UW-Whitewater’s Andersen Library is mentioned in “Video-Game Rooms Become the Newest Library Space Invaders,” an article in this week’s Chronicle of Higher Education.
This article reports on campus libraries adding game rooms and game collections. Indeed we did exactly that, because UWW’s College of Arts & Communication offers a Media Arts & Game Development program, and it needs resources to support faculty teaching and student learning as much as any other academic program on campus. The Library adds new game titles and hardware based on MAGD faculty recommendations, including a handheld Nintendo 3DS console and 13 games for it added this spring.
Do students who aren’t in the MAGD program check out games for fun? I’m sure they do.
We also buy feature films, music CDs and databases of streaming music, and children’s fiction and nonfiction. Some people might wonder about those, too. But we have a children’s literature course in the College of Education and Professional Studies, not to mention all those education majors who will be using those kinds of materials in their classes someday. Students in the literature course, by the way, create wonderful themed displays and bulletin boards using children’s materials each semester. The streaming music databases are available to all students, staff and faculty, but were added with the support of the Music faculty. The Communication Dept. is teaching a special studies course on the history of cinema right now, and also has an “Introduction to Cinema” course. But many of the feature films have educational value in other disciplines, and are added at the request of faculty for use in their courses. We also have a chess table in the Library. There’s a chess club on campus, and a course in the Mathematical and Computer Sciences Dept. on the logic of chess.
Do we mind if students, faculty, or staff also use these resources for purposes other than their courses? Not at all! If you have children, you may welcome the opportunity to find materials for them to enjoy in our children’s collections. If you need a study break, “check out” the game room and a video game. If you have a long holiday weekend coming up and want to have a movie marathon, go ahead! Do you commute to campus? Try an audio book! If you enjoy reading for pleasure, we have fiction and nonfiction, in print or as ebooks on a Kindle, for you. Do you and a friend want to play a game of chess? Why not?
Andersen Library’s strategic directions/guiding principles, drawn up by a committee that included faculty and library staff, recognized “the need and desire for co-curricular materials in its collection, including current books, audio books, films, music, and games.” The directions go on to say that we add these materials very selectively and that expenditures on these materials “will not exceed 2% of the Library’s materials budget.” We emphasize those materials that also support the curriculum.
And that tie to the curriculum also explains all the books we buy with titles such as Gaming and cognition: Theories and practice from the learning sciences, The art of the video game, Why we fought: America’s wars in film and history, The complete book of chess strategy: Grandmaster techniques from A to Z, and Queer images: A history of gay and lesbian film in America.
Every year the academic departments on campus have an allocation from the Library’s acquisitions budget to be used to add materials to the Library collections that support their courses. In addition, we offer an opportunity for anyone from the campus community to make suggestions for additions to the collections.
If you need assistance with finding materials, please ask a librarian.