Your Library: We’ve Got Game
We’ve all gone to the library to get a book, but have you gone to play a video game? Gaming has cemented itself in our culture as a popular pastime and creative outlet, with games providing a window into an interactive world full of colorful stories, engaging challenges, puzzling problems, and even learning opportunities! Just like you find entertainment, education, or escapism in a book, picking up a controller and starting a game on your own — or in a group — can transport you to another world.
Libraries everywhere are rich with opportunities for playing or joining a game of your choice. Many libraries even offer space to organize gaming events. Some even sponsor events and provide the consoles, televisions, and games themselves!
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When exploring gaming options in the library for yourself or your family, do research on what equipment and programs are offered by your local library. Many libraries will offer meetings or other gaming events, as well as provide dedicated spaces to be reserved for gaming on request. In cases where none of these services are offered, you can be the catalyst by contacting your library to inquire about using their spaces for gaming or to set up community gaming events of your own in cooperation with the library.
Video games as a medium are as diverse as books, film, or music, and present opportunities for people of all ages and inclinations. Gaming in the library can be rewarding for young children by offering an entertaining pastime which can be geared through software or play structure to teach and reinforce literacy skills, educational subjects such as mathematics and history, and even instinctual resources such as pattern awareness and hand-eye coordination.
For older users, games can offer lessons in economics and resource management, artistry and expression, or teach real-world scenarios through simulation. I have experienced firsthand how playing language-learning games are an effective means of getting started on learning a new language when tradition classes have failed to stick. Gamifying all sorts of hobbies such as learning a new instrument provides a new way to teach your brain how to interact and get involved. Gaming has even begun to cross over into the physical realm through the integration of motion controls and augmented or virtual reality. This technology allows a user to involve movement while gaming and can be leveraged for the purpose of therapy, exercise, or simply having fun moving around.
Educational aspects aside, games also serve as an exciting and varied form of interactive entertainment, often taking the player into an imaginative world with a rich story and characters or allowing them to explore a role different from their usual one. Multiplayer experiences, both cooperative and competitive, teach community-building and social skills as players must communicate with each other, learn from other players’ actions, and co-exist in a digital environment. With an accompanying structure offered by the library or organizing community, real-life lessons in conflict resolution, emotional management, and good manners can be encouraged and reinforced by supporting respectful communication and play.
Gaming at the library can allow you to experience new games, meet and play with new groups of people, partake in events like friendly competition and skill-building classes, or even learn literacy and language skills through education gaming. With as much potential for storytelling as any book — and the added elements of interactivity and social play — this is a great time to go out and explore gaming in your community!