The Serious Business of Having Fun

Searching for a way to get the attention of your younger patrons? Think that gaming has no place in a library? Think again. Several libraries in Minnesota are providing teens with entertaining, and sometimes educational, games to keep them coming back.

The Redwood Falls Public Library has embraced gaming, social networking sites, such as MySpace, and chatting as a way to appeal to youth. "We're just sort of dabbling into some of the gaming a little bit. We did a Guitar Hero Challenge this summer. We also did a Dance, Dance Revolution. " said library Director Chris Beyerl in a recent interview with the MaintainIT Project. "I know that there are websites like YouTube and some of the others-- even though they do contain very controversial material, there are some important marketing tools and ways that we can use those resources to encourage teens to use our library and to build those connections with teens."

She goes on to mention the importance of Web 2.0 tools for all ages. "It's important for libraries to embrace those tools and see them as another way to teach people. We can show patrons the correct ways to use them and what to be aware of. When the Internet first came out there was the paranoia about how potentially dangerous it was going to be for people too. I think we can use this as a teaching moment."

The Start Tribune recently published a similar story about several libraries in the Twin Cities area.