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					Gaming @ CML                                                                                          1

                             Gaming @ CML:
             Proposal for Teen Gaming Programs
                              Presented to:
             Susan Studebaker, Kathy Shahbodaghi, Nate Oliver

                                Presented by:
                  Martha Lund, Julie Scordato, Wendy Morano

                                      September 2006

Executive Summary:

         Gaming, both Internet and console, is a major industry catering to all age groups and
interests across the globe. Public libraries are beginning to recognize the power of gaming in
appealing to teens and their families and making the library a relevant third place that values the
interests of the millennial generation. Outlined here are essential facts about gaming and the
positive role it can play within CML. Practical recommendations and descriptions of early success
with this flexible, socially-oriented program are also included.

Gaming Defined:

        For CML, gaming shall be defined as, ―Programming that uses popular and inexpensive
video consoles and accessories to provide gaming for teens in location meeting rooms or in
locations after hours, i.e. holding gaming in the main area of a location as part of a lock-in.

Gaming Does Not Mean:

               Using public PCs during operating hours.
               Purchasing video games to circulate to customers.
               Putting gamine consoles and televisions in current teen spaces.


         We recommend that each location is given $750.00 to purchase gaming equipment. In
addition, the Center for Discovery will be given $500.00 to purchase equipment to loan as a
supplement to locations doing extra large events.
Gaming @ CML                   2

               Gaming @ CML:
Gaming @ CML                                                          3

                       Gaming @ CML:
             A Proposal for Teen Gaming Programs
Contents                                                      Pages

    I.      Background, Research, and Strategic Context
            a. Introduction & Hennen Survey                   5-7
            b. Videogames & Gaming:
               The Truth Beyond the Stereotypes               8
            c. Gaming Demographics                            9
            d. Gaming and Developmental Assets                10
            e. Gaming & CML: A Strategic Context              11-13

    II.     Gaming Recommendations and Practical Details
            a. Equipment: Options and Recommendations         15-16
            b. Role of CR& D, IT, and PSD Managers            17
            c. Three S‘s of Gaming                            18
            d. Addressing Staff Concerns                      19-20

    III.    Immediate Results: An Overview of Gaming Pilots
            a. Reynoldsburg                                   22-24
            b. Northside                                      25-26
            c. New Albany                                     27

    IV.     Looking to the Future
            a. Conclusion                                     29
            b. VOYA Article

Appendix: Library Journal Article
Gaming @ CML                                    4

                  Section I

  Background, Research, and Strategic Context
Gaming @ CML                                                                                      5

        CML gaming shall be defined as:

        Programming that uses popular and inexpensive video consoles
        and accessories to provide gaming for teens in location meeting
        rooms or in locations after hours, i.e. holding gaming in the main
        area of a location as part of a lock-in.

        Gaming will not mean:

               Using public PCs during operating hours.
               Purchasing video games to circulate to customers.
               Putting gaming consoles and televisions in current teen spaces.

          The following pages outline why gaming for teens in the context of CML services is
important and how it can be integrated effectively. This first section presents general information
that will provide a basic understanding of the gaming industry and culture before discussing how
gaming fits into CML‘s tactical plan and values. The second section will include equipment
recommendations that focus on specific brands and budgets and the practicalities of providing
gaming from storage of equipment to the roles of staff. Section three focuses on the Reynoldsburg
pilot program and experimental gaming programs at New Albany, Hilltop and Northside. Section
four concludes the proposal and features a VOYA article that illustrates the long-term potential
gaming can have.
Gaming @ CML                                                                                           6

Hennen Libraries and Gaming

         The top nine libraries in CML‘s Hennen category were contacted via telephone and e-mail.
The following libraries responded. The number corresponds with the library‘s Hennen rating.

(2) Multnomah County Library
         ―So far we've just done Dance Dance Revolution, but we're starting a gaming task force
and will be looking at console games & other gaming stuff. I'll keep you posted.‖
Sara Ryan, Teen Services Specialist

(3) Denver Public Library
          ―Currently, the only program we offer teens is the teen summer reading program. We
don't even have a teen services department, or a teen area. At this time, there are no plans to
increase teen programming at all. (If it were up to me, I'd do teen gaming programs in a heartbeat,
but I'm still struggling to get permission to acknowledge Teen Read Week here in Denver.)‖
Emily Dagg, Children‘s Department

(4) Cuyahoga County Public Library
         We have had several DDR and Guitar Hero programs with local Game Stop stores -- I
think that's the extent of our gaming to date, but they are getting amazing audience response.
Mary Arnold, Regional Teen Services Manager, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Maple Heights

(8) Hennepin County Library
          ―I am in the process of putting together more programs involving video games at the
Hennepin County branch library in Mound. This October we will be hosting a DDR night for teen
read month. In the future, I would like to purchase a console, possibly the new Nintendo Wii and
set it up in our meeting room for kids to play after school. The reason for purchasing this specific
console is because it encourages more collaboration and physical interaction with the screen. So
minds and bodies are exercised at the same time.‖
Ben Trapskin , Westonka Library
Gaming @ CML                                                                                         7

Hennen Libraries Continued…

(10) Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

        The comments below are from two separate messages describing the same event, before
and after.

