video games in UC Santa Cruz library

Debate!- Should The Library Stock Video Games?

Recently my two student librarians Karan and Joseph had a debate concerning whether the library should or should not stock video games. They both raised some great points. Karan argued against and Joseph argued for. I’ve transcribed it and tidied it up a bit, but all the points were made by them.

Karan- This is wrong! You can see the damage that they do to DVDs. What do you think they would do to games?

Joseph- However this will make the library more popular and attract a new audience. It’ll be a new thing to do and if someone breaks an item, they will have to pay for it.

Karan– But you can’t trust cause people to return something like that.

Joseph- Then they’ll get banned and won’t be able to take anything else out.

Karan-If you ban them they might come back and steal.

Joseph- You would have to trust people.  If someone doesn’t bring it back, then we would get out money back.

Karan- Games are too expensive to risk. Furthermore they don’t have educational value. Pupils are only interested in violent games and Fifa. They don’t care about puzzle/educational games. GTA and Call of Duty have a lot of violence and no redeeming educational value. The stories aren’t even very good. Students don’t play games for the story and it would be much better to encourage them to read.

Joseph- Games don’t necessarily have to be educational. A lot of the books and DVDs here aren’t educational. But I think that a game is a really good medium for delivering a story and you shouldn’t say no to all of them just because of a few bad examples.

Karan– People aren’t interested in story games and even if they were you wouldn’t be able to limit play. Students would play all night. They would be tired and they wouldn’t do their H/W.

Joseph– Students do that anyway and at least if we were picking the games we could steer them towards ones with some creative substance to them.

Karan– But game are different to books and films because of their format. People all have different consoles. How are you going to please them all? When new games come out you’re going to have to pick which console to buy it for and this will annoy those without it. Also when a new console is announced and people move on, the entire collection is obsolete.

Joseph- But there is so much potential here. We could drive students to discover games outside of their comfort zone. This could inform their ICT learning. There is already modules in ICT to design games, so why don’t we have really good examples of the medium in the library? If someone took out a good game then they could learn from it and design a new one on Kudo. This could fuel creative ambitions. We could even run competitions for creative games. For example a contest to build the best landmark on Minecraft. This encourages those with artistic tendencies. I even think there should be a console in the library and students could play new, creative, exciting games like Minecraft, The Witness or Portal. Games are the most popular creative medium for teenagers and you can’t just ignore them because of old-fashioned prejudice.

Some excellent points on both sides. Well done to the boys for arguing so effectively. I’m afraid we won’t be buying any videogames for the school library anytime soon, but I think we can agree that Joseph made some very valid points for their inclusion.  

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