She ends her post stating:
“I've gone so far as to submit a proposal to purchase a few consoles for the library.”
It's nice to see such enthusiasm, but I've recently started to turn against gaming in academic libraries. I think its fine for special events or if you want to disguise it as a “study break” session, but trying to brand your library as someplace cool because of Madden Tournaments or that you have a Wii or Playstation available for checkout is weak. You play to a niche, maybe a big niche, but ultimately I think it deteriorates the mission of the academic library.
I've spent some time this semester visiting GT dorms and frat houses and they all have commons spaces with screens and projectors available to them. The gimmick of using video games to lure students into the library is off base, at least for my population. Sure we could easily turn ourselves into an arcade, but we already have one of those on campus and it's only about 100 yards away from the library, so why should we duplicate that effort?
I think a stronger position for the academic library is to aspire to offer the premiere productivity and study space on campus. We should provide something that isn't offered elsewhere and that fills a stated need.
In the long run, a better generation of buzz is through programming and partnerships, gather than Xboxs. I was pleasantly surprised today when I clicked a random date on our events calendar and saw the wide variety of offerings:
Keep in mind, we're undersized, and personally I think under funded, yet Tech is an entrepreneurial and scrappy library. (That's a compliment!) I like that we push a varied agenda of experiences, and I feel that academic libraries should attempt to inspire students, not just entertain them.
And sure, someday we'll probably have video games available for checkout. We do have a leading game critic on our faculty, but conversations with my users reveal that they'd prefer nicer quiet study spaces and more computers and printers, rather than video game zones. It's a matter of priorities. For $1,000 we could buy a console and a load of games, but I think that would be “off code” with out intention. I also think that there are better opportunities for relaxation and leisure than this .
So Stacey, good luck with your effort. I'll be curious to follow your progress, but be mindful of the cause and effect of gaming in the library. I'd much rather have my students complain about a noisy Calculus 2 review group rather than a bunch of kids pretending to be guitar heroes. When gaming becomes a daily occurrence, it quickly loses it's charm.