Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gaming in the library

As much as I hate to disagree publicly with a fellow Texas librarian, this blog post really irritated me.  His argument is that a permissive gaming policy is a good thing for libraries, especially high school libraries, to adopt.  I really couldn't disagree more.

He mentions concerns I would immediately raise--the lack of computers, ditching class to spend the hour playing instead of working.  My library has 44 computers on the floor and most mornings all of them are full with students who need to finish something before the bell.  How can I justify letting a gamer hog a computer when a student needs to complete a graded assignment?  And I spend a good portion of my day --way too much of it, in fact, sending kids back to class who were sent here to finish an assignment and instead they choose to play Minecraft (the game the blogger addresses.)

With all the concern about testing and dropping scores and lack of time for students, is this the best use of our time?  I know--there's the argument about games teaching leadership, cooperation, etc,etc, etc.....  Okay, I can see it being a part of a teacher supervised lesson. I've used them myself!  But I don't want the library to turn into a gaming parlor.

Part of my hesitation is what I've had to deal with at my school.  When I first came here, this library was a zoo.  Students wouldn't come in here to work--it was loud, students ran around yelling, throwing things--you get the picture.  It was worse than the behavior in the commons.  Every computer was taken up by a gamer.  And because games were allowed, kids would try to see where else they could go on the computers-porn was rampant in here.  The library was the joke of the school.

Now five long years later, this library functions as it should.  Students come in here to work and yelling is not tolerated.  Gaming is also not tolerated.  And because trying to get to a game is "against the rules," I don't have any trouble with anything worse. 

And I have another serious problem with saying games are okay--if students have enough free time in the day to play games (that aren't part of a teacher designed lesson) then perhaps their schedule isn't rigorous enough.  Aren't we all trying to add rigour to our curriculums? I mean, after all, America is falling down in the ranking worldwide in terms of education.  Or perhaps we need to look at the grades of those very students.  I would imagine there's room for improvement.

So count on me to firmly say,  "NO games in my library."

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