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

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.

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  1. CyberSkull says:


    What? So librarians can’t familiarize themselves with the products and services they offer? What the hell is wrong with those idiots complaining?

    But of course the TV news made a big deal out of it. Video games are after all, drastically cutting into their viewership. And they just can’t have the library do anything other than promote those "boring" books.

  2. PushDustIn says:

    That would be a valid reason to play through the 8 songs if:

    1. The did not check the ESRB on the back. The rating will including things like ‘offensive lyrics’, etc.

    2. They didn’t play through the same song multiple times. (I know they at least played this one song twice)

    3. They didn’t know how to look up the lyrics.

    4. They only played 8, which is a rough sample of what the game actually has.

  3. PTimmons says:

    Believe it or not, there is a valid reason for people to play through multiple songs. The librarians need to know the actual content (lyrics/graphics) of each individual song to make sure it is appropriate for all ages.  If someone is not familiar with rockband, they might think a song might have inappropriate language which would cause controversy if they showed it to children.


  4. PushDustIn says:

    First off, the music in the video was god awful. They had the same song loop for the whole nine minutes and I’m afraid I’ll never be able to get it out of my head. I was surprised that they are tech savvy enough to post a video on youtube (although realistically it isn’t that hard) but couldn’t they add another song or something? I felt like I was watching a bad British comedy.

    I think people are upset not because they are ‘testing’ a video game but they actually playing it. They played Rock Band 8 songs (they failed the 6th one). That roughly equates to 24+ minutes of ‘testing’ equipment which only needed to be tested twice. I can’t figure out why they restarted the system after the seventh song, but sure enough they did and played through another song. The first two were acceptable, but after that did they really need to test it? For Dance Dance Revolution Supernova they only played 2 songs and stopped. Obviously they had more of an interest in Rock Band and did play the game, on the state’s dime.

    But honestly, this probably isn’t the best example of these people, for lack of better words, jerking off. I’m sure they have wasted time just talking to random friends or even read a book (like what people at my library do). I just hope there was someone at the front desk at all time; does anyone know how big this library is?

    The Action 3 News had this to say:

    Strumming guitar strings on taxpayer’s time isn’t all Nebraska Library Commission workers are accused of doing. The audit claims the commission shelled out cash for virtual land in Second Life, an on-line gaming world. It also claims workers paid for food and mileage reimbursement at a workshop.  They did it all with state money.

    I’m not sure why they would want to buy virtual land in Second Life (I still can’t understand why people are obsessed about this game). The workshop reimbursement sounds like it could not be that bad; they never say what the actual workshop was about. Who knows: it could be about books. Also they identify Rock Band as Guitar Hero in the article which I thought was funny.

    I’m all for libraries having video games, I think its a smart addition and can help kids come to the library.  I think mors_d pointed out correctly why this is such a big deal. Its a slow news day and its proof that libraries are evolving. I think we need to rename libraries to ‘Cultural Centers’. I loved it when my library started movie rentals although I could never find a good movie…

  5. nightwng2000 says:

    What an incompetant boob of a journalist.  OOOooooo… She provides an image to someone not in the know, gets a negative reaction without telling the WHOLE Truth, and then reports it.

    Incompetant journalists like her are everywhere.  We has an "award winning" journalist here in Wilmington, NC claim that an action figure put out by the WWE was advocating violence against women.  How?  Because the action figure included an accessory of "a head that looked like a woman’s head".  She found it for sale at Wal-Mart, complained using those beliefs, and had it pulled.  Too bad she proved herself a FAKE journalist.  Anyone with any intelligence knew to look on the WWE website and look up the character "Al Snow" and see just what the head REALLY was.

    Incompetant journalists like these should be terminated and denied the opportunity to EVER work in legitimate news ever again.  Not to mention have any awards revoked.


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  6. Coach says:

    This happens all the time.  People get outraged over something without stopping to think.  I remember several years ago over-hearing a few people point out how moronic it was to have brail buttons on drive thru ATM’s and cursing the stupidity of it.  I pointed out it was probably more cost effective to just manufacture all buttons for ATMs with brail than have a separate process for non-brail buttons.  Some people just jump past the "think it through" phase and go with their assumptions.  People think they are smart.  Many are often mistaken.  You’d expect the news station to catch on to these situations before they make collective asses of themselves.  Then again, news stopped being news years ago.  Infotainment is a more appropriate term.  Here’s hoping public librarys don’t end up irrelevent and close on account of short-sighted, knee-jerk reactions like this one.  

    Oh, and God forbid anyone has a few moments of levity at work, whether it is for the betterment of the library or not.  I wonder…if there was a YouTube video of them all sitting around a table reading while at work, would this have been the same waste of tax dollars?

