Nebraska Officials Upset That Librarian Used Funds To Make The Library Cool For Kids

from the how-dare-they! dept

GamePolitics alerts us to the rather ridiculous situation in Nebraska, where state officials were investigating some librarians for buying a PlayStation 2 and Rock Band set for use in the library. Considering all of the questions over the past few years about keeping libraries relevant in an age of computers and the internet, attracting kids with a fun game seems like a pretty good idea… but not to Nebaska’s state auditor. In fact, the very point that it was fun for kids was seen as a bad thing:

The purchase of gaming equipment is a questionable use of public funds. It is common knowledge that children enjoy games and toys, so there appears to have been little need to purchase the games.

Instead, public funds should apparently only be used on things that kids hate and that won’t get them interested in coming to the library at all!

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Comments on “Nebraska Officials Upset That Librarian Used Funds To Make The Library Cool For Kids”

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96 Comments
hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: It's Nebraska

Actually, it’s pretty friggin’ normal, like anywhere else in the country. This is one stupid auditor. Need we even go into the idiocy of politicians in a “forward, progressive, model” place like, say, California? Not to mention, you say Nebraska is backward because of one stupid auditor. Wouldn’t it make just as much sense to say they are progressive because of one thoughtful librarian? Give me a break.

Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

Things they don't know they'll enjoy

I think the notion is that kids need to be introduced to fun things that they don’t yet know are fun, like Chaucer, thermodynamics, and 18th century copyright law.

Why introduce kids to things they already know are fun?

I ain’t agreeing, just suggesting this may be the perspective in play – or should I say ‘at work’.

Ima Fish (profile) says:

Re: Things they don't know they'll enjoy

kids need to be introduced to fun things that they don’t yet know are fun… Why introduce kids to things they already know are fun?

Why does it have to be mutually exclusive? Why should the library only include stuff that kids do not know is fun?

That narrow view of what should and should not be included in a library seems arbitrary and does not appear to be based on any logic or reason. Other than “Kids should never have fun unless they don’t know it’s fun.” God, how does that make any sense?!

And furthermore, do you see anything wrong with having a “music room” with a bunch of rhythm instruments such as a drum set, maracas, tambourines, and the like? With an explanation on how rhythm works? Because that’s basically what Rock Band does. It can be use to teach kids all about rhythm, about measures, the differences between quarter notes, 8th notes, etc., time signatures, and the like.

But maybe you think that kids already know that music is fun, so any and all attempts at teaching music should be avoided, right?

Norm says:

It's a library

Why would you supply games there even if it is fun? Would you support giving them pony rides, free candy?

Have you noticed that the comments follow whatever direction Mike slants his title?

I think that if Mike has used the title “Nebraska Officials get it right – libraries are for research – living rooms are for fun”

Then the comments would have followed that lead like sheep.

Ima Fish (profile) says:

Re: It's a library

Why would you supply games there even if it is fun?

If they bought Spider-man for the PS2, I’d agree with you. But instead they bought Rock Band. As I already wrote, Rock Band can be use to teach kids all about rhythm, about measures, the differences between quarter notes, 8th notes, etc., time signatures, and the like. All in a very fun and hands-on way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: It's a library

I couldn’t agree more, on both points. It is a library, not an arcade. I have nothing against arcades, they can be lots of fun. And probably, so can libraries. But not in the same way that arcades can.

I don’t see how these purchases are relevant. Sure, a PlayStation 2 would likely get kids through the doors, but beyond that how can you justify its contribution to engendering an interest in, say, literature or literacy?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: It's a library

So we should add a gun range as well because it can teach something?
And an elephant because there’s plenty of stuff to learn from them.

You are a fucking ignorant kid how needs a clue.
Shut up. You aren’t allowed to participate in grownup conversation anymore.
You fucked it up for yourself.

WOW ha! says:

Re: Re: Re:2 It's a library

“So we should add a gun range as well because it can teach something?”

