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. Recommendations: 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 Introduction 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 software. * 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 game. 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.‖ From: http://www.search-institute.org/aboutsearch 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: Respect: 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. Flexibility: 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 sign-ups. 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 Options 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 events. Red Octane Guitar Hero Game and 2 players 69.99 Best Buy For PS2 Guitar maximum for Online Controller PS2. Increasingly popular. 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 TOTAL 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 Storage: 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. Security: 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. Staffing: 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 points: [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 ideas. 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 friends.‖ 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. .