Libraries and Video Games: The Practical

Libraries and Video Games: The Practical

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8175-0.ch009

Abstract

Being able to integrate video games into a library is more easily said than done. There are many different ways to do it and many different behind-the-scenes activities that need to be thought of before embarking on a video game project. Collection development is of primary concern before any programs can be thought of because without a collection related to video games (or the games themselves) there can be no programs. There must also be good planning for how the video games are used because of the many varieties of games as well as the different ways in which they can be used and the different environments they can be used in. Plan well so that the video games can effectively help the library and audience that needs them. This chapter further explores libraries and video games.
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Collection Development Of Video Games

Collection development is an issue that should not be ignored when talking about video games, as it is one of the main ways in which libraries can contribute to having video games in the libraries. Collecting video games in a library or archive is just an extension to the traditional library services of collecting information. With the massive collections of different types of games being produced, and not cheaply, libraries need to think hard and carefully about how and what video games should be added to the collection.

One of the major difficulties in collection development for video games comes with trying to state what types of games will be accumulated. Robson and Durkee (2012) state that they focused on “mainstream, commercial materials of high popular appeal”, but that they have begun expanding upon that to include “independent, serious, and artistic games.” (p. 81) Comparing this list to the genres that are found in Chapter 1 shows very little that can be compared between the two lists. As stated in Chapter 1, defining or grouping video games by genre should not be done because it is trying to define a new type of media by the definitions from a previous type of media. Games should be collected and organized by their own rights, rather than by the way previous media has been defined.

Collection development of video games should then be closely tied in with the collection development of the library as a whole. Games should not just be purchased, they should have significance to the collection or for the users. Defining what the significance of the video game collections is for an institution can be the hard part. Boblin and Pagowsky (2011) offer these rationales for video game collections:

Entertainment and community engagement (often public libraries), supporting the curriculum (often academic), education and socialization (often school), and preservation and cultural significance (often archives and museums).” (p. 43)

These reasons do not have to be linked to a specific kind of library, but the reasons given are a good starting point for trying to develop good collection development for video games. The collection development does not have to be limited to just one of these reasons either, it can be mixed and mingled to fit the situation. One thing is certain though, collection development in regards to video games should not be done just for the sake of it; there needs to be a well-defined reason, and a well-defined use for the video games that are being added to the collection.

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