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September 16, 2007


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Eric Jennings

I do think that by making the library a video game haven you're going to get noisy Madden tourney groups and that is definitely something that I wouldn't want to deal with. But, the opportunity for a student to study a video game - its art/graphics, the hardware needed to run the game, or the software used to program the game - could be used beneficially in an academic setting.

Public libraries have been struggling with the same problem for years: do they offer popular fiction, videos and DVDs (i.e., give the people what they want) or do they collect a wide range of materials including nonfiction and the not-so-popular fiction.

We (and I may be speaking out of turn here since I'm a relatively new librarian) have to decide on what we're collecting and why. I think that if you can tie it to the curriculum (see my argument for) then by all means collect it and offer it to students. However, if you're buying this stuff just for a fun diversion I'd rather use my money elsewhere to buy books or for a database. And if you're really lucky and have too much money to spend and not enough materials to spend it on, buy Xbox360s and Wiis.


I appreciate your insights on this, Brian. I agree that it's easy to cross the line and offer gaming only for the "cool" factor. It’s not a good idea to compete with a successful student center. In my proposal to the administration, I feel (I hope) I’ve justified why we should give this a try. I’m looking at investing in a few consoles (used) and basic controllers—students and staff will supply the games. This way we can keep the cost pretty low—we spent more on pizza for the Hubbub party.

Assuming we get it funded, we’d be using the hardware both at the Hub and at the Engineering Library. At the Hub we have an ideal space for gaming. We are located in the basement of the Young Library and are the designated noisy place in the building. In addition to encouraging group noise and activity, we allow students to use cell phones anywhere they are lucky enough to get a signal (that's another thing--quite the opposite of many libraries, we encouraged campus IT to actually *install* equipment to improve cell phone reception in the basement).

The most striking thing about our space is the six projectors that surround our help desk area. Each month we display a different art exhibit on the projectors—this month is work from students in a summer photography class in Italy. When I’ve set up games before we’ve used the projectors and—wow—okay, it is cool.

If we don’t end up buying equipment, I may consider letting staff bring in consoles and just keep my fingers crossed that nothing gets damaged. However we approach it, I do plan on offering games on occasion at the Hub.


We had a seperate building in the student center at CSU Sacramento with gaming consoles in it. I don't think library is the place for gaming consoles though.


We had a seperate building in the student center at CSU Sacramento with gaming consoles in it. I don't think library is the place for gaming consoles though.

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