November 15th is National Gaming Day at your local library (apparently); they're billing it as " the largest, simultaneous national video game tournament ever held! Kids will be able to compete against players at other libraries and see their scores in real-time online while playing at their local library." What's pretty cute is the justification for holding such an event — the FAQ is a thing of beauty, including questions like "aren't video games just a passing fad?":
1. Aren't libraries about books and reading?
In the 21st century, libraries are about much more than books! In fact, libraries work very hard to provide patrons of all ages with a rich and current menu of CDs and DVDs, as well as electronic and online resources. Video game resources and programs at the library actually complement these existing services. Featuring this new gaming media helps the library expand its reach while meeting community expectations.
2. Aren't video games just a passing fad?
Actually, video games have been popular for more than 30 years. In fact, three generations have grown up with video games - Generation Xers, Generation Y, and Millennials. It's not only the digital natives who are playing video games. The average age of today's gamer is 35-years old, and Baby Boomers and Seniors are playing them more than ever before! Libraries across the country are offering family gaming nights that bring the generations together for a gaming experience they can't share anywhere else.
3. Why should kids play video games at the library?
Lots of kids play video games at home - alone, with siblings, or with friends. The library is a safe and non-commercialised space. At the library, kids socialise with their friends and play video games while surrounded by books, librarians, and knowledge. Video gaming at the library encourages young patrons to interact with diverse peers, share their expertise with others (including adults), and develop new strategies for gaming and learning.
There's several more bits of promotional material, and while I think this move to get games into public libraries is of questionable efficacy in terms of getting them to read books, it's interesting watching gaming move into a really public space (and targeted at kids, no less) in a concerted manner.