  7. Baruch_S says:

    So they’re having a game workshop/fun day thing and they have to test the equipment. What’s the big deal? Libraries do plenty of non-book things like kids’ craft time and computer classes, why shouldn’t they have a game event for teens? They’ll actually bring teens into the library, and they might get them to check out books if they have the "guitar for dummies" and "the history of rock"-type books in plain sight during the event.

    And they’re testing the equipment. Are they supposed to just open the day of with no clue of how to set it up or whether it will even work and then have a successful event? Sure testing it may have been fun, but it was also necessary for the event. You can’t expect them to do work-related stuff for free even if it is fun.

    These people need to understand that libraries are changing. Most kids/teens come into the library to play Runescape on the computers and to get DVDs, not to check out books. The books should still be the focus of the library, but they also need to branch out if they’re going to attract different people. Once you get people in the door, you may have a chance of getting them to pick up a book. You have no chance of that if you can’t even get them inside the library.

  8. nighstalker160 says:

    Oh my god, those damned videotronic games are not infiltrating the LIBRARY!?

    I’d much rather my kids only see perverts looking at porn on the computers at the library. Vidja games are SOOO much worse!

  9. Mark Methenitis says:

    Why is this even news?  Libraries haven’t exactly been hiding the fact that they are integrating game collections and game events.  Heck, they have a whole conference about it.  As a speaker/attendee last year, they have some pretty surprising data suggesting just how helpful gaming can be in learning and what a great addition games make to library collections.  This seems like just more media sensationalism, which is getting a tad tiresome.


    –Mark Methenitis, Law of the Game/Joystiq

  10. mors_d says:

    I think we’re missing the fundamental core of this "slow news day" fueled outrage.
    1) Video Games are only for children.
    2) These librarians are not children.
    3) There is no way that can be quiet.
    4) Libraries are supposed to be places of learning, not fun.

    By supplying recorded proof that they are playing and enjoying video games they denegrate their position of authority and themselves. It’s also a well-known fact that that any adult will know how to set up anything a child can and that video games will not require review as all children’s entertainment is devoid of swearing, violence and sex.

    Oh, and…
    5) I need to feel outraged by something because the younger generations scare me and this is pandering to them, not me. The world’s in the handbasket and headed to hell. I feel impotent, helpless and set against; that creates feelings of rage I have no where else to channel…

  11. Doublevine says:

    I live in Omaha and have seen this "newscast", which is one of the most biased in the state.  In a report on GTA IV, they presented old studies on violence and basicly spread fear throughout the city about the game.  Also, they actually got rid of a debate segment because it got the viewers "too angry".


    Plus, the anchorman is kind of a dick.

  12. Austin_Lewis says:

    I don’t even go to the library anymore.  If I need a book, I get it off of Amazon or eBay and have it shipped to wherever I am 3 days from then. 

  13. Austin_Lewis says:

    So…. Librarians figured out an intriguing way to get people back in the library (last time I went to a large library, there were like six people in it for books, and the rest were either homeless or looking at porn or games on computers), and they’re being harangued for it?  God, Action News 3 sounds like a bunch of jackasses looking to half-ass a report. 

    Too bad they didn’t look at where the stimulus money for their city is going.  That’s a lot more offensive than a library hosting a rock-band jam session.

  14. Verbinator says:

    It’s time to start witch-hunting after politicians and media members who play games on company/public time. Play solitaire or minesweeper at your desk. FIRED!!!


  15. Krono says:

    See that’s the thing, it wasn’t them goofing off during a slow period, it was them testing new equipment before packing it away for later use. It wasn’t something they weren’t supposed to be doing, it was something they were doing as part of their job.


  16. gaspar says:

    if they are going to be there anyway, and they dont have anythign else to do at the moment, who cares. Lots of people have down time at work, no sense in makeing them stare at a wall.

  17. Bennett Beeny says:

    Yeah, it’s a game – it’s for recreation.  So were novels 100 years ago.  Yet libraries are full of novels – are the critics suggesting that libraries should remove anything that’s merely for recreation?

    Some of us need to get beyond the outdated notion that games are worthless distractions.  The folks who are criticizing this are living in the reactionary past, just like the folks who decried TV, radio, the automobile and even the translation of the bible into English.

  18. Neeneko says:

    I am trying to imagine how outraged people would be if someone posted a video of librarians reading on government time.  oh the horror!


    Actually, I’ve seen plenty of poeple who WOULD be horrified, since reading is something libatards to to fill thier ungodly minds with filth and lies.

  19. Nocturne says:

    The 27 page response linked in the Youtube descritpion is quite interesting, fully explains why they did it and why it’s on youtube, including how hypocritical some of the complaints are. The intersting stuff is only 10 pages, then it’s all appendixes and the like.

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