Posted on August 19, 2007,

Libraries Fast Becoming a Source for Video Games

library.jpgLooking for a place to rent old video games for free? Apparently your local library may be your answer.

The Milford Daily News has an article today covering their local library, and how it’s following an up and coming trend to give kids the opportunity to check out video games. Not bad, considering getting a library card is free.

“We’re constantly thinking about how to get teenagers in to reach outside the traditional things we do,” Felicia Oti, the director of the Franklin library, said in the article.

Obviously, it’s a hard notion for some libraries to grasp, being that books and traditional literature have been the central focus. But video game consultant Beth Gallaway thinks that all the necessary elements to place video games alongside literature are there.

“[Critics] aren’t recognizing that video games themselves are literary,” Gallaway said in the article. “I think in general we need to stop being format snobs.”

Gallaway said critical thinking, information finding, evaluation and organization of information, as well as utilization of that information are all part of video games. Games even follow the tradition structure of literary novels, with a story arc of characters with conflicts and plot resolution.

One might think of this as another example of video games being shoved in the direction of art.

Via Milford Daily News

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10 Comments on Libraries Fast Becoming a Source for Video Games


On August 20, 2007 at 5:58 am

My local library (in north London) has been renting video games for over 5 years although they charge a small fee for it.


On August 20, 2007 at 8:24 am

My local library has had VHS and DVDs for rental (A dollar per 3 days) for as long as I can remember. It’d be nice if they integrated videogames into their catalog, but I have to wonder, where do they get them? :P Donations? The public library system going out and buying games to stock their shelves sounds…. unlikely to me.


On August 20, 2007 at 11:18 am

Forget Gamestop / EB Games, I’m going to head to the library on a game’s launch date and demand they carry it!

Seriously though, this would be an awesome thing if implemented correctly. I doubt libraries will be able to carry the latest and greatest video games, but there have been times where I want to try an old game, but I either can’t find it or I’m just too lazy to pony up the dough for it. Perfect example, I’ve never played either of the Fallout games. Now that Fallout 3 is being worked on, I’d like to play the older ones to see what I’ve been missing.


On August 20, 2007 at 2:55 pm

I used to work for a Book Wholesales Company that sold millions of books to libraries across the country along with CDs and DVDs. There are MANY libraries that ‘rent out’ PSP movies, and many had requested video games as well, so we started ordering games. Great way to get a kid into the library, and it is nice to see our local government using our tax money on something cool for the public instead of lining their own pockets.


On August 20, 2007 at 3:02 pm

Our local library carries video games and has for years. I rented many a SNES game from them, and they were free along with the DVDs and CDs (or cassettes and albums at the time…)

Jetsetlemming – Your taxes pay for what the library purchases, they do not go into Wal-mart and peruse the shelves. They have catalogs they look through, and online Book sellers who specialize in exactly this sort of thing. This is where they get the majority of their inventory. Here is one such place: Could you imagine a stuffy librarian walking into Game Stop? That would be fun to see.


On August 20, 2007 at 3:15 pm

Somehow the concept of libraries ordering from wholesale retailers, the same way they’d get their books, slipped my mind. :P Blame it on late night posting. \
Though really, most of my local library’s new intake is a result of donations. I get the feeling their budget is pretty low. On some of their new books they actually charge $1 rental fees now.


On August 20, 2007 at 3:19 pm

That defeats what the library stands for! Rental fees for books???? I am afraid to ask really, but what does your city government do with your taxes? That is why most libraries charge 5.00 for a card every few years. What a strange thing.


On August 20, 2007 at 3:57 pm

The entire local government around here is falling apart, really. Take the school district for example: $100,000 of the district budget went missing last year, and they just raised property taxes in response without actually investigating the money, or anyone getting punished, fired, or blamed. A cart full of about 30 Mac laptops was stolen out of the highschool last fall because someone forgot to lock the doors to the library after school. A little girl was kidnapped by an estranged family member angry at her father from the elementary school, taken out of class with the teacher’s blessing. The last school board elections were run with a campaign based entirely on the political parties of the candidates. When you know the whole image, the local library being underfunded and needing to charge for checking out new books makes a bit of sense.
The possibility of me renting any videogames around here from anyone but Blockbusters would seem to be a pipe dream. :P

Jenny Levine

On August 21, 2007 at 12:37 pm

Heh, these stereotypes of librarians are almost as bad as the ones about gamers! :wink:

Clearly we have some differences across the pond, but we just put on a whole conference about gaming and libraries. Beth Gallaway and others have helped make video games more accessible (and acceptable) in libraries in the U.S. In fact, there’s a great new book by Eli Neiburger that details how to hold gaming tournaments in your library.

It’s a whole movement! :smile:

Don Wood

On August 22, 2007 at 5:12 pm

ALA TechSource, in collaboration with the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), held the first annual Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium, July 22-24, 2007, in Chicago. Top gamers, librarians, and others discussed how gaming impacts our nation’s libraries.

Participating in the symposium were Judith Krug, Office for Intellectual Freedom Director, and Katherine Fallow, a partner in Jenner & Block. The presentation, What IF: Gaming, Intellectual Freedom and the Law is available as an MP3 audio file.