Last fall, Washington County Library launched a new addition to our physical collection – video games! When the games for PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Wii U began circulating in October, we hoped they’d be embraced by current library users and help bring new community members into the library.
Within the first week, 50 games were checked out at each of the libraries with displays, and another 30 games were put on hold through the library catalog.
But one of our favorite stories about the launch of the collection has nothing to do with circulation numbers – it’s about how video games helped one young library user connect to all of the resources that are available just by having a library card.
Ten-year-old Anubis and his family have been using Hardwood Creek Library in Forest Lake since the summer of 2017. They live across the street from the library, and are frequent visitors. Although they visit often, for a period of time they avoided getting library cards. The family preferred to use guest passes to access computers, and they didn’t use the library collection.
Anubis typically arrived at the library stocked with snacks, grabbed a guest pass, and settled at a computer to play online games or do homework. He never seemed too excited to be at the library, and library staff hadn’t been able to engage him. Then, we began circulating video games.
Anubis visited the library the day after video games rolled out and he enjoyed a completely different experience. Before he could make his way to the guest passes, Hardwood Creek Library’s new video game display caught his eye. His face immediately lit up!
He asked staff if the games were for sale, and when he learned that they were available to borrow for free he immediately asked his mother for a library card. Anubis chose two games very deliberately (Mortal Kombat and Grand Theft Auto), and his mother gave him permission to check out one.
Since that afternoon, Anubis has begun to happily chat with library staff and regularly borrows not just games, but also music and books. Several days after he received his library card, Anubis convinced his older brother to get a card as well. Now when Anubis visits the library, he is proud to show off his library card!