That statement is invalid, even in jest, mainly because a game like Rock Band encourages kids to pursuit their dreams of being a musician. If that’s what libraries (in the decline) have to do to get more kids interested in reading/educating themselves, then so be it. At least they are trying something NEW and DIFFERENT.

Why are you so narrow-minded when it comes to education through different means of technology?

“You are a fucking ignorant kid how needs a clue.”

Apparently, you are the ignorant one.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 It's a library

“Why are you so narrow-minded when it comes to education through different means of technology?”

Because in spite of all of the open minded solutions out there kids are getting dumber and dumber.
Every time they reach a new level of asinine some open minded retard steps in with a snake oil solution.

Oh, and by the way, there are many more people making a living wielding a weapon than there are people making a living wielding a musical instrument. So back the fuck off and crawl back in your hole.

hmm says:

Re: Re: Re:4 It's a library

“Oh, and by the way, there are many more people making a living wielding a weapon than there are people making a living wielding a musical instrument”

Wow, way to miss the point. Let’s see…How many famous musicians can you name and are globally recognized and praised for their brilliance and/or their artistic reaction to their time period…as opposed to….How many famous gun makers can you name that are globally recognized and praised for their brilliance and/or artistic reaction to their time period.

See, it’s not about making money. That was never my argument nor will it ever be my argument. It’s about pursuing your artistic dreams when we live in a world that constantly bashes that notion down. Whether it’s acting, painting, sculpting or dancing. You will find more parents encouraging computer skills over dance skills with their kids.

“Because in spite of all of the open minded solutions out there kids are getting dumber and dumber.
Every time they reach a new level of asinine some open minded retard steps in with a snake oil solution.”

I’d like to know where you draw that conclusion from. Last I heard/read, America’s youth are reading more now than ever because of the Internet (more reading usually equals higher learning).

But all that aside, that part about open-mindedness is completely absurd. If there is any reason as to why children are not receiving the proper education it’s because of obsolete “solutions” to education not open-mindedness.

Apparently, I need to go back into my hole where my mind is more acceptable of change than yours. I’ll be happy to.

Oh, good luck raising a human being that knows how to love while you suppress their imagination and unique perspectives. They will thank you later for that 😉

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 It's a library

What about kids who dream of being sharpshooters? I guess there’s no place for them to pursue that dream at a public library. Luckily, there are shooting ranges where (depending on age, supervision, etc.) they can pursue that dream.

Maybe there are already places, like the range, where kids can pursue a career in music? Actual lessons in playing a musical instrument come to mind, as do music classes in school.

Even if an after-school music program took place at a library, wouldn’t that be a more productive way to let kids know a career in music is possible?

thank you says:

Re: Re: Re:4 It's a library

Very good argument.

The only flaw is that kids aren’t allowed to own or use guns. Also, libraries are public, where the local communities sort of dictate what direction they should be taking. I am not opposed to something like a firing range at a library if that’s what the community really wants because it’s completely applicable to their lifestyle.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 It's a library

I was hoping it would be clear that the kids and guns argument (based on someone’s earlier comment about a gun range) was a sort of tongue-in-cheek way to illustrate one of my actual points, about a library not being able to be everything for everyone.

Although, for the record, juveniles in Nebraska are apparently allowed to possess firearms if they are in the armed forces, or in the case of a temporary loan of a handgun for instruction under the immediate supervision of a parent or guardian or adult instructor. Live your dream, children. 😉

duane (profile) says:

Re: Re: It's a library

If you read other accounts of this report, specifically, http://cornfedgamer.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/nebraska-bureaucrat-says-games-and-libraries-dont-mix/, you’ll find that the librarians in Nebraska made them relevant. “They’ve been especially effective in bringing young people into libraries … and then they discover other resources in libraries.”
That’s how the stuff was used and sure some kids see the awesomeness of libraries and some kids see musty old books, indigents and computer equipment older than they are and they stay away.
Oh, and the amount in question, $420.

