High Impact, Low Cost: Video Game Events in Libraries

Thanks again to Kieran Hixon and Jesse Weaver of the John C. Fremont Public Library. They gave a great presentation this morning on their home-grown, open source PC Reservation program (recordings and information about upcoming webinars can be found on the WebJunction site) . Instead of recapping the webinar, I'd like to share a quote from our recent interview with Kieran. She tells a great story here about the impact that teen gaming events have had on her small-town library. She started these tournaments with equipment she already had in the library and donations from the community. So it didn't put a big strain on the budget.

We have a projector that hooks up to laptops for Power Points and I thought, “We have to get a video game system and hold a tournament.” What could be better than playing on a screen that’s six feet tall? Let’s get everybody here. The first thing I did was ask people in the community to donate stuff and I got more Xboxes than you can shake a stick at because the community does want to be asked and does want to help.

So we did our first tournament. We had two TVs in two different corners. One was a Dance Dance Revolution. One was a driving game, Burnout I think. We close on Saturdays at 2:00 and so we scheduled the tournament at 2:30 and at 2:15 there was this kid knocking on the back door. Well, we were still setting up and the parking lot’s full of kids! It’s like a riot and we looked outside and sure enough there were fifty kids standing in line and we were “Oh, my.” We expected maybe twelve, thirteen kids. It was crazy the tournament we had -- it went really well.

We made a rule that you had to have a library card couldn’t have any fines on it; then you could play the video games. The amount of kids we had sign up for cards was outstanding, and the kids that came in that didn’t have library cards said, “Oh, I haven’t been in here. This place is really cool.” It’s really brought a lot of kids into the library and now we have probably 80, 90 video games and it’s the second highest circing collection in our library. We have a video game tournament every month. The last video game tournament sixty kids showed up. Think about it ‘cause our district’s only 5,000 people.

"The community does want to be asked and does want to help." And teens really want to play video games. Provide the space, some guidance and some encouragement, and the gamers themselves will do the rest.



Hey Chris,


Great article! Could you tell me if you have any higher ratings than E or G? Do you ever use games that are rated higher? Trying to work out the nuts and bolts of a program at our own library.


Thanks a bunch