Gaming
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268 A g r e e m e n t s u p p l e m e n t s gAming mAp loCAtion F, G, 1 threAD loCAtion Page 75 sCApe Intrinsic Gaming Need for an Expanded Definition of Literacy such as as seen in Author Scott Nicholson Agreement DesCription In the context of the Atlas, “games and gaming” encompasses many forms of structured play—board and card games, computer games, video and console games, role-playing games, war and combat-focused games, and even alternate reality games. Just as librarians support a variety of member interests and age ranges, the librarian should support all types of games that are appropriate for the needs of the specific group of members. Games, like movies, music, and even fiction, are a form of popular media that the librarian supports. As the role of gaming in society has grown, the role of gaming in libraries has also grown. Sometimes this draws a critical eye from the public in the same way that, over the years, movies, popular music, and even recreational reading has drawn as the library supported these services. The “penny dreadfuls,” inexpensive popular serial fiction from the late 1800s and early 1900s, drew the same kind of questioning as gaming does today (Dyson, 2008). Over the years, the library has changed to reflect the changing recreational interests of the public that it supports. Currently, at least for electronic games, “the average game player is 35 years old and has been playing games for 12 years” (Entertainment Software Association, 2009), and “sixty-eight percent of American households play computer or video games” (Entertainment Software Association, 2009). Therefore, it makes sense that librarians support games for a growing portion of their population. There are two primary ways through which a librarian supports games and gaming—through collections and services. Many librarians have created collections of games, and in this way the game is treated just like any other artifact in the library. Games are selected according to a selection policy to develop a collection that meets a specific need and audience. School and academic librarians build collections of games to support the curriculum either through games Figure 135 A g r e e m e n t s u p p l e m e n t s 269 that teach other subjects or games that are used to teach courses about gaming. A growing number of special collections of games and gamerelated materials are in libraries and museums. These games can be accessed by users in the same way that other forms of media are accessed . In many cases, they are circulated and played either at home or in the libraries. Supporting games as collections falls in line with a more traditional view of librarianships and can neatly fall underneath policies that dictate other collections. In line with new librarianship is the support of gaming as a service . With these gaming services, patrons are able to play games in the library. There are several ways that gaming goes in libraries. Most librarians allow patrons to use computers for whatever they would like for a certain period of time. This means that while patrons can use the computers for database searching and web browsing, they can also use them for personal e-mail, social networking, and gaming. Some librarians do ask that while others are waiting, those using computers for personal enjoyment limit their use. Another common implementation of gaming in libraries is as part of a summer reading program or other program for children. One traditional sight in many libraries is public domain games, such as chess or checkers. In fact, U.S. libraries have supported chess since the 1850s (Mechanics’ Institute, 2009). The growing area of gaming as a service is a formal gaming program. These programs could be focused on one game, such as a Scrabble tournament, or one type of game, like the Nintendo Wii, or a variety of board, card, and video games in a mixed session. These gaming programs may be an open play event, where players come and engage in games with each other with no other structure, or a tournament, where players play within a structure with the goal of providing competitive play and recognition. These programs could be focused on one age group, such as teens or seniors; could be explicitly intergenerational, such as a family game day; or could be open to all. Programs could be one-time or ongoing, and they...


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