Notes on bringing kids and teens into the library with gaming tournaments
As far back as 5th grade, I remember the most popular reason to go to the library was to hop on one of the Apple IIes and play Oregon Trail — and I was a kid who liked books. Setting up Mario Kart and Dance, Dance Revolution tournaments to get kids in the door is a great idea. Not to mention it breaks down the grizzled stereotypes and hang-ups that adults tend to have about playing video games. News Flash: not all games are violent and it's ok to relax and enjoy yourself with them.
Several people told me that they hadn't expected to enjoy themselves so much, and that you truly don't understand gaming until you experience it yourself. You haven't lived until you've seen a roomful of librarians competing against each other in Mario Kart and DDR! In fact, several people stayed after the second session ended just to keep playing (and I think Dan B. probably stopped to purchase a PlayStation and DDR package on his way home!).
This warms my heart.