Tempest meet teapot.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: It's a library

Word of mouth advertising: $420 and incidental electricity.
Attracting youth to a place where the best way to kill time in line is to read a book?: Priceless.

This is the exact same theory that theme parks operate under. Except they aren’t charging admission. Theme parks have a few fun (often simple) rides with fixed maintenance costs. They have -tons- of shops which is that they’re really attracting you to.

So the library in question is just another example of using a common semi-scarce good (the game time, which as noted is also edutainment) to attract a community (the scarce good they want to cultivate/their profit).

another aspect says:

Re: Re: It's a library

Well how about this.

Little Joey loves Rock Band. He played that song from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He loves the Bass the most. He ends up really playing the bass, takes lessons and reads books about it…that he got from the library. Now he realizes, Flea is his inspiration, so now he takes out a book about Flea, from the library….WOW SO NOW HE READS MORE!!!!

This is not a slippery slope, this is reality. Many kids hearing music through a different medium encourages them to pursuit their dreams and end up educating themselves along the way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: It's a library

A good point, especially if library staff are working to actively integrate the game(s) with other library services. The responsibility of not letting Rock Band simply distract kids lies with them, I suppose.

@Ima Fish: I’m not sure why Rock Band is a “game” and not just a game. The fact that it might also teach the basics of music theory doesn’t make it any less a game, does it? And I’m not sure why you assume that someone who disagrees with you is simply uninformed. It’s not that I don’t understand how Rock Band works, it’s that I don’t think it necessarily needs to be featured at a library. Teaching rudimentary music theory (apparently a priority at public libraries?) is possible (and even fun) without spending public money on a PlayStation 2.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: It's a library

You do realize that libraries are more than just stacks of books, right? And that you can go there and read current and back issues of magazines and newspapers, and check out DVDs and music CDs (and in some libraries, you can probably still check out LPs and filmstrips).

Libraries are about seeking knowledge, and the knowledge sought is up to the individual library patron. While I may enjoy going to the library to read the newspaper, or listen to music, maybe you just like to go there for books. Does that make my use of the library any less relevant than yours? Is there some law that says people can’t ENJOY going to the library? Or do you require that it be a droll, boring experience, to distinguish it from an arcade?

Slackr says:

Re: Re: Re: It's a library

I run down no mans path. We all have brains and are not mindless consumers.

This community has plenty of vocal dissenters to Mike’s contributions. It doesn’t help that most of those voices provide no basis other than emotional pleas for their counter arguments.

Just because we may agree with posts here doesn’t mean we are blindly accepting them as gospel. If anything I’d say this community is adept at and encouraged to scrutinise things closely.

Ima Fish (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Sorry if I disagree with my tax money being spent on video games.

So are you totally against using tax dollars to teach about music? Because as I already wrote, Rock Band can be use to teach kids all about rhythm, about measures, the differences between quarter notes, 8th notes, etc., time signatures, and the like. All in a very fun and hands-on way.

some old guy (user link) says:

Re: Compare SAT scores by state

Apparently you fail at reading comprehension. That very same page suggests using that table as a ranking is a very bad idea. You have over 6x the participation in California as compared to Nebraska.

What that means is that only the top 8% of nebraskians took the test, compared to the top 49% of californians.

Those particular results dont show anything at all, except that Nebraska doesn’t value higher education. If it did, then there would be significantly more students taking SAT.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: Compare SAT scores by state

Uh, that was a pretty asinine thing to say, given that you just derided the previous poster for using the data for an improper conclusion.

As a former resident of Nebraska, and someone who went to college there, it reflects only the fact the Nebraska colleges and universities rely far more heavily on the ACT than the SAT. California is one of the most SAT-heavy states. I can’t and won’t argue the merits of either test, but the participation difference has NOTHING to do with how much people value higher education, and everything to do with the regional standardized test preference. Almost everyone in my Nebraska high school took the ACT. Only a few applying for specific scholarships or out-of-state schools took the SAT.

