QUESTION: Libraries and Video games

question / pregunta: 


I'm studying for my MLS (only my 3rd class) and I need to write a paper on the pros and cons of libraries and video gaming. I thought there would be plenty on the topic but all I'm finding is video gaming is a positive and how to get your library involved. I can't find information on libraries/librarians against video gaming in libraries. Do you have any suggestions? Know of any articles? Suggestions on search terms (libraries/librarians/problems/controversy/issues/videogames/video games/electronic games (which video games are under) are appreciated also. I need about 6 articles on it.

Thank you


Answer posted by:
jim miller

Lexis Academic, University News, Chronicle of Higher Education, past 2 years gets 13 hits for the search: video games. These don't come right out and mention libraries specifically, but it is clear that some voice pointed concern about video games interfering with student's work. For example, a letter in CHE Feb 24, 2006; "Disengaged' Students Are the Victims, Not the Culprits" says: "All too eagerly, colleges augment the [pop-culture] trend, handing out iPods and dignifying video games like Grand Theft Auto as worthy of study." In the September 2, 2005 issue, "Logging On, Tuning Out" quotes a few health officials and medical professionals on the question of students’ addiction to computer games. One article, "For Many Students, One Computer Is Not Enough", mentions the overloading of campus computer infrastructure.

University Wire gets 645 hits on the search: video games, but the search: video games and libraries is mainly "pro" video games – at least to the extent of collecting them as important social and cultural artifacts. Rather than plowing through 645 hits in hopes of finding something that implies disagreement with libraries’ collecting these games, I would try a number of other words. Video games and students cuts those 645 University Wire hits down to 186. A quick scan finds "Video games distract students from classes" Staff Editorial, Sidelines; SOURCE: Middle Tennessee State U. April 16, 2007.

To be sure, Library and Information Science & Technology Abstracts seems to include overwhelmingly "pro" articles and reviews. The 90 hits for the search: video games and collection* seem to have very little in the way of dissent. Even searching full text is tricky - TX video games AND TX problems gets only 8 hits. But the 27 hits for: TX video games AND TX student* may provide some "con" comments. Similarly, it may be useful to dig around in the 14 hits that ERIC gets for: TX video games AND TX librar*, to look for useful dissenting remarks buried among the general praise. Even if the dissent seems to be mostly in editorial remarks by older librarians, that in itself could be interesting for your paper.

Please note that the above searches are all in commercial databases. Virtually all academic libraries with an MLS program would get these, and make them available by remote password (student ID or barcode, for example) login to all current students and staff. Because of very strict license agreements, I only provided "snippets", mainly of titles and dates, to give you some idea if these are the kinds of things that will help your paper.

Answer posted by:
jim miller

My earlier answer was focused more towards academic libraries, which could be expected to be less enthusiastic about collecting video games, especially because of frequent shortage of funds for what are perceived as more "core" academic subjects.

For more focus on public libraries, try databases such as Masterfile (Ebscohost). Masterfile Premier gets 56 hits for the search (in full text): video games and public libraries and oppos*, and 42 hits for TX(video games AND public libraries AND censor*), for example.

You might also approach this from a psychological research perspective - TX (video games AND attention deficit) gets 8 hits in PsycInfo and 13 hits in PsycArticles, for example. Both of these commercial databases would be available at most large university libraries, and at some larger public libraries.

I'd also recommend poking

I'd also recommend poking through Jenny Levine's blog, the Shifted Librarian. She has been focused on gaming in libraries issues for a while, and I suspect she is more likely to have referenced the anti opinions or to know where to point you than the professional literature at this point.

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