         PLCH is incorporating gaming into our programs. We started with DDR about two years
ago and recently had 6 Summer Reading Kick off parties featuring PS2 with DDR and Guitar Hero.
2 of our branches have received Wal-mart or Target grants and used the funds to purchase PS2s
and Xbox 360s. They have a variety of games and are holding special gaming nights - sometimes
after hours. Tonight I'm heading to a branch for a 2 hours after hours gaming event. We have 60
teens signed up, with registration cutting off 2 weeks in advance of the event…

        …Our Friday night after hours gaming event this past weekend was GREAT! 47 teens
hanging out in the library for 3 hours playing traditional games (spoons!!) and video games
including DDR, Guitar Hero, Star Wars (don't know exact version) and a few others.‖

Paula Brehm-Heeger
Teen Coordinator
Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
(513) 369-6941

          This survey illustrates two points, one, that other top Hennen libraries are recognizing and
utilizing the potential of gaming and two, that CML has an opportunity to be a profession leader by
instituting gaming system-wide.
Gaming @ CML                                                                                        8

Videogames and Gaming: The Truth Beyond the Stereotypes
        The following statistics provide a snapshot view of the gaming industry and the diverse
group of people that fuel it.

*Stereotype 1: Video games are on the fringes of the entertainment industry.

*Industry Facts: 168 million Americans play video games.

                In 2005, over 7 billion dollars was spent (in the US alone) on console video game

* From the article, “CEA Study: Adults spend more time gaming than teens.” Wireless News.
        March 23, 2006. pp. 6-15.

        The statistics below and on the following page are taken from the Entertainment Software
Associations Industry Facts for 2005.

Stereotype 2: Only kids play video games.

Industry Fact: The average age of a gamer is 33.

Stereotype 3: Video games and the video game industry are extremely violent.

Industry Facts: 85% of console video games sold are rated ‗E‖ for Everyone or ―T‖ for Teen.

                The top 4 selling video games of 2005 were all rated ―E.‖

                The top 11 selling video games of 2005 were all rated ‗E‖ or ―T.‖

Stereotype 4: The majority of gamers are male geeks and loners.

Industry Facts: 38% of gamers are female.

                25% of gamers are age 50 or older.

                69% of American heads of households play either computer or video games.

                40: the average age of a frequent game purchaser.

                12: the average number of years an adult gamer has been gaming.
Gaming @ CML                                                                                       9

Gaming Demographics Relevant to Library Service
The general gaming population:

        79% of gamers of all ages report either exercising or playing sports an average of 20 hours
        a month.

        93% of gamers report reading books or daily newspapers on a regular basis.

        63%of gamers say they consistently attend cultural events including concerts, theatre
        productions, or going to museums.

        45% of gamers report volunteering an average of 5.4 hours a month.

Introducing the gaming parent:

        35% of American parents play video games.

        47% of those gamer parents are women.

        73% of gamer parents say they consider themselves regular voters.

        89% of the time parents are present at the time games are purchased or rented.

        87% of the time children receive their parents permission before purchasing or renting a

        61% of gaming parents believe games are a positive part of their children‘s lives.

Why parents play videogames with their children:

        79% do so because they are asked to.

        75% because they feel it‘s a fun activity for the whole family.

        71% think it‘s a good opportunity to socialize with their child.

        62% want to monitor video game content.

        The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is comprised of major companies that
publish video games including Konami, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony. Their annual industry
survey is conducted by an independent research firm.
Gaming @ CML                                                                                     10

Gaming and Developmental Assets:

        CML Teen Services continues to embrace the 40 Developmental Assets as designed by
the Search Institute. Gaming is a great vehicle for teens to build valuable assets.

        The Search Institute, based in Minneapolis Minnesota describes itself as:

―an independent non-profit organization whose mission is to provide leadership, knowledge and
resources to promote healthy children, youth, and communities…at the heart of the institute‘s work
is the framework of the 40 Developmental Assets, which are positive experiences and personal
qualities that young people need to grow up healthy, caring and responsible.‖


         The 40 Developmental Assets are divided into External and Internal categories. The
following are assets we believe teens can build and improve through teen gaming.

Other Adult Relationships: This asset involves the need for teens to have positive relationships
with at least three non-parent adults. By attending regular gaming programs, teens get an
opportunity to build relationships with library staff.

Safety: Gaming gives teens a chance to socialize by participating in a popular activity supervised
by caring adults in a safe environment.

Adult Role Models: It is very important for teens to have adults in their lives who can model
positive behaviors.

Positive Peer Influence: As noted in the Reynoldsburg narrative, older teens participating in
gaming can act as models for responsible and appropriate behavior with younger participants.

Responsibility: Gaming provides teens a chance to contribute, through sharing equipment and
―using‖ expertise, to be largely responsible for the program.

