Holding Us Back

Just when you start to think that the world’s image of libraries is begining to catch up to the reality, something like this (via Halfawake) has to happen.  Yes the state auditor of Nebraska is investigating a library for daring to purchase a Wii and for trying it out on work time.  Furthermore, the state was spurred on by a local news report that all but condemed the library for being a library.  Oh, and we’re only talking about $400 or so to begin with.

So, a story about my new favorite patron for those doubters that are still out there.  We have a high school student who came to my library a few weeks back to meet a student he was helping to tutor.  While there he toured our remodeled local history department, gushed over our new equipment, and learned of our monthly Rock Band nights.  He also found out that I had challenged some of the players in the past and instantly threw down the gauntlet with me.  

So he showed up, brought some friends, lost (but only because he selected one of my best songs), and promised to come back with more friends next month.  He’s also going to advertise our game nights on the high school’s radio station, and he even gave an impromptu speech to his scout troop about how the library’s not just about books anymore.

You can’t ask for better word of mouth than that.  Our Wii was one of the best investments we’ve made, and the up front cost for it was nothing when you consider how many programs we’ve been able to run using it (hiring a children’s performer can cost a few hundred for a single show).

So Nebraska, get with the program (not to mention the 21st century) and don’t ostracisize a library for doing something that will continue to let it be a vital part of its community.

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3 Comments on “Holding Us Back”

  1. cornfedgamer Says:

    Hey hey now. Don’t knock Nebraska. The grand majority of us, that I have talked to, side with the librarians. This is just the action of some bean counter with too much time on his hands. I declare the cost of this audit was a larger waste of taxpayer dollars than the purchase of gaming equipment by the library commission. I applaud the foresight of the NLC for utilizing YouTube, Flickr and Second Life as cost-effective ways to educate state libraries about how to add video games to their programming and continue their mission to expose people of all ages to new media.
    The local news report is kind of lacking, I covered this in my blog, too, if anyone wants to see the videos, photos and primary documents that led to this controversy.
    http://cornfedgamer.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/nebraska-bureaucrat-says-games-and-libraries-dont-mix/

  2. geekylibrarian Says:

    Sorry for accusing the state in my ire cornfedgamer. You’re correct on all counts, and I love your incredibly well researched post on the subject, particularly the quote from the state auditor that essentially says it’s unnecessary for libraries to purchase games because kids already like them.

  3. cornfedgamer Says:

    Forgiven and thank you.

    Yeah, it really shows how out-of-touch our State Auditor is. And how arrogant he is in thinking he can tell library professionals how best to do their job.


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