I grow weary of obscure themed days like “Talk Like a Pirate Day,” “Hug an Asian Day,” and this strangely marketed “Valentine’s Day.” So when I received an email telling me that November 13th will be National Gaming Day, I instinctively rolled my eyes and figured it was the brainchild of some Facebook user with too much time on his hands after the failure of “Walk Around With a Dead Squirrel on Your Head Day.” I began pondering what National Gaming Day was supposed to entail. Are people supposed to stay at home playing video games all day? During my days a single male, I typically called that Saturday… and Sunday… and Friday. At least they were fun video games.
But looking at the associated website, I notice that various libraries across the country are setting up video game rooms and encouraging table top gaming people to set up rooms. The idea is to promote games and socializing among game players. Libraries are also competing with each other in online tournaments to see which branch is the highest scoring one. The intended video games are intended to be of the family friendly or group play dynamic, so do not expect and “Grand Theft Auto” or “Gears of War.” Having such a day in the library is sure to bring people together-and into the library.
The halcyon days of using the library for research, book reading, and group studies are slowly fading thanks to modern conveniences like the Internet, the e-book, and online communications. People still use libraries, but they are evolving to meet user demands that include CDs, DVDs, and free Internet usage. Given that most of the children I see are using the computers present to play games, throwing in a day of gaming is a way for libraries to accommodate their users. I am not too sure of the educational benefits of throwing up video game days in the library, but at least it brings more people into one. Perhaps the libraries will display various books and resources related to the video game field such as programming, industry, history, and art.
The cynic in me does wonder when libraries will start setting up video game rooms in order to get more patrons to visit. Perhaps they can charge a play per game fee. I think a quarter per game will suffice. I am surprised no one has thought of this yet.