Space Invaders: Gaming Spaces and Library Innovation

In recent years, libraries have begun focusing on the creation of new spaces to meet changing user needs. While youth culture has formed strong ties to video games and gaming culture; the creation of gaming spaces within libraries have the potential to strengthen community bonds and perform dually educational and recreational functions.  As video games change how we interact with narratives and fictional worlds, how will library spaces change with them to create new features like gaming spaces? While the answer is up in the air, the possibility is definite.civ

In relatively recent years, video games have redefined narrative, storytelling, and world-building. In many cases, libraries already maintain collections of video games. A recent article titled Champions of Play: Boston-Area Libraries Get in the Game by Matt Akers explored the growing availability and impact of video games within Massachusetts libraries. Focusing on the Newton Free Library, the Watertown Free Public Library, and the Dover Town Library, each institution found that video games exist as a popular and valuable part of their growing collections [Akers, 2013].

Libraries have their shifted attention toward creating innovative spaces to meet changing needs and secure continuing use within their communities – and creation gaming spaces may soon become a emergent trend which may change how we use and view library collections. While library spaces are dependent on community needs and available resources, gaming spaces would promote community outreach while increasing community awareness of materials within the library while stimulating their use. As we move into a new realm of development within information institutions and community hubs, creating new spaces for patrons to interact with library materials is key as we move into the future.

Further Reading:

  • Matt Akers, “Champions of Play: Boston-Area Libraries Get in the Game”. December, 2013.

  • LibGaming, Group!forum/LibGaming

  • “Bringing Gaming [and Gamers] to Your Library: 100 Tips and Resoruces –” February, 2013.


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