Friday, January 9, 2009

Video Games at the Library

Libraries have taken the leap into the gaming world in our local area. Local libraries like, Manchester, Goffstown, and Nashua to name a few now offer PlayStation 2 and Wii games. As of now we don't offer materials for a specific console, but we have dabbled in video games here at MPL recently. We have had games for PCs in our collection for a long time. However, we don't have many new games for PCs because the DRM (Digital Rights Management) has become more restrictive and most games for PCs have to be tied to a specific machine these days. I have also hosted many programs for teens here that have either had video games as the main draw of the program or at least as a part of the background noise in the meeting room. Additionally the library's Friends recently raffled off a Wii.

I have probably been to about a half dozen programs at various conferences during the last couple of years that have talked up video games as the new hot item. There was a time when it would have been weird to see library users borrowing DVDs. Nowadays many of the video games that I play are cinematic experiences in and of themselves, and are high in production value and have bigger budgets than some Hollywood movies. Video games aren't a fringe activity that only teens get to do. A recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that more than half of the nation's adults play video games of some sort (click here to view .pdf of report). A growing number of adults are interested in this innovative and interactive media for themselves and their families, and an interested teen audience is already connected (I would have said plugged-in, but that is not really the right term to describe teens in the world of wireless communications!). I would bet that the libraries that circulate games for their library users don't regret it.

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