelved. Some of my favorite books are by H. G. Wells. I also love Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, and King Solomons Mines.

But I do see the point to have other teens suggesting books for other teens. It does help to have someone who you respect or admire doing it rather than some authority figure. Nothing against librarians, but some kids just don't think you are hip enough to no what they want. This is probably spurred on by teachers freaking out when a student has a CS map designed to look like the school.

@Dorkmaster
I see your "Heart of Darkness" and raise you anything by Jane Austen

Book ambush...I gotta get me one of those.

Hopefully "Heart of Darkness" is on that list. Gods, that had to be the most boring book I've ever read. Damn you high school English!

I have to say, that I could not agree with you in 100% regarding Librarians Prepare Book Ambush for Guitar Hero Players, but it's just my opinion, which could be wrong :)
 
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