That said, your original statement before you got ridiculous is correct. The SAT scores are NOT a good method for comparison between states.

some old guy (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Compare SAT scores by state

You’re right, I am a little “behind the times” when it comes to current entrance qualification. I was still running under the guise that the SAT was still “the” test.

Thanks for the correction.

Nebraska ranks 13/50 for participation in ACT with over 72% taking it. That’s pretty indicative that they do indeed take higher education seriously.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Compare SAT scores by state

@17: “You have over 6x the participation in California as compared to Nebraska.

What that means is that only the top 8% of nebraskians took the test, compared to the top 49% of californians.”

Actually, the reason for the disparity in representation is that many schools in the midwest prefer that incoming freshmen take the ACT instead of the SAT.

Ed says:

Re: Compare SAT scores by state

have you by chance looked at the percentages of students taking the SAT in each place? I haven’t, but I’m willing to bet there are more kids in California taking the exam, or being made to take the exam(overbearing parents who want to make use of the low cost educational system in California).

Furthermore, the point is that kids may come in for the video games, but while they are waiting for a turn to play, they may just see something interesting and pick it up, like a book. I’m not saying that videogames are what libraries are for. I am a research librarian, and believe libraries are for education, but if it takes “Rock Band” to get kids in the door, the so be it. When was the last time you saw that many people using your public library for what it is intended?

anonymous coward says:

Really?!?!

Y’all r kidding, right? This is a colbert spoof, right? First, there is the assumption that libraries are bad and boring and kids dont like going there. I suspect the author has extrapolated own personal experience to be that of the entire nation. Here in the land of anonymous cowards, the libraries are cool and well used. With budget cuts forcing reduced hours, citizens are screaming. People like their libraries. People like books and multi media and learning and reading. At least, here in the land of anonymous cowards.

What is the mission of a library? Is it a place for babysitting and games. There are no games at my local library that I know of. There may be books on how to play games – how to build games – psychology of games – why game players are narcissistic dorks – but no games.

According to the American Library Association, “A library is a collection of resources in a variety of formats that is (1) organized by information professionals or other experts who (2) provide convenient physical, digital, bibliographic, or intellectual access and (3) offer targeted services and programs (4) with the mission of educating, informing, or entertaining a variety of audiences (5) and the goal of stimulating individual learning and advancing society as a whole.” In short, it is a repository of information for education and advancement.

Just not sure how buying a game console so kids can virtually shoot each other fits within that definition.

I think you have confused libraries with community centers. If you want a place for kids to hang out and play, fine. That is the mission of the community center, not the libary. And it is not generally up to the librarian to determine that the library should actually be a community center – most constitutional law reserves that power for the legislature (legislature decides how the money will be spent; executive actually spends it).

Your fondness for wasting time playing Playstation and your disdain for libraries clouds your objective ability to see the prudence in the state’s actions.

Ima Fish (profile) says:

Re: Really?!?!

Just not sure how buying a game console so kids can virtually shoot each other fits within that definition.

God, you didn’t even read the small blurb above before you started smashing your ignorant fingers on the keyboard. The library bought Rock Band. And as I already wrote, Rock Band can be use to teach kids all about rhythm, about measures, the differences between quarter notes, 8th notes, etc., time signatures, and the like. All in a very fun and hands-on way.

Which would carry out “the mission of educating, informing, or entertaining a variety of audiences” by “stimulating individual learning.”

Jess (user link) says:

Re: Re: Really?!?!

Man, I hope you really repeat this same lame point that barely justifies video games in the library a few more times.

I mean, we might as well put GTA IV in the library because it teaches kids about marksmanship, economics, contemporary satire, immigration policy into the USA, and so on.

You can rationalize just about anything – that doesn’t automatically make said rationalization a valid point.

