We’re going to play a little game. A much hyped electronic device will be released in the next little bit, and here are some details. Do you know what it is?
3 fast processors
Social networks, learning
Got it yet?
Digital media hub
Problem solving, research
All High Definition content
Will make millions of dollars this December
Any luck? The device in question is the XBOX 360. For more details on the (quite amazing) specs of the machine, see all of the links from The Xbox 360 Unveiled on slashdot, but let me say here that the thing will have more computing power than any machine on which you might be reading this right now.
The most interesting announcement to me was the fact that all XBOX 360s will be able to participate in XBOX Live, which is the online component to the system, for free (though the free accounts will be limited). And all XBOX games will be Live ready. XBOX Live allows players to do things like create an online identity, participate in multiplayer games and download additional content. This will be a huge sphere of information and social interaction in which libraries aren’t present. I’m not saying that libraries need to have an online presence on XBOX Live (if anyone wants to pay me to do that, I’m listening), but simply that we need to be aware it is there.
Sadly, there’s another way in which libraries won’t be present when it comes to XBOX 360: meeting the cultural needs of our younger patrons. To my knowledge there aren’t many libraries that circulate videogames, although doing so would greatly increase libraries’ relevancy for many young people. So would holding gaming nights at the library, like Ann Arbor Library District and Bloomington Public Library The mission statement at the library for which I work states that we’re to “meet the informational, educational, cultural and recreational needs” of our community. What about you?
If yours says something similar, and you’re a member library of the Metropolitan Library System, you’re in luck. Jenny and I are organizing and writing a grant to bring gaming to MLS libraries. We’re hoping to get a “Gaming at Your Library” kit that can be circulated to member libraries. The kit will consist of the necessary equipment to hold a gaming night at a library. The details of the equipment aren’t 100% solidified, but we’re looking to get about 12 consoles (6 Playstations, 6 XBOX 360), 11 LCDs, 1 projector, 1 screen, and perhaps some headphones and stereo equipment. With readymade PR, this kit will be a no-brainer way to captivate the young patrons of MLS libraries.
To get things started, there’s the Gaming at Your Library tech summit. From there, we’re going to accept member libraries’ requests to be part of the action. More details about the hardware, games we’re going to choose, and other developments will follow. We’re also looking for comments and suggestions, so don’t be shy.