Interpersonal Confidence: Gaming helps teens be comfortable socializing with other teens they
may be unfamiliar with.

Cultural Competence: Gaming‘s wide appeal attracts teens of different cultural/social/ethnic
backgrounds and gives them a universal activity to enjoy and socialize around.

Self-Esteem: Teens can cultivate self-esteem as they set up the gaming program, essentially run it
themselves and socialize with new people. As noted in the Reynoldsburg narrative, when Kevin
repaired a television cord so it could be used for gaming, he gained not only the sense of
accomplishment for solving a problem, but the gratitude of other gamers who were impressed with
his skills.
Gaming @ CML                                                                                       11

Gaming in the Context of the CML Strategic Initiatives
and Tactical Plans
The CML Vision:
         ―Our diverse community will be fully engaged in the adventures of reading, learning and
leisure while recognizing the vital role the library plays in enriching our quality of life.

          As a component of teen services programming, gaming will give teens of various ages and
backgrounds a safe place to socialize and relax while playing games the vast majority are already
familiar. The many repeat participants in the Reynoldsburg branch gaming pilot is an indication that
gaming every week was consistently considered important enough to attend despite the myriad of
summer activities competing with the library.

         One teen came to the second hour of gaming directly from tennis practice. A VolunTeen
packed a sack dinner so he could attend gaming from 2 to 4, eat dinner at the library and volunteer
from 5 to 7 p.m., spending a total of five hours at the library every Monday in July. He said he
―didn‘t want to miss anything.‖

Gaming Upholds CML Values Such As:
          We respect that our teen customers have passions for recreational activities that we may
not traditionally provide but are valid pastimes nonetheless. Instead of compartmentalizing an
activity according to our own experience, we will respect gaming as embedded in teen culture and
use gaming to encourage teen participation and investment in the library.

         By providing gaming, CML is responsive to what teens value and even take for granted as
part of their daily lives. While promoting gaming to teens in the Reynoldsburg Branch, many teens
responded with incredulity that the library would offer such a thing. With surprise and excitement I
saw many a teen ask a parent if they could come, and even writing down the dates to make sure
they knew when to come. The branch was rewarded for this adaptability. Each gaming program
had attendance higher than any other teen program and garnered extra Teen Summer Reading
Gaming @ CML                                                                                         12

Gaming Relates to This Strategic Element:
Primary Library Service Response: Current topics and Titles

         ―We help fulfill community residents‘ appetite for information about popular cultural and
social trends and their desire for satisfying recreational experiences…”

         Gaming offers a chance for teens to participate in a recreational experience with broader
social interactions. Gaming is a piece of the popular media landscape that includes movies, music,
and the Internet.

Gaming and our Strategic Initiatives:
    1. We provide Excellent Service to All
    Goal 1.1: Citizens of the Columbus Community will have access to services from the library
    that both meet and exceed their expectations through attention to their customization, speed,
    accuracy and value.

        Gaming programs will certainly meet/exceed expectations of teens across the service area
    (see flexibility above) but the customization element of this goal should be noted as well.
    Gaming is an example of customizing programs to meet teens‘ interest, and in a technology
    most are familiar. By valuing an activity teens themselves value, we communicate that we
    value our teen population.

    5. We collect materials and design programs and services that enrich, inform,
        educate, and entertain.

        The Developmental Assets section of this proposal focuses on how gaming can enrich
    teens‘ lives. Gaming does have a strong entertainment factor, just as our popular fiction and
    audio-visual materials do.
Gaming @ CML                                                                                   13

  Gaming and the Teen Services Vision:
       We will develop diverse and flexible programming, pro-active outreach, strong and
  adaptable collections and continuing education for our colleagues that will promote and deliver
  information and social literacy services to teens.

      Gaming supports development of diverse and flexible programming through a variety of
  popular games that many teen audiences can enjoy. Gaming programs will also encourage
  social interaction and learning.

  How Does Gaming Promote Literate Behaviors?

      Gaming promotes literate behavior by first promoting the library in a way that is appealing,
  exciting and relevant to teens. Gaming gives teens a chance to discover the library. Ann Arbor
  District Library staffer, and OLC conference speaker Eli Neiburger sees gaming as a way to:

  ―Give them what they want [teens & videogames] and they will discover what we want them to
  want [materials, information, lifelong learning].‖
Gaming @ CML                               14

                 Section II

Gaming Recommendations and Practical Details
Gaming @ CML                                                                                          15

Equipment: Options and Recommendations:
        We recommend $750 be budgeted for each location that is interested in participating.

        Any extra money not spent on equipment and games will be used to purchase
replacement controllers and Dance Dance Revolution pads as there is bound to be some costs
associated from normal wear and tear. (At this time we cannot predict the rate accessories may
wear out. However, several teens have assured us that accessories that match the brand
(Nintendo controllers for Nintendo products, etc.) are generally long-lived.)

