Columbus Library Gaming Programs in News

Via ALA Direct:

Libraries’ Video Games are Teen Magnet

“Gaming is storytelling for teenagers,” said Julie Scordato, a teen-services specialist for Columbus’ libraries. “You get to mingle, play and talk, and you get to really know them. Then when you suggest a book, they listen.”

The American Library Association considers Columbus’ system one of the top innovators in electronic amusement and has invited Scordato to join a panel to develop guidelines on how best to use video games in libraries.

The association also plans to study how video games affect literacy and problem-solving skills, using a $1 million grant from the Verizon Foundation.

Only 6 percent of U.S. libraries had programs that used game consoles from Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft as of April 2007, according to a study by the Library Game Lab of Syracuse University. However, industry experts suspect the number has grown.

Some parents remain skeptical of libraries’ providing video games that don’t focus on math or reading.

“Reading and entertainment seem to be at odds with each other,” said Kevin King, a father of three children in Upper Arlington. “We struggle with the kids wanting more and more game time at home. If they’re at the library, that’s another distraction.”