Michelle Ralston, Consultant, learned ways to expand member participation
through gaming and toured the Gaming Pavilion. There is a very interesting
school for children from 3rd grade to high school to learn video gaming
programming and other creative works involving video games. The Youth
Digital Art Cyber School allows kids and teens to create music, graphics,
and multiple other video game related projects as well as video games.
It takes the interests of video games and allows teens and kids to be
creative and learn valuable skills. Libraries can learn more about this
In this session, it was also stressed that to engage teens you must allow
them to express themselves, provide a social atmosphere, engage them and
have the materials that they want. To find out what they want, a teen advisory
board can be very useful. Although Facebook, MySpace and poster can be
used to promote your teen programs, the best way is always word of mouth
from friends. One of the libraries started an anime club and from that
grew a cosplay club, a sewing club, anime prom, and many other programs.
Once you find what your teens are interested in and get them into the library,
they start planning the rest.
ALA Gaming Pavilion
Even ALA is up with
gaming this year! In the exhibits hall was a gaming pavilion where
conference goers could do more than just see what gaming is all about,
but actually take part in it and play some of the games. Some of
the video games that librarians had fun with were: Wii Fit (Wii),
Big Brain Academy (Wii), Brain Age 2 (DS), Professor Layton (DS),
Crosswords DS (DS) and the famous Guitar Hero series (Available on
Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2 and 3). Most of the video games that were
showcased were “learning” games,
games that keep your mind sharp, but are still fun to play. Wii Fit
is the first game to actually sell itself as a fitness program.
It not only includes stretching exercises and yoga, but also fun
balance games. Guitar hero has been around and can be a huge success
at a game night, along with DDR (dance dance revolution) games.
Gaming is the next big format that libraries should
embrace. Research has proven that patrons who come to the library to
participate in gaming events often return for other library activities
and services. Libraries can also do more than gaming tournaments; they
can actually have video game collections that patrons can check out.
The averages age of the gamer is around 30. Gaming is not just child’s
play. Adding gaming collections and having gaming tournaments can be
a valuable way to interest new librarian patrons of all ages.
The intention of the ALA Gaming Pavilion was to show librarians what games
are out there, and to also allow game publisher in on the action. The pavilion
included several electronic game publishers and platform companies, publishers
of board games and card games, gaming table and furniture suppliers, and
others. ALA is very supportive of gaming in libraries, and the ALA Gaming
Pavilion was one of their ways of showing that support.
Note: There were also several different board, tabletop, roll-playing
games that were showcased. Gaming is not always about video gaming, but
can include many different types of games.