Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Video Games in Academic Libraries

The Microfiche Reading Room
A few months ago I wrote a blog post on converting a microfiche reading room into a video game research space for a small liberal arts university library.  Since then, the microfiche cabinets have been moved to the basement, the copier has been moved to the front of the library, and network drops and power have been installed and connected to the room.

It is slowly coming together - well, it is back to being an empty room - a clean slate if you will. 

The future Video Game Research Room at the half-way point.
I have a brand new Xbox 360 with Kinect in my office, a 50 inch LCD that is still in the box, the mount for the TV is mounted on the wall, and I am looking to get some of the Art students over to do a mural in the room (I am picturing the crew from Mass Effect with a dark planet background, but we will see what happens.)

My plans (down the road) also include installing a powerful workstation that can run modern PC games and usability testing software, maybe a two-way mirror so that research students can observe their subject, improved lighting (still have the fluorescent panels in there), and perhaps some sound proofing.  I don't have the funds to go all out, so I am trying my best to evolve the room step by step.

Since I started this project I have been looking around to see what other academic institutions are doing with video game spaces, after all video games in the library is not a new idea really, but few academic libraries out there are really promoting their video game prowess to the world.  Public libraries were out front on video games, but for a different reason. Academic libraries strive to connect resources that will support and enhance scholarly activity. 

My idea is to make the room a very usable space for not only undergraduate video game research but also a place to potentially record podcasts and give small lectures.

Below are some interesting internet finds for the academic librarian looking to take on video games in your library.  Pay attention to some of the comments located at the bottom of these articles, as they will likely surprise you both for the Pro and Con arguments of the still controversial topic of video games in academic libraries.

Video Game Academic Library Links

U of C creates video game library space

Hosting a Library Game Night Guide for Small Academic

Rethinking Video Games in the Academic Library

Videogame Night in the Academic Library: Video Games as Educational

*Information contained within these pages do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Schreiner University

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