One more thing… since when do you need to get kids *interested* in trying to learn an instrument? Especially the Guitar, Drums, and Bass. Who didn’t want to be in a band at that age (or now, for that matter). Who needs more inspiration than their favorite rock star?

But in this time of economic and social crisis do we really need to be spending TAX DOLLARS on video games for a library instead of trying to hammer home the point that without some SERIOUS changes made NOW this generation growing up, idling their time away with such aimless endeavors as playing fake plastic instruments to canned musics is DOOMED.

DOOMED through no fault of their own. Guilty only of coming in at the tail-end of a decadent downward spiral. Though, in my opinion, we should probably just keep arguing about trivialities like this and pointing the finger at political scarecrows…

yeah? says:

Re: Really?!?!

“(4) with the mission of educating, informing, or entertaining a variety of audiences (5) and the goal of stimulating individual learning and advancing society as a whole.”

Did you just feel like not reading your own quotes? rock band has been proven to do both #4 and #5.

but apparently, listening to music at a library (where one can also check out CDs and DVDs) is more acceptable than listening via video game.

What about computers with games on them that teach kids math/reading/keyboarding skills? Why are those acceptable but Rock Band isn’t? Oh wait, I know why, our society encourages maybe 3 subjects in school, Art isn’t one of them. Sad.

Oh, BTW, nowhere in the article does it claim that they are playing Call of Duty or Halo. They got the console strictly for music-related games like Rock Band.

Idealistilizator says:

Re: Really?!?!

I would definetly have a negative opinion on this matter if only the game in judgement would have been a first person shooter, or a countless time-sink rpg. Since the game is Rockband, a family-fun game that teaches coordination, timing, and patience, this may not have been such a bad buy on the librarians part.

The library would have probably spent more money on a single visit from a half-arsed magician or clown that can tie balloons into the shape of a guitar. The librarian took a step forward and spent money on something that will last not for 3 hours, but quite possible for years.

The system in question is a PS2, not a 300$ xbox or a 400$ PS3. 1. The system can be had for under 50$. 2. The rockband bundle for ps2 is only 100$. 3. The librarian didnt go out and spend almost a 1000$ on a high end system that is built for gaming and high graphics performance, he/she just bought something that gets the job done for minimal cost.

I would like to congratulate the librarian on taking initiative in trying to introduce new concepts to a library. It may have been wise to consult with the library director before making the purchase, but sometimes things dont work as they are supposed to. Adding a rockband to a library would definetly get those damned kids off the computers playing flash games, so I can get my work done. 😀

Differnt Mike says:

Those games actually do teach

I read a very interesting article recently (sorry, but I don’t have a link) that was interviewing a music teacher at a junior high school. The teacher was saying that interest in musical instruments, specifically drums and guitar, has exploded recently, with many of his students saying that Guitar Hero/Rock band is what got them interested in learning the real thing. Learning of a musical instrument is very beneficial to young minds(my opinion). Considering the small investment that the purchase of a PS2 and the games are I really don’t see how this could be viewed as a waste of funds. Isn’t the goal of the library to teach new things?

Norm says:

Re: Re: Those games actually do teach

I do like the idea of a music room – but it does go against the shhhing librarian.

Clarinets have long been the bane of music in my opinion. If kids were given bass, guitar and drums and clarinets were burned I think we’d have a lot more good music for you folks to steal….er….download as is your right.

Happy Phil (user link) says:

Research can be fun

Even in this age of internet resources, I enjoy getting books at the library. There are books of games for children and learning, “Toy’s”, so why not computer games. Some of those kids might read a book while they wait for their turn at, “Guitar hero”.

I would not put too much faith in the SAT’s. They don’t include history or civics.

Sergio says:

Libraries have a failing business model

Their actions make perfect sense to me. The library as we knew it is no longer really all that necessary. I agree that having a repository of information is important, but if very few people go to the library for the purpose of reading books, then they need to do something else to keep open. For this latest generation, libraries pretty much serve as places they have to go to get a research paper done for school and have something listed in the bibliography.