         We recommend that participating locations purchase the recommendations listed on the
following page. The focus of the recommendations on consoles, popular, ―standby‖ games and
accessories reflects the reality that it is easier for teens to bring in games of their own rather than
the more expensive equipment. The teens want to bring in their own games as well.

       If a location firmly believes the recommended equipment would not adequately meet the
needs of their teen population, they can purchase different equipment as long as they do not:
                 1) Exceed the budget recommendation
                 2) Invest funds into games not rated ―E‖ or ―T‖

        If a location finds it needs more equipment to support the demand during 2007, we
suggest they use money from their Friends budget.

        We also recommend that CML staff be encouraged to donate equipment for gaming.
Examples of this include donating PlayStation 2 consoles when PS3 comes out in December or
donating small televisions to locations.

         Finally, we recommend that the Center for Discovery carry a circulating gaming kit (in
addition to the initial equipment) that will supplement locations that decide to have a large gaming
program. Locations that are timid about trying gaming could also use this equipment to see how it
goes. However, this circulating collection should not act as a substitute for gaming equipment at a
given location. The contents of the gaming kit will be determined shortly after system-wide gaming
is implemented and the specific needs of supplemental equipment is more clear.

         We do not recommend each location be required to integrate gaming into their teen
programs. Locations that are at first hesitant to game, should be given time to observe other
location‘s success before making a decision. At this time we do not know how many locations are
interested in providing gaming because we did not want to survey branches about a program that
has not been sufficiently formulated for system wide application and support. We do know there is
a great deal of interest. It will be possible for us to quickly determine interest and we should be able
to give you a specific number within 48 hours from the request.

        The equipment table on the next page features recommendations for each location. We
have two totals; a minimum or base amount of equipment and a list of ―optional‖ products. The
―optional‖ products are newer and cutting edge accessories that are hot items, sure to appear on
holiday wish lists this year. Total recommendations are under $750.00 per location.
Gaming @ CML                                                                            16

   BRAND      PRODUCT            TYPE          APPLICATION     PRICE           SOURCE
Nintendo     Gamecube        Console,          Plays games. 99.99            Best Buy
                             comes with                                      Online
                             one controller.
Nintendo     Gamecube        Controller,       3 controllers     3 @ 24.99   Best Buy
                             Black             for above                     Online
                                               console to play   = 74.97
                                               at capacity
Nintendo     MarioKart       Gamecube          Up to 4           29.99       Best Buy
             Double Dash     game.             players. ―E‖                  Online
Nintendo     Super Smash     Gamecube          Up to 4 players   29.99       Best Buy
             Melee           Game.             ―T‖                           Online
Sony         Playstation 2   Console,          Plays games.      129.99      Best Buy
                             comes with                                      Online
                             one controller
Sony PS2     DDR Extreme     Game              One player on 59.99           Best Buy
                             Bundle,           pad, another                  Online
                             game, and         on controller or
                             dance pad.        second pad.
React        Dance Pad       Dance Pad         For PS2, so      29.99        Best Buy
                             (think            two players                   Online
                             controller)       can dance, will
                                               also work on
                                               other consoles
Min. TOTAL                                                      $514.90

Red Octane   Ignition        High Quality      Possible         83.99        Best Buy
             Dance Pad       pad, will last    option for CFD                Online
                             longer.           for lock-ins
                                               and special
                                               dance dance
Red Octane   Guitar Hero     Game and          2 players        69.99        Best Buy
             For PS2         Guitar            maximum for                   Online
                             Controller        PS2.
                                               Played at
                                               Northside pilot.
Red Octane   Guitar Hero     Guitar            Allows for       40.99        Best Buy
                             Controller        second player.                Online
Options                                                         $194.97
GRAND                                                           $709.87
Gaming @ CML                                                                                        17

The Roles of Specific Staff:

The Role of CR&D:

        Promoting gaming will require coverage on the CML webpage, Teens-Connect, the blog
and the Myspace page. Teen services staff will also promote through word of mouth at their
locations. The program lends itself to low-maintenance promotion because of its popularity. The
Reynoldsburg pilot was advertised on the print and electronic SRC calendar and the blog. Over
150 teens participated in ten hours worth of gaming throughout July.

        Another possibility for promotion is to contact the Columbus Dispatch gaming columnist,
Each week he writes about gaming covering both technology and culture. While his audience is
mostly adult, highlighting CML‘s new teen program spotlights the library to urban, educated, tech
savvy adults who may or may not be library users/supporters.

The Role of IT:

         In the context of the open play gaming proposed here, IT will not have a critical role.
Members of IT interested in observing gaming, or volunteering to supervise gaming would be
welcomed. The Ann Arbor gaming program (see VOYA article in the resources section) involves
an admirable partnership between their IT and Young Adult departments. A partnership such as
this is wonderful, but not necessary to CML‘s initial gaming project.

