eSports at the Library

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The library has been fortunate to be in the paper a lot recently. Not because of controversy like other libraries, but because staff has been working hard to both provide programming and new opportunities for you, our patrons. One of these opportunities is the esports team in the youth department.

I know there are probably some thinking, “Oh goodness, aren’t kids on technology enough?”

Yes, they are on technology a lot. That’s primarily where their interests lie. Why try and fight it? Every day after school I have a department filled to capacity with youth utilizing our 11 public access machines upstairs, some utilizing Chromebooks, and others on their devices utilizing library Wi-Fi. My biggest questions have been “what are they learning” and “what can I teach them.” That’s where our esports project came in.

A lot of the above points to patrons utilizing library space for internet, as there are a lack of connectivity at home for wireless or high-speed internet. Recent news reports and statewide initiatives reiterate this trend. Furthermore, a 2016 Pew Institute report, Digital Readiness Gaps, reveals that rural residents fall far below their suburban and urban counterparts in their preparedness to use technology. Lower levels of digital readiness; mean that our rural young people are not on a level playing field after high school graduation. The Pew Institute report, The Future of Jobs and Job Training (2017), notes that “… thanks to digital innovation, everyone can embed learning continuously in their everyday lives…create digital learning spaces to rival classrooms as ‘places’ where learning happen[s]. Via simulation, gaming, digital presentations – combined with hands-on, real-world experience – learning and reeducation will move out of books and into the world.”

Thus far the young people involved in the program have learned a lot about older technology, and college and career readiness. I think at this point I have enough material to publish a small zine (a condensed version of a magazine) of their stories, tips, tricks, and original artwork of stories they too have created (and they truly have created a TON of material on their own time.)

I invite any of the members of our community to tour the youth department and see the impact we’re having in enriching and supplementing instruction patrons receive in traditional school. I am also always available to chat with anyone about the specific curriculum I am using thanks to the North American Scholastic Esports Federation, or the future of esports in general.

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