Gaming & Libraries UpdateThe joke’s on me, and I admit it. I wasn’t displeased (despite my crusty remarks earlier) to hear from a lot of people who have done research into gaming in libraries, and it appears that gaming does do good things to attract teens into the building – and that they will use and check out library materials. In fact, there’s a new ALA TechSource report by Jenny Levine called “Gaming and Libraries Update.”

I have to admit I am amused by the quote they use from Levine, though.

“In an uncharacteristically (for our profession) viral and rapid way, videogame services in libraries broke through the niche, cult-like status that had relegated them to something only geeky nerds did at home in the basement,” she says.

Huh? I know this is a promotional quote, and I know Levine knows the real score, but the thing we should actually be asking is, “Why the heck did libraries wait more than ten years before promoting video games in the library?” I’ve watched kids and teens playing games on library public-access Web terminals since the very first day there were public-access terminals. Kids seemed to know what sites had games, and zipped right to them.

We all know that libraries are really slow to adapt to new technologies. Often it’s a good thing to be a little slow on the uptake – if public libraries had grabbed on to 8-track tapes or CD-ROMs when they first appeared, we’d have huge collections of stuff in those formats we’d probably still be slowly discarding. But it is pretty funny to see ALA trumpeting how groundbreaking it is having gaming in the libraries – ten years late.