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“ Libraries are about stories and information and access to stories and information regardless of format. Videogames must be regarded as a new, interactive, multimedia, three dimensional digital format for conveying stories and information.”
Violent crime, particularly among the young, has decreased dramatically since the early 1990s. During the same period of time, video games have steadily increased in popularity and use, exactly the opposite of what one would expect if there were a casual link.
…it was a great opportunity for me to interact with teens who would not normally open up to me. I set up a book display featuring books from the Teen Tech Week booklist and after I promoted them, nearly all of them were checked out.
After Wednesday’s program, I was talking to Katelyn, the girl to beat at DDR yesterday. We were talking about some books she had in her hand and turns out she was interested in WWII because her grandfather was in it. This lead to talk about the Diary of Anne Frank, which she had never heard of, so we then found it and she checked it out. Hopefully as this evolves, we will find even more “book connections” with regular participants. Our Franklinton Branch
The Linden Branch, one of our small, urban branches has welcomed 369 teens to their gaming programs from August to December 31, 2007. Linden’s weekly teen book discussion group launched in early December, all 5 repeat members of the group are regular gaming participants. The first book they are reading? The Afterlife by Gary Soto.
Jordan had not been a regular at the library. During the gaming program, I found out that he actually plays guitar for real and we have had a continual discussion about all things guitar since then. I've even signed him up for a library card a couple of weeks ago and now I see him come in every once in a while to check out CD's or DVD's. I've steered him over to the guitar books and while he acts nonchalant about it, I have noticed him over there looking through them on his own.
It is no secret that teens take their own course sometimes and it's difficult to ascertain if some of what we do actually gets through to them. However, with this teen in particular, it seems that he has become a "casual customer" and will discover the library as it occurs to him - and that's still a gratifying thing to see.
We have a lot of Somali immigrants in our area. I've found that gaming gives them an opportunity to interact with peers outside their regular social groups. It also gives them the opportunity to show off their skills and earn respect in front of peers in a safe environment and in a non-confrontational way. A way that allows them to try again if they lose, and allows them to improve at the game and gain social standing. Games really do transcend the language barrier.
Gordon Gavin, Teen Services, Northern Lights Branch