20 years ago, if I wanted to learn how a jet engine worked, I would have to go to a library and find books on jet engines. Today there’s HowStuffWorks.com or Wikipedia.

One person mentioned that they had a problem with their tax dollars going towards video games. I have a problem with my tax dollars going to a building that is basically storing millions of books that I will never need to read. If they can use the extra free time they now have to perform some other service, especially something educational like Rock Band, it makes me feel a lot better about it.

Slackr says:

Off the streets and into the library

Personally I could think of much worse ideas than putting an attractive and appealing activity for kids into a library – regardless of its ‘questionable’ worth. Isn’t half the problem with libraries getting the kids through the door (and not those geeky ones that would go regardless of the PS2+RockBand)?

Anonymous Coward says:

Norm…

Libraries are becoming amazingly unused. Public libraries, anyway. Libraries attached to university campuses seem to stay in use quite a lot.

With the internet making reading very easy to get (either illegally or legally, I guess), there’s basically no need for kids to go to the library now. Research for a school project? Wikipedia. And so on.

Anything a library can do just to get kids in there to begin with is very useful.

Friendly Neighborhood Librarian says:

Re: library games

Wow. Libraries unused. Shall I tell that to the thirty people I just counted within my eyesight sitting here at the children’s reference desk? The two at the self checkout machines, four at the main desk, three picking out music CDs, one looking for videos, 6 at computers, and all the moms & kids getting picture books and 1st-2nd grade books? This isn’t counting all the people not in my view on the other side of shelving units, upstairs, or in the meeting rooms and lobby. How about the 7 people I just signed up for new cards in the past hour and 45 minutes? They just need another piece of plastic in their wallet?

Our building visits are up. Our circulation statistics are up. We can’t keep up with reshelving materials. My staff at the front desk are constantly busy. Our computer classes fill up within an hour of opening for registration…

On what do you base this statement, “Libraries are becoming amazingly unused”?

Library guy says:

Re: Re: library games

I think it must be based on ignorance – clearly going by some of the comments here many of the posters have never been to a public library, but are experts nonetheless.
“Behold my mighty powers of ignorance!!!” “See how I ignore your logical arguments while making glib comments about shooting ranges and SAT scores.”

I’m not crazy about videogames in the library, but it’s clear from experience that once you get the kids in, they will start to use the library’s other facilities as well.

TW Burger (profile) says:

Public Money and Public Opinion

Both the pro and the against sides of this debate have valid points. A library is a place of learning, research, and discovery not a public rec-room. On the other hand anything that gets children into a library is good.

Perhaps the money would have been better spent in another manner like offering a small stipend to local actors for acting out childrens’ stories, buying more books, or hiring more staff (although a Play Station is hardly a large expense in comparison).

If the games on the machine were war based or one of those awful GTA insults to humanity I would be against the purchase. But Guitar Hero is fun and could lead to a serious interest in music.

Anonymous Coward says:

The purchase of gaming equipment is a questionable use of public funds. It is common knowledge that children enjoy games and toys, so there appears to have been little need to purchase the games.

WTF????
Questionable use of public funds???

And the Stimulus wasn’t?

Maybe he should so some digging into what politicians are using ‘public funds’ for. I’m sure, if he’s an intellectually honest person, he will find COUNTLESS examples of MUCH more waste – at least this has a *chance* of helping out society.

Anonymous Coward says:

Nebraska Libraries

I have been a Nebraska resident my whole life, and I use to go to the local library (town of 1000) and play video games on the computer 15 years ago. When I go to the library now there are kids on the computers playing video games all the time. Our auditor isn’t very keen to what has been going on for many years. Also I need to find that library with rock band. While on libraries, here we can stream movies online from the library to our house and you can even check out audio books to listen to on you home computer without going to the library. And lastly almost very few people here take the SAT almost everyone takes the ACT.