The Role of PSD Managers:

          Understanding there is a place for gaming in CML, managers play an important role in
encouraging staff to explore gaming with their teen users. The programs are easy to set up and
implement, requiring little to no preparation time by staff. Managers should recognize that as teens
see the library investing in them and their interests, teens will in turn become invested in their
library. Some customers and staff will be opposed to gaming. When responding to these concerns,
the manager should use the strategic plan elements connected here as the basis for conversation.
Gaming programs are a win-win for teens and libraries; gaming fulfills Developmental Assets and
gets teens (especially boys) into the library in positive, productive ways.
Gaming @ CML                                                                                        18

The Three S’s of Gaming

Locations holding the recommended equipment can easily keep consoles and accessories in a
Rubbermaid style plastic tub. These tubs cost between $7.00 and $12.00. Tubs should be a solid
color to make its contents inconspicuous in a locked storage closet. One tub will make it easier to
keep equipment together.


A few common sense practices can ensure security of equipment belonging to both the library and
participating teens.

       Having a staff member or adult volunteer in the meeting/programming room at all times.

       Encouraging teens to only share equipment they will be able to truly keep tabs on, like one
        console and their own controller or one game and their personal controller.

       Mandating that all equipment is labeled using tape, labels, or the p-touch. Teens at the
        Reynoldsburg pilot not only agreed to do this before setting anything up, but would bring
        equipment in pre-labeled. While labels can be removed easily enough, the social mingling
        inherent in the program reduces opportunities for untoward behavior. Staff should also
        present labeling equipment from a ―to keep track of our stuff‖ angle rather than a ―so
        nothing gets stolen‖ angle.


While teen services staff will act as primary facilitators for gaming, other staff should be invited to
participate as need demands and schedule allows. As staff testimonials from the Reynoldsburg
pilot indicate, staff can enjoy supervising gaming because it is less threatening in terms of requiring
little preparation and pre-knowledge. This will also be a great way for non-teen services staff to get
to know teens in a positive, low pressure environment.

Because gaming takes so little preparation in relation to the results gained, locations holding
gaming are expected to commit to the program in a way that balances demand with staff flexibility.
Inviting other staff or even adult volunteers would be a great way to offer this popular program
more frequently.
Gaming @ CML                                                                                        19

Addressing Staff Concerns:
         As with many large initiatives, staff will have questions, concerns, and some will have
philosophical objections to gaming in the library. Staff may question the place of gaming in library
service in light of our mission:
                  ―We promote reading and guide learning in the pursuit of
                  information, knowledge and wisdom.‖

         Gaming promotes literate behaviors by bringing teens into the building and getting them
excited about the library. Gaming does have value to both teens and to us in terms of the kind of
library we want to be. Consider the following points:

       Gaming as a teen program is a microcosm of the shift in teen services philosophy
        nationwide. As Patrick Jones said in his interview with School Library Journal:

        ―Now people really get that serving teens isn‘t about books—it‘s looking holistically
        at all the different ways we serve teens in libraries. When I first started, all people
        wanted to talk about was the new Richard Peck novel. People today are much more
         into the kids than into the books…a final change [teen services in the past twenty years]
        that is just gigantic is this movement from teens as consumers to contributors…
        every teen band in the world has a MySpace page. Teenagers are self-publishing their
        own books. This democratization of media is being driven by teens.‖
        August 2006

       The power of the library as a third place. From storytimes to summer reading club
        events, the majority of library programs for all ages features a strong social component.
        Gaming at the library takes an activity done at home alone or with one or two people and
        transforms it into an event where dozens can play, mingle and have fun.

       Gaming programs help teens build many developmental assets and by giving teens even
        more opportunities to build these assets and feel good about themselves, the library
        enriches teens‘ lives.

       Gaming builds youth investment and participation. Teens will be motivated to come to the
        library regularly for gaming, giving staff opportunities to build relationships and cultivate
        teen participation in other library events or in volunteering. In the conclusion of the
        proposal we‘ll look to the future and discuss the potential gaming can have in building
        further youth participation and encouraging clear literate behaviors.

We encourage staff with questions and/or concerns, to visit a location using gaming. Patsy Pace of
SBN and Dave Gallagher visited the Reynoldsburg pilot and are sold on its efficiency and level of
youth participation.
Gaming @ CML                                                                                       20

Staff Concerns continued….

In a recent interview with YALS (the print journal of YALSA), Steve Abrams made the following

       [Referring to the poorly attended ―traditional‖ teen programs]―…why would we continue to
        waste time buried in non-value added tasks when they can be automated to free up our
        time that makes an impact?...Then we could focus on what is actually strategic.

       ―What programs engage kids and bring them into the library? How many messages can we
        deliver at once? When a library offers a ‗Rock the Stacks‘ local band night after hours, it
        isn‘t really just about teens and music. You engage them in the library, the link between
        teens and the library, improve the relationship with current and future users and even
        circulate a few items. No one leaves without a transformed opinion.

