March 19, 2008

Library Gaming

Now that I'm on my way to becoming a school librarian, you'll notice I've added a bunch of librariany links. One of my favorites is by children's public librarian The Monkey Speaks. Today he had this post about kids using libraries as video arcades. It brought a smile to my face and I posted this commet:

"When I was in middle school in the early 80s, a group of friends and I were the first to discover that the lone Apple II had some games loaded onto it and you could go to the desk and ask a librarian for some (gasp) large, clunky joysticks and Play Games in the Library. You had to wear these huge headphones though. We loved it. It made it cooler to go to the library. And while we waited our turn we looked at newspapers, magazines and even (gasp) books.

I'm being silly here because most of us were nerds who went to the library anyway. I'm a teacher who has just signed up to take the classes needed to become a school librarian and I can't think of much nerdier than that. But yes, we played video games in the library and we turned out all right.

It does bother me sometimes when I go into my local branch and all the computers are full and no one is browsing the stacks. My daughter even goes to the kids computer first and I sometimes wish there wasn't a kids computer. But then she looks at books with me and we check out a bunch and she loves them, so I think it'll be ok."

What do you think? Are games and computers "bait" to bring more people into the library or is it another sign of the dumbing down of our culture?