The idea of having video games in libraries seemed bizarre to me. Then I gave it some thought and realized it’s not such a bad idea. A library with a wide variety of media items will probably draw a larger amount of patrons. It might encourage some people to pick up a book if they walk by them on their way to the video game section.
Although the media typically depicts video games as being the root of all evil, they can do just as much good as bad. Yes, that’s right! Video games can have benefits. For one thing, they can be educational, and for another, they can teach prosocial behavior. Saleem, Anderson, and Gentile (2012) indicated in their study that prosocial behavior occurred more often after games with prosocial behavior were played. Their study showed that the inverse is also true: violent games are more likely to produce aggressive behavior. There are some games that produce neither negative or positive behavior. So not all games are bad or good, but they might still be entertaining.
In light of this study and others like it, providing educational and prosocial video games would be great for those who can’t afford them. My kids have used educational video games and loved them. They were having so much fun that they didn’t realize they were learning at the same time. It would be good for libraries to have games that kids think are fun whether they are educational or not. There is nothing wrong with doing something just for fun.
Saleem, M., Anderson, C. A., & Gentile, D. A. (2012). Effects of prosocial, neutral, and violent video games on children’s helpful and hurtful behaviors. Aggressive Behavior, 38(4), 281-287. doi:10.1002/ab.21428
Here are a few games I think would be good for libraries to have:
This game is fun and gets people to move around some. It’s a good to play when there are multiple players.
Kirby’s Epic Yarn (2010)
This game is awesome for young kids. Essentially they can’t die in the game. Technically they can, but they are immediately brought back to life from the spot where they died. This avoided a lot of frustration for my kids. Plus the game is fun.
Team Umizoomi (2011)
Platform: Nintendo DS
This is a fun game for kids which is also educational. This is probably best for preschoolers.