       The same thing happens when libraries have gaming collections and gaming events.
        Some of our traditional services are fantastic. Some are musty. Rita Mae Brown wrote that
        insanity is doing the same things in the same way that we have always done and
        expecting different results. If we want better results, we have to experiment with some new

     At the OLC Children‘s/YA conference in late August 2006, panel speaker Eli Neuberger,
reminded us that while the library cannot be everything to everyone, the library should have
something for everyone. He also said, ―Give them what they want [teens & videogames] and they
will discover what we want them to want [materials, information, lifelong learning].‖

     At one time library services that are now considered ―traditional‖ were new and radical ideas.
storytimes, baby laptimes, paperbacks, and even audio-visual materials all challenged staff to
evaluate how these services fit in. Likewise, gaming will challenge staff to re-evaluate teen services
in terms of:

Do we provide what teens’ value or do we provide what we want them to value?

By providing gaming and showing teens we value them, we give them the opportunity to value the
library and the tangibles and intangibles they gain from their library experiences.
Gaming @ CML                                  21

                       Section IV
                   Immediate Results:
               An Overview of Gaming Pilots
Gaming @ CML                                                                                         22

The Reynoldsburg Gaming Pilot: An Investment with Many Cool Returns
         The gaming pilot held at Reynoldsburg in July really started in February when, encouraged
by the Chicago Gaming Symposium, I decided to test the waters with the program. With branch
manager Sally Edward‘s approval, I invited a core group of male VolunTeens to come to the library
for three separate days in March to game for two hours each day. I did not promote this to the
public or the schools. If interested teens stopped by while the program was in session they were
invited to stay but otherwise my older VolunTeens were the test group.

          In three weeks we learned that the EIKI projector that most locations should have; works
better for gaming than the Epson projector. I learned that teen boys will be a lot more talkative
when a game is going. One day a private school and homeschool student got into a heated
discussion about who ―had it worse.‖ Another day I got a long conversation going about which
movie franchises produce the best video games and why. I also realized that I didn‘t need to be a
gaming expert. I had all the expertise in my VolunTeens, some of whom I dubbed for the summer
pilot, ―gaming consultants.‖

         The formal pilot, held every Monday in July from 2 to 4, was wildly successful in both
traditional and fascinating new ways. The first aspect of gaming is that the teens ran it. The SRA
and I would put out snacks, lemonade, the two televisions and EIKI projector and then we‘d wait.
As teens came in we tracked data (see spreadsheet) and made sure all equipment was labeled.
During the pilot Reynoldsburg owned 4 Gamecube controllers, 2 Dance Dance Revolution pads,
and a Mario Kart game. All consoles, extra televisions and accessories were brought in by the
teens. This made the number of games running at one time, anywhere from 3 to 6. A couple of
teens brought in small televisions from home.

         After teens arrived and signed in, they got their own chairs and snacks. Teens went to the
projector or televisions of their choice on a first come, first served basis. At a quarter to 4 I would
remind them that clean up was in ten minutes and to wrap up their current game. At ten to 4 I
would turn on the lights. Teens put chairs away, threw away trash and unhooked consoles. They
double checked with me or the SRA that yes, the program was on for next Monday and they would
leave to go into the library or to their rides. Then only a handful of items needed to be put away.

          It was like magic. One week we noticed our older of the two televisions had a power plug
snapped at the head exposing wires. One of my gaming consultants who works on cars and
electronics at home said he could fix it if he had the right supplies. We walked to the Radio Shack
right by the branch and Kevin got what he needed. For under $10.00 of FOL money and with
Kevin‘s expertise our television was up in running with 20 minutes of finding out the problem. What
a wonderful opportunity for Kevin to build developmental assets like responsibility, personal power,
self-esteem, and being a resource.
Gaming @ CML                                                                                           23

A Word About Diversity

         Another fabulous aspect of gaming is the universal appeal it has to teens of all ages,
ethnicities, and backgrounds. How many teen programs do we have that appeal to a twelve year
old African American girl and a sixteen year old Caucasian boy? I have never seen such a social
equalizer in a teen program.

A Word About Behavior

        One of the interesting aspects of the video footage and pictures is how close the teens are
to each other—many virtually strangers sitting mere inches apart and, with the occasional
exception of sibling bickering, in total respect for their neighbor‘s space. Staff observing repeatedly
commented on the social harmony. Aside from the universality and equalizing nature of gaming,
the presence of a half dozen 15 and up teens also helped set the tone for behavior. I noticed
instances where an older teen would say ―chill out man,‖ or, ―knock it off,‖ in a mild tone that still
brooked no argument.

A Word About Security

         The only incident we had in five weeks was at the end of the second week‘s program one
of the branch‘s Gamecube controllers came up missing. It was the first week a lot of teens had
brought in a lot of their own equipment though and I decided to wait a week and see if it appeared
thinking that maybe someone just took it home by accident. Lo and behold the next week, our
missing controller reappeared in its basket, no questions asked.

