The latest issue of the other AL, American Libraries, has a cover story on "Gaming @ your library," prompting me, as usual, to be "annoyed @ your ampersands." I was surprised. The cover had pictures of board games, not videogames. Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, Monopoly, etc. I always thought the Gamey Librarians were talking about boring and pointless videogames when they were talking about gaming @ their libraries, not boring and pointless board games. This is truly a revelation to me.
With the reluctance and slight wince I always have when opening a publication of the ALA, I turned to the cover story, thinking perhaps that the writer for AL didn’t know much about games. Apparently that’s happened before. But no, the libraries were really working with board games, though there was also mention of something called a Wii, which I hear from informed sources is some sort of videogame apparatus.
The next page after the article reported on a survey from Syracuse about library gaming, though, and it was clear that those people Syracuse interviewed don’t consider board games to be real games, because it’s all about Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution and other silliness.
I hate to admit it, but this time I’m going to have to agree with AL, because the article was taking a much broader perspective than the gamey librarians, and was specifically discussing educational games and how they were helping the little kiddies. The gamey librarians aren’t interested in helping the kiddies. They just want the kiddies to have FUN! @ their library!
At first I thought the gamey librarians were doing nothing more than wasting time and money on frivolities, but it’s just possible that they’re doing their best to make the children of today into the unproductive citizens of tomorrow. Since the children are our future, I’m counting on those citizens of tomorrow to be productive as all get out so that their 35% payroll tax can pay my Social Security.
Why do I say this? You might have missed the story that some job recruiters encourage prospective employees not to mention that they play online games. (I missed it until a kind reader sent this to me.) World of Warcraft seems to be the worst game, but in my typically reactionary and uncritical way, I’m going to expand the problem to all videogames. It seems some employers don’t like gamey employees because the employees are always thinking about the games and not about their work. This seems to be an even bigger distraction than Facebook status updating, Twittering, and other ridiculous distractions so many people seem to have these days.
We know this is reliable, because the small flurry of stories on news sites around the world can all be traced back to an anonymous Australian blogger who reported being told this by a job recruiter. As far as I’m concerned, anything said by anonymous bloggers has a lot of credibility, because those people can speak truth to power without having to worry about a torch-wielding mob of earnest ideologues chasing them through the forest in an attempt to crush dissent from the dominant ideology. And you dissent-hating, torch-wielding ideologues know who you are!
So if it’s true that all these videogames are making people unproductive and less likely to get or keep jobs (and we have reason to think it is), I’m not sure it’s a good idea for libraries to let themselves be revolutionized by the gamey librarians. It used to be librarians wanted to help people become productive citizens. We’d help them learn to read, give them access to newspapers and job hunting tools, and bring them a warm cup of cocoa and give them a pep talk when they weren’t feeling their best. Now we’ve got these gamey librarians trying to drive everyone to distraction and ruin our country. I implore the gamey librarians: Please stop now! Not just for my sake, but for all of us, especially the children.