It doesn’t seem so long ago that bringing Internet-connected computers, DVDs and books on tape into libraries seemed avant-garde and, well, a little heretical to die-hard bookworms. Now, some local libraries are piquing the interest of notoriously hard-to-attract preteens and teens with a tried-and-true kid magnet: video games.
Plano libraries typify the trend in that while they don’t offer dedicated gaming rooms, several branches pull in crowds of young people with regular gaming events. “We’ve had a really, really great response to the events,” enthuses Laura Jewell, teen librarian at Davis Library in Plano. “They’re some of our most popular programs and draw both boys and girls.”
Gamers always end up checking out books that the staff sets out in the gaming area, she says, although she’s not sure how many kids are actually heading into the stacks to browse more. “In some ways, though, we’re really just trying to get teens to think of the library as a cool and friendly place,” she adds.
“So that maybe the next time they do need a book or a place to study, they’ll come to us. The gaming days definitely do draw patrons back for more events. We have teens that we see at every event, and sometimes at several libraries. We love that!”