Dude! The suburban library near I94 totally held a teen gaming event and it was a-w-e-s-o-m-e! We had an open gaming event with Guitar Hero III(GH3); seventeen teens participated between the ages of 13-18. The teens were at various levels between easy and expert(GH3 has four levels: easy, medium, hard, and expert). Before tonight I had never witnessed anyone play the expert level, pretty amazing. People met new friends, caught up with old friends, cheered each other on and even a few high fives where thrown around. Regardless of one’s skill level, everyone felt welcome.
Get this, one of the teens organizes a Guitar Hero club, how cool is that. The group gets together to compete against other. Seems pretty perfect.
I really believe that gaming belongs in libraries. Some of the reasons I believe this are:
gaming creates community and dialogue
gaming encourages literacy
gaming enhances team building skills
gaming promotes information seeking skills
gaming attracts patrons
gaming creates positive relationships between patrons and librarians/libraries
gaming facilitates important skill sets
gaming is relevant to patrons
Just in case you don’t agree with me, check out The Shifted Librarian. Jenny Levine is way better at articulating how great gaming in libraries is. Gaming is not just about Guitar Hero or Dance Dance Revolution. Believe it or not, there are actually vocabulary building and logic games such as My Word Coach and Big Brain Academy. However, one could argue that some literacy is taking place with Guitar Hero as well. In between songs, there are little music history tidbits, and hello, since when does a 14 year old love Slow Rider or Barracuda? Literacy all up in your face! Why not integrate literacy into something that is relevant to young users. Why not be inviting?
I am super excited to be involved in this and I hope it continues. I think there is a need for teen programing and gaming seems to have been a success with the demographic.