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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Did Microsoft pay too much ($2.5 billion) for Minecraft developer Mojang?:

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ConsterSleaker: if you think there's only been "a handful of" incidents, you have your head stuck *somewhere* - I'm assuming it's sand.09/20/2014 - 5:38am
prh99Most of it's agitprop clickbait anyway.09/20/2014 - 5:27am
prh99A good reason to stop reading reguardless of view pointhttp://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/apr/12/news-is-bad-rolf-dobelli.09/20/2014 - 5:22am
Andrew EisenWell this is unique! A musical critique of the Factual Feminist's "Are Video Games Sexist?" video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K4s7cV4Us409/20/2014 - 2:41am
Andrew EisenSome locked threads. Some let them be. So, no, I'm not seeing a problem here. No corruption. No collusion. No ethical problem with privately discussing ethics.09/20/2014 - 12:48am
Andrew EisenAnd still, in the end, Tito made up his own mind on how to handle his site. All 150 or so members went off to handle their own sites in their own ways. Some talked about it. Some didn't. Some changed disclosure policies. Some didn't.09/20/2014 - 12:40am
Andrew EisenThere were two comments other than Kochera and Tito's. One pointed out the Escapist Code of Conduct, another comment was in support of Tito.09/20/2014 - 12:40am
Andrew EisenKochera privately expressed his disagreement on how Tito decided to do something. No, I don't consider that crossing a line nor do I consider the exchange an example of the group pressuring him.09/20/2014 - 12:36am
Kronotechnical reasons. Anyways, I need to get to sleep as well.09/20/2014 - 12:29am
KronoAnd he wasn't the only one pushing Tito to censor the thread. If Tito had bowed to peer pressure, we likely wouldn't have gotten this http://goo.gl/vKiYtR which grew out of that thread. Said thread also lasted until a new one needed to be made for09/20/2014 - 12:28am
Krono@Andrew So it's an example of Kuchera crossing the line from reporter to advocate. And an example of the group pressuring for censorship.09/20/2014 - 12:21am
E. Zachary KnightAnyway, I am off to bed. I will probably wake up to all of this being knocked off the shout box.09/20/2014 - 12:20am
E. Zachary KnightKrono, that is the type of reading too much into things that bugs me. Ben did no such thing. Greg had the last word in that part of the exchange. The rest was about how to approach the story and Quinn.09/20/2014 - 12:19am
Andrew EisenSo?09/20/2014 - 12:13am
KronoExcept that the forum thread wasn't harassment, and Kuchera continued to push for the thread's removal after Tito made it clear he didn't consider it harassment.09/20/2014 - 12:12am
Andrew EisenPersonally, I see nothing wrong with someone offering their opinion or the other person making up their own mind on how to run their site.09/20/2014 - 12:06am
E. Zachary KnightKrono, I read nothing of the sort in that email chain. I read Ben giving advice on what to do when a forum thread is used to harass someone and spread falshoods about them and others.09/20/2014 - 12:05am
KronoThat's exactly what Ben Kuchera was doing to Greg Tito.09/19/2014 - 11:58pm
Krono@EZK So you see nothing wrong with one journalist pressuring a journalist from a different organization to not only not run a story, but to censor a civil discussion already taking place?09/19/2014 - 11:56pm
E. Zachary KnightI write for a number of blogs and talk to people who write similar blogs all the time for tips and advice. I see nothing wrong with that.09/19/2014 - 11:50pm
 

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