Edinburgh City libraries recently launched the Libraries4U project which aims to encourage more young people to use their libraries. As part of the project, three Edinburgh libraries have been refurbished to include new teenage zones. The libraries at Craigmillar, Kirkliston and Moredun also offer access to popular gaming consoles and host games clubs and competitions for young people.
The use of games consoles has become widespread in the US where, according to the LA Times, a study by Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies found that a quarter of US libraries held video game events in 2007. As part of the US National Library Week 2008, Friday 18 April was declared National Gaming @ your library Day.
Many American librarians – and the American Library Association (ALA) – support the use of video games in libraries, claiming that it makes libraries seem more relevant to young people and promotes the use of other resources ( i.e. books). This is supported by another Syracuse University study which, as quoted in the LA Times, found that three quarters of library gamers returned for other services.
Are video games just another new format that public libraries should stock and promote, like CDs and DVDs in the past? Let us know your views or experience of gaming in libraries.