A Word About Parents

          At the end of our last gaming program the father of 13 year old Albert shook my hand and
told me, ―This is really great, putting on a program like this. If it‘s not games Albert isn‘t interested
and I was pleased he wanted to come to this every week and it looks like he‘s made some new

         During one of our sessions a father with two boys under ten stopped by the meeting room
to take a look at what was going on. After I explained what we were doing the first thing he said
was, ―So this has absolutely nothing to with reading.‖ Before I could share that all teens gaming
had signed up for Teen Summer Reading and those who didn‘t have cards were asked to get one,
he said, ―It‘s great to see all these boys at the library and having a good time in a safe place.‖ The
boys asked him if they could stay and play. He told them they would have to wait until they were
older and off they went.
Gaming @ CML                                                                                       24

Words From Staff

I was amazed that the teens actually seemed to "own" that space in the library. They acted like
they belonged there. They seemed totally comfortable.

They also seemed to be completely in charge of the program. They set up their own equipment,
greeted teens that were new to the program, interacted with each other, made sure everyone had
an opportunity to participate. It was amazing.

They also had great rapport with library staff: talking about what they had been doing for the
summer and what they would be doing next at the library. It was great! Patsy Pace, SBN

As the branch manager I fully support the efforts of our YA staff at Reynoldsburg. Gaming appears
to be a positive way to bring teens, who might not usually use the library, into the branch on a
regular basis. I have seen our gaming program this summer attract our Volunteens’ participation
and grow by word of mouth to an attendance of approximately 41 boys and girls- mostly boys, and
look forward to offering gaming with our new YA services staff person when he or she is hired.
Sally Edwards

I had the opportunity to stop in and observe on two occasions - the very first session, and the final
session of SRC. I was impressed both times by the total involvement of the teens who attended. I
seem to remember 5-6 teens at the first session, and I recall that they were completely focused on
their games - not horsing around, just playing. At the final session, there must have been 35-40
teens in attendance, and the same level of involvement was evident. There were several groups
clustered around different games, interacting, cooperating, laughing, playing and occasionally
snacking. It was obvious that ground rules had been set and fully explained, and the upshot was
that everyone seemed to be having a very good time! Thanks for demonstrating how positively
gaming can work. Glee Blosser, Youth Services LA
Gaming @ CML                                                                                      25

But will this work at smaller branches?

Northside Branch Video Game Program Review and Notes: July 2007
Submitted by staff members:
Steve Kennedy (CSS)
Kayla McMahon (SRA)
Sarah Mackey (Youth Services Manager)

         We darkened the room so that only the dim recessed lights were on, and the curtains were
closed; the lighting helped create a calm mood and allowed teens to enter the program with some
sense of anonymity. However, we did sign kids in and confirmed whether they had library cards
and had signed up for the Reading Clubs. We required them to do both, if necessary, when they
entered. We also gave out a quiz on video game characters which most kids completed. Many
worked together to answer the questions, and they also used the game books we had on display to
help, too. We gave out a small prize to those who had the highest number of correct answers.

        We got a lot of kids in the library looking at books who I think NEVER would have come to
us otherwise. Now they have library cards, they know where we are, they signed up for the
reading club, and they might tell other people about Northside and the cool programs we have.

         We also got several long-time teen customers who have repeatedly been behavior issues
over the years. Examples are Dominique McDermon and Malik Berry. They have repeatedly been
evicted for rough-housing, disobeying and disrespecting staff and library rules over the years.
They have also never, ever attended a library program. No way would they ever lower themselves
to come to a library program; it‘s simply not cool. However, they were the first ones to sign in, and
they brought friends and cousins with them. They were polite, respectful, and even friendly with
staff during the program, and they thanked us for the program, too! They were also really good at
some of the games, so staff were able to praise them and applaud for them in ways that we‘d
never been able to before. I am confident that these kids have a newfound respect for the library
because of this program, and we were able to have positive interactions with them that we can
build on, instead of the repeated negative interactions.

         Staff member Steve Kennedy brought in his own games and equipment. The games were
sort of quick community games; in other words, they weren‘t games played in isolation--they are
more fun to play with another person and with people watching. And they are easy to take turns
with because there is really no progress like in more complicated single-player games. Very few of
the kids that came to the video game program had played any of the games before. However, the
games we used (Dance Dance Revolution, Donkey Konga, and Guitar Hero) are all arcade-type
games. They are easy to pick up and learn. By the end of the program, most-to-all of the kids had
learned how to play the games. The games were appropriate and fun for an even wider range of
ages than we put as our age range for the program.
Gaming @ CML                                                                                          26

Northside Continued
       The games may have been too complex for the smallest of children (siblings and cousins
who were required to stay with their older babysitters). However, the little ones that came to the
program enjoyed watching and "playing" (i.e. dancing along and pressing buttons randomly).

         When it comes to the games, we think the less structure there is, the better. The kids that
came to this program were well-behaved when playing the games. We posted clear rules on the
television sets advising everyone to take turns and to play only one session at a time to allow
others a turn. There were no problems with kids ―hogging‖ games or going out of turn. In fact,
there was a high level of camaraderie between the kids. They would wait their turn in order to
compete with their friends. They worked together to make sure everyone had someone to partner
with and to play with when their turn came.

