Library Seeks $300K In Funding For Video Game Collection

With the goal of one day offering 150 titles for checkout across its 38 locations, Toronto's public library has taken steps toward building a video game collection - but figures it needs $US300,000 to make it happen.

Library administration says such a collection would foster literacy and problem-solving skills and reach younger patrons in ways the traditional library offerings do not. The Toronto Public Library (pictured) isn't the first to consider such a collection - other smaller libraries in the US have offered games for lending and reported upticks in young reader visits and use of the library.

Of course it starts the argument over what should be offered - whether it's violent games versus family-oriented fare. But there's another debate about this collection that needs to be held. Any library would be expected to lend the staples of great literature and nonfiction; it's not clear from the story whether a games collection would be held to the same standard. It sounds more like a free rental service.

Thinking big picture - as we're talking about introducing games to people who haven't played them - what are the culturally significant titles a library should consider offering? Is limiting this to the current and previous console generation too restricting? How could PC titles be accommodated, if at all?

Those are tough questions to answer; the Toronto Library admits "this is a plan, not a reality". But if they get to that point, what video games should it plan on stocking?

Coming to Toronto's Libraries: Video Games [Toronto Star via Game Politics]

Image via Torontoist


    This idea begs the question of whether the libraries will also be offering consoles for loan, particularly for the older consoles. It's all well and good to go and hire out Ocarina of Time (which I would say is hands down the best video game of all time...), but if you don't have a working N64 to play it on, it's worthless.

    I think that realistically it should operate the same way it does with books - by demand.

    My local library has been have having pc games for loan for years, although most of them aren't really that good (ie harry potter and shrek games).

    wow i would rather it didnt offer videogames. personally i think it would be better if kids read more isntead of playing videogames. its a healthier past time imo

      Have you got a plan to get them into the Library?

      One of my mates got word that he can borrow current TV series (ie Scrubs, Lost etc) from his local library. He has since realised he can also borrow books from there (Go figure huh!). So now he is a frequent borrower of books. The system worked.

        good on him. but you know what i mean right? better off if they read books and stuff. But you have point! thanks for making me realize that.

    Call me old school, but the last thing we need in a library is video games. Just sayin. Theres a place and time for everything. Gaming and Books just doesn't mix well with each other.

    coolest library ever ?

    My local library rents the Magic the Gathering novels and has numerous anime in it's DVD collection, including Sunabozu. I don't think you could convince people either of those peices were "culturally significant". I've always seen a library as providing access to a form of entertainment, in most cases books or movies/tv shows. Adding gaming consoles doesn't seem like a huge step, restricting the games also seems like a double standard. There are plenty of books, movies and tv shows with plenty of violence, including graphic images, so why would you think it makes sense to consider games different?

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