In a newspaper column published last week, Ruben Navarrette endorsed the idea that libraries should have video games for kids to play.
Given that libraries face the prospect of losing a few generations of readers because of disruptive technologies (that have, coincidentally, severely disrupted the newspaper industry), anything that leads them to reading is to be encouraged, he wrote.
I don't disagree with the sentiment.
But, I wonder if there's really a connection between reading and playing video games. I doubt it.
I do not doubt, though, the fact that the future for libraries is not necessarily exclusively tied to reading.
Instead, our future is to become the center of the community for intellectual activity, particularly in a community without an institution of higher education. A college, even a community college, will be looked to for that function. So many towns and cities don't have a college, however, and libraries should be the place where people gather to discuss important matters and where information about civic (and non-civic) life is available. Libraries must also function to bridge the gap between information haves and have-nots.
So, yes, video games will be available in the library of the future. But so will government budgets and guest speakers and 3-D printers and all kinds of other materials to spur creativity and energize a community.
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