Friday, January 31, 2014

Video Game Collection Questions

Two years ago, I wrote a post on taking over collection development for the Young Adult video game collection at my library. A few things have changed since then, and some questions emerged which I thought it might be helpful to answer here.

In the last year, I've been able to grow the video game collection at this location (kept behind the desk for security reasons) to a modest number of games. This means that when people come in looking for games I at least have something to show them to confirm that we do order games. Sometimes managing a collection that's almost always circulating--and therefore intangible--is hard to market to patrons. I periodically remind my co-workers that we do have video games in the collection, and I keep my ears open when patrons are at the circulation desk. There's been more than one occasion that I've sprinted over there to let patrons know what we have and guide them through the process of putting games at other locations on hold. The major roadblock I run in to is that I'm not allowed to buy the games that seemingly are most in demand, because they are rated M for Mature and it's a Young Adult collection. On the flip side, these are also the games that are most likely to be stolen, so . . . 

YA Video Game Programming

One of our branches has a Wii and is interested in doing YA programming that involves gaming sessions. I asked Twitter to recommend the best Wii games for teen programs, and these were the results:

Super Smash Brothers Brawl
Mario Kart
Just Dance
Wii Sports

People noted that the teens liked games that were fast-paced and multi-player. Getting copies of some of the older games might be tricky, unless you have petty cash and can visit a nearby game store. Most of the list above weren't available in Ingram or at the AV Café, which we use to order games. Our branch is getting a standard Wii, but the Wii U console has now been available for over a year. In light of that, here's a list of multi-player games for the Wii U:

Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed
Super Mario 3D World
New Super Mario Bros U
Rayman Legends

Platform Changes

The reality of platform changes leads us neatly to our other question, which came from Heather on Twitter:
Both Michelle and I answered this question, which has recently become an issue with the release of the Xbox One and Playstation 4 consoles. Our general consensus was that anyone beginning or continuing development for a new video game collection at their library should not disregard the earlier versions of gaming platforms. 
Unfortunately, the new Xbox and Playstation consoles are not currently backward compatible (though PS4 will be, for a price) and therefore can not play games from earlier versions. The Wii U is backward compatible and can play Wii games. Thank you, Nintendo! It would be ideal if the next-gen models were backward compatible, so that patrons with the new consoles could play the older games we buy, but that's not how these companies make their money. Your patrons will be interested in borrowing games for the new consoles, but unless your library is in an extremely wealthy locale, it will be some time before the majority of your patrons are exclusively playing next-generation consoles.

Late last year, I started adding Xbox One and Playstation 4 games to the library's collection by ordering duplicates of the most (projected to be) popular games for Xbox 360 and PS3 formats. If you're ordering new games for you library, continue buying last-generation games for the next several years, at least past the point where they are no longer manufacturing the most popular games in both formats. It was only recently that it was no longer possible for me to purchase Playstation 2 games new (a format some of my patrons still request and check out).

After a year, check the circulation of the PS3 vs. the PS4 version of the same game--assuming both stay in circulation--that may tell you something about what your patrons prefer. And whenever I have someone at the desk to place video game holds, I always ask them what they'd like to see in the collection.

Do you have any burning video game collection questions?

Monday, January 27, 2014

I got this email from a staff member today. It may have made my Monday. It isn't about being a digital-only evangelist, it's about helping people (patrons AND staff) see things differently than before. It's about print, about digital. About audio. About Fiction. About Non-fiction. About librarians. About. Everything.

That's why I come to work.

"Cool! Thanks for sharing.

And, btw, I think we’ve had a discussion or two about how much I hate e-books, got to have my hardcover books. Well…

My husband got me a Kindle for Christmas and I thought, oh shoot, this is going to be wasted money. But I’ve got to at least give it a good-faith effort. So I picked a book—The Game by Tom (Hinshel) Wood, who is one of my favorite authors—and gave it a go. Tough sledding at first, but about halfway through I was sold. So much easier reading in bed at night; also easier reading when I go out to eat, takes up so much less space.

There are only a couple of drawbacks I’ve found so far. I have this spatial positioning thing going on in my head, so that if I’m reading along and come to a character I can’t remember, I would have a memory in my mind of where it was on the page, so I could flip back through the pages fairly easily to find where that character was introduced and refresh my memory. That’s going to be a lot tougher with the Kindle, but once I get the hang of the Search button, it’ll probably be fine. The other thing is that I’m having trouble finding e-books to check out.  Part of it is that I can’t seem to get the hang of how to do the searches, but probably also that not everything is available as an e-book.

Even stranger than my reluctant conversion to e-books is that I was cleaning up some bookshelves and came across some of my stuff from when I was going through the MLS program. And one of the papers I’d done for a library automation class had this gem in it: “I view the advent of ebooks as the most important trend in library automation, believing that they have the potential to totally revise the face of libraries as we know them.” Now, mind you, this is a paper I wrote back in 2002, so it’s only taken me 12 years to come around.

Like I said, I think you and I have had a discussion or two wherein I dug in my heels and gave one of those “pry my hardcovers out of my cold, dead hands” speeches and although you must have been laughing on the inside, knowing that I’d come around eventually, you listened very sympathetically.

And now here we are. You were right all along, of course. And apparently our e-book collection is attracting attention from distant lands—like California. I got an email query sent to the circmanager last week from a woman in California wanting to know if she could get a non-resident card and, if so, would she then be able to check out e-books.

Just wanted to let you know that I’m starting to come around, dipping at least a toe into the 21st century. But it’s people like you who aren’t afraid to forge ahead who really make all of this possible.

Not to mention the entertaining emails you send out!


Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Reflections

Good Morning!

Still thinking about what it means to be inclusive as a public librarian. I can't tell you how irritated I get when I see librarians talking down to the public they're supposed to be welcoming. That goes both ways, too. There is no reason to make people feel bad for liking esoteric or obscure things either. There is no reason to make people feel bad about anything they like, really. But, honestly, enjoying highbrow items doesn't carry the same stigma as liking "popular" materials. Some day soon, I hope we all just get tired of trying to prop up our own tastes by putting down everyone else.

Huh. I'm too cold to reflect on anything else just now.