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Syracuse iSchool Professor Scott Nicholson quoted in article about video games in libraries

The Chronicle of Higher Education quoted Syracuse University School of Information Studies Professor Scott Nicholson in an article “Video-Game Rooms Become the Newest Library Space Invaders” about the recent movement in libraries to incorporate video games and game systems into their collections and the cost surrounding these additions.

"They shouldn't just build that collection because it's hip," he said, adding that purchasing video games often means libraries are not purchasing something else.

The article mentions libraries at the University of Calgary, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, University of Santa Cruz, University of Texas at Austin, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook are all incorporating video games into their collections, and some university courses are studying games in classes. In addition to the around 300 colleges offering courses in game design, English classes are studying interactive narratives and media-studies are looking at the cultural impact of violent games.

The primary criticism of adding video games and systems to libraries is the cost. Though older gaming systems can be purchased for less than a third of the cost of a new textbook, newer gaming systems require high-end computers, television screens, and consoles costing up to $5,000.

As libraries deal with tighter budgets and rising journal costs, Nicholson told the Chronicle, it’s important the games that libraries do purchase support the overall mission of the library.

Nicholson combines his backgrounds as a librarian, computer programmer, a gamer and statistician both in the classroom and in his research role as a library scientist. One of his research areas is the intersection of gaming in libraries in which he studies the ways in which libraries use recreational gaming activities and explores what activities are most effective for different user groups and different goals. Nicholson is the author of the book “Everyone Plays at the Library” and numerous scholarly articles about the impact of gaming on library attendance and interactivity. Nicholson holds an MLIS from Texas Christian University and a PhD from the University of North Texas.

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