Gettin' jiggy at the library

Filed under: Teens, Day Care & Education, Gadgets, That's Entertainment

Some folks think that the library -- a stodgy place filled with dusty books -- is an outdated concept in this era of the internet and computers. I would strongly disagree. In my eyes, the library has always been about being a shared resource, not just about books. There are lots of books, magazines, and even websites of which the average person cannot justify the high cost, for the one or two times they might want or need to use them.

Unfortunately, libraries don't always get the chance to show that they're still relevant before getting shut down as a cost-cutting measure. Well, in Michigan, the libraries are fighting back, reinventing themselves and drawing in new generations of kids. It's not easy, though. "Getting teens to come to the library is right up there with getting them to go to church: It's not exactly the first place they want to go," said Christine Lind Hage, director of the Rochester Hills Public Library.

To accomplish that, the libraries are now stocking video games and hosting video game tournaments. Hage added more than 1800 video games to the library's collection and an average of 1300 are checked out on a daily basis. In addition, teens come to the library to compete with other teens at games like Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution.

While it's not Moby Dick or War and Peace, it is getting kids into the library and perhaps, someday, they might return to check out one of those. In the meantime, it shows that libraries can evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of their community.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.