Carvers Bay (SC) Branch Library: Gaming the Way to Literacy

Fascinating article at WJ about Carvers Bay library and their gaming program — take a look for inspiration!

Located next to the middle and high schools, the library is physically convenient for the Carvers Bay teens, but director Dwight McInvaill knows that it takes more than proximity to get the kids through the doors. Gaming is the key. The library has extended its hours until 7 PM most nights to accommodate the students’ schedules. However, McInvaill intends for the new library to have an impact on the low literacy and high dropout rates, so he’s applying a few rules to the video game lure, linking reading with gaming. In the spirit of the game, kids can aspire to different levels of accomplishment.

The gaming consoles are filled to capacity. The library extended its weekday hours until 8 PM in order to accommodate the teens’ school schedules. Photo by staff member Beverly Smith.
Level one: Any individual can use the games for two hours/week (“Just enough to whet the appetite” says McInvaill.)

Level two: Extra gaming time is earned by joining the Gaming Club.

Joining requires:
a current library card
good standing (no serious misbehavior)
a commitment to checking out four items/month, two of which must be books
Level three: Once in the Club, points are accumulated to be eligible for additional gaming time, group gaming parties, special prizes (headphones, memory units, gift certificates), or use of the conference room with the 46″ TV.

Points are earned by doing at least one of the following:
writing book reports
attending an after-school program
participating in a youth service organization
embracing other positive, self-improvement activities