         The more people running the program, the better; each individual game benefits from an
adult person helping out fulltime. Volunteer Sylvia K. was extremely helpful in teaching kids to play
Dance-Dance Revolution. She also played along with them. It was fabulous to see kids chatting
with staff while they were all standing around waiting for their turns! Days afterward when some of
these kids came back in the library, they spent time talking with the same staff they‘d made a
connection with at the program. What is especially rewarding is seeing the male teens hang
around staff member Steve Kennedy, who is clearly now a role model for these boys.

          I think the second best part of the program (after getting new people into the library) is that
it is as gender-neutral as a teen program can be. None of the games were really geared more
towards one gender. That's one of the hardest parts about teen programs to deal with, so this
program is really useful in that way too.

         It‘s interesting to note that we planned this program after the SRC calendars had been
printed, so this program was not listed on our calendars. We posted signs within the branch, and
we promoted the program word-of-mouth. We had a larger number of kids at this program than we
did at any of our other Teen programs all summer…and more than all the other Teen programs
combined! As our program wrapped up, we heard a chorus of ―are we going to do this again?
When are we going to do this again? This was cool!‖ What more could we ask for in a library
program for teens?
Gaming @ CML                                                                                       27

Did any other branches offer gaming this summer?

      Yes, New Albany held 4 Dance Dance Revolution Programs for a total of 51 teens. Below,
Dave Gallagher describes the program:

         My first observation was, similar to your gaming program at Reynoldsburg, this program
tended to run itself. The kids are quite knowledgeable of gaming systems and of the DDR game
specifically. We tried to have the console set up for each program but in the one instance when
the game wasn't completely ready, the kids knew exactly what to do and how to set it up. (Also,
they move so fast through those menus that I wouldn't have had ANY idea how they got there.)

          Secondly, and again very similar to the multi-game program at 34, the teens set their own
rules of participation and ―enforce‖ them, so to speak. They‘re pretty aware of what‘s fair and what
isn‘t. And they all want to play so in our case with DDR, they naturally formed lines behind the
pads and waited for their turns. I was amazed at how orderly it was. Once their turns were up,
they either got back in line or sat down to watch. They all seem so fascinated with the game that
even when they weren‘t actively participating, they still want to be involved somehow. A couple of
times, we started a mini-tournament that made it a little more competitive and fun. The only
disadvantage to this seemed to be that the kids who were obviously much more familiar with DDR
tended to win. On the whole, though, most of the kids didn‘t seem to mind. There seems to be a
level of ―respect‖ for video game prowess that exists in this younger generation that I really wasn‘t
aware of – probably because I stopped playing video games at Pac-Man. :-)

The one thing that I thought was pretty encouraging was that even if the attendance wasn‘t huge
(although our numbers seemed to grow each week, I believe), the program almost always went to
its full time, or even over in most cases. I think this could be to our benefit in planning for Teen
programs in the future. If we could have times set aside just for teens instead of scheduled
programs – and then make gaming or DDR one of the available ―activities‖, we might have higher
participation overall. It seems to me that teens might view this as ―hanging out‖ at the library as
opposed to attending a program. It might seem ―cooler‖ in that respect.

The Hilltop branch also featured Microsoft Xbox gaming as part of a gaming program including
more traditional board games. Fifteen teens attended that program.
Gaming @ CML                           28

                    Section V
               Looking to the Future
Gaming @ CML                                                                                       29

Looking to the Future

         While open play gaming will for many locations, revitalize teen programming in terms of
both attracting new/reluctant users and in giving staff an opportunity to do regular teen
programming with low time/cost demands, gaming can be even more at CML in the future.

        Ann Arbor District Library of Michigan is one of the first public libraries in the country to
embrace gaming as a consistently viable teen program. Ann Arbor now holds a variety of programs
from open play gaming and all day theme programs, like Family Dance Dance Revolution
tournaments to six month long ―seasons‖ focusing on a particular game. Seasons has helped Ann
Arbor create a tremendous amount of buy-in from teens and their families.

         In season play, teens compete both as individuals and as members of a ―clan.‖ Individual
scores go into a clan kitty and the clan with the most points wins top honors. Clans choose their
name and create a distinctive avatar that gets posted on the library‘s gaming web site. The gaming
web site also features a blog which players can communicate on and keeps an updated statistics
for both individuals and clans. As in chess, quiz bowl, and athletic tournaments, this type of
programming encourages repeat attendance and can increase community. The Ann Arbor FOL
participated in gaming by producing silk screened gaming t-shirts to sell to teen players and
parents thus raising more money for the library. The 2005 final videogame tournament was taped
and then played on the local cable access channel.

         While these activities are certainly more staff intensive and goes beyond the open play
programming recommended in this proposal, it‘s important to be aware of the potential gaming can
have in increasing partnerships, support, and user association of the library as a safe and regular
third place to visit.


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