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.

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MattsworknameWilson: how? Im still waiting for my upgrade notice07/29/2015 - 3:44am
Matthew WilsonI updated to a clean instill of windows 10.07/29/2015 - 2:36am
Mattsworknameargue that it's wrong, but then please admit it's wrong on ALL Fronts07/29/2015 - 2:06am
MattsworknameTechnoGeek: It's actually NOT, but it is a method used all across the specturm. See Rush limbaugh, MSNBC, Shawn hannity, etc etc, how many compagns have been brought up to try and shut them down by going after there advertisers. It's fine if you wanna07/29/2015 - 2:05am
Mattsworknamediscussed, while not what I liked and not the methods I wanted to see used, were , in a sense, the effort of thsoe game consuming masses to hold what they felt was supposed to be there press accountable for what many of them felt was Betrayal07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAs we say, the gamers are dead article set of a firestorm among the game consuming populace, who, ideally, were the intended audiance for sites like Kotaku, Polygon, Et all. As such, the turn about on them and the attacking of them, via the metods07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAndrew: Thats kind fo the issue at hand, Accountable is a matter of context. For a media group, it means accountable to its reader. to a goverment, to it's voters and tax payer, to a company, to it's share holders.07/29/2015 - 2:02am
Andrew EisenAnd again, you keep saying "accountable." What exactly does that mean? How is Gamasutra not accounting for the editorial it published?07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - I disagree with your 9:12 and 9:16 comment. There are myriad ways to address content you don't like. And they're far easier to execute in the online space.07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - Banning in the legal sense? Not that I'm aware but there have certainly been groups of gamers who have worked towards getting content they don't like removed.07/28/2015 - 11:45pm
DanJAlexander's editorial was and continues to be grossly misrepresented by her opponents. And if you don't like a site, you stop reading it - same as not watching a tv show. They get your first click, but not your second.07/28/2015 - 11:40pm
TechnogeekYes, because actively trying to convince advertisers to influence the editorial content of media is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, especially for a movement that's ostensibly about journalistic ethics.07/28/2015 - 11:02pm
Mattsworknameanother07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
Mattsworknameyou HAVE TO click on it. So they get the click revenue weather you like what it says or not. as such, the targeting of advertisers most likely seemed like a good course of action to those who wanted to hold those media groups accountable for one reason07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
MattsworknameBut, when you look at online media, it's completely different, with far more options, but far few ways to address issues that the consumers may have. In tv, you don't like what they show, you don't watch. But in order to see if you like something online07/28/2015 - 9:12pm
MattsworknameIn tv, and radio, ratings are how it works. your ratings determine how well you do and how much money you an charge.07/28/2015 - 9:02pm
Mattsworknameexpect to do so without someone wanting to hold you to task for it07/28/2015 - 9:00pm
MattsworknameMecha: I don't think anyone was asking for Editoral changes, what they wanted was to show those media groups that if they were gonna bash there own audiance, the audiance was not gonna take it sitting down. you can write what you want, but you can't07/28/2015 - 8:56pm
MattsworknameAndrew, Im asking as a practical question, Have gamers, as a group, ever asked for a game, or other item, to be banned. Im trying to see if theres any cases anyone else remembers cause I cant find or remember any.07/28/2015 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenAs mentioned, Gamasutra isn't a gaming site, it's a game industry site. I don't feel it's changed its focus at all. Also, I don't get the sense that the majority of the people who took issue with that one opinion piece were regular readers anyway.07/28/2015 - 8:43pm
 

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