Anonymous Coward says:

li⋅brar⋅y

 /ˈlaɪˌbrɛri, -brəri, -bri/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [lahy-brer-ee, -bruh-ree, -bree] Show IPA
–noun, plural -brar⋅ies.
1. a place set apart to contain books, periodicals, and other material for reading, viewing, listening, study, or reference, as a room, set of rooms, or building where books may be read or borrowed.
2. a public body organizing and maintaining such an establishment.
3. a collection of manuscripts, publications, and other materials for reading, viewing, listening, study, or reference.
4. a collection of any materials for study and enjoyment, as films, musical recordings, or maps.
5. a commercial establishment lending books for a fixed charge; a lending library.
6. a series of books of similar character or alike in size, binding, etc., issued by a single publishing house.
7. Biology. a collection of standard materials or formulations by which specimens are identified.
8. canon 1 (def. 9).
9. Computers. a collection of software or data usually reflecting a specific theme or application.
Origin:
1300–50; ME libraire

cycloneandy (profile) says:

Nebraskan Testimonial

I’m a “recent” High School grad of a Nebraska public school (2001) and I have to say that my education in that “backwards” state more than adequately prepared me for my B.S. in Construction Engineering (ABET accredited) from Iowa State, a well-respected engineering university:
http://www.ccee.iastate.edu/academics/undergrad-construction.html

In no way would I say that the state of NE is lacking in it’s education system. I would also say that the officials at my schools put a very high emphasis on going to college… therefore a high emphasis was placed on the ACT/SAT exams. And, as it was previously mentioned, since NE is in the middle of the country, most students have to find out the specific requirements of the schools they are interested in before signing up for the exams. Different schools want to see different test scores.I personally took the ACT and scored in the top 95% nationally. My peers were also consistently above the 80% mark.

All I wanted to say with this is:
#1 – Nebraska has electricity, running water, and indoor plumbing. I’m sure they’ve had it just as long as the rest of the country.
#2 – Although you might see one every once in a while, not everyone rides a horse and buggy. Some of the cars are old and rusty, but the state isn’t one big set for Bonanza.
#3 – Education is a big factor to the state of Nebraska, and if you look at only statistics, you’re inevitably going to miss out on the human factor of information (like my personal account).

Jack Thompson says:

More of the same

First the libraries refuse to burn books about killing (did you know they lend out military manuals – SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO TEACH SOLDIERS HOW TO EFFICIENTLY MURDER BABIES) , but now they’re wasting AMERICAN TAX DOLLARS from AMERICANS in AMERICA to buy murder simulators for our children?!?!

John says:

I agree that a game console of any kind does NOT belong in a library. Not because I hate video consoles and the games (because I do), but, simply because knowing the breadth and depth of devices/software/games, it was an ignorant and extremely educationally limited venture. “I am now a professional at playstation” ???
A modern dual core intel cpu based computer along with a decent joystick (& headphones) would allow for a plethora of freely downloadable games (reallyrathergoodbattlesinspace-1) as well as MAME itself which has thousands of really cool free roms. Not as easy as plugging a box in and feeding it a disc, but doesn’t every library have a network admin nowadays?
Besides, rockband would only be useful (NOT) to kids who not only owned their own guitar but practiced at home. Even an animal can follow a beat. Wanna teach ’em music? Buy software that actually does this. Rockband is an insult to music education.

Mr Clark says:

Good on them!

When I was a kid (over 2.5 decades ago) my local library didn’t just have books, it had board games as well, and other toys. Sometimes my friends and I would go there just for the board games, but if the games we wanted were taken, we’d grab a book and read while waiting.
Now assuming there is only ONE console, you’re going to get people that want to play when other people are using it, so it stands to mind that they’ll either pick up a book or use some of the other library services while waiting (ie computers if it has them.. etc)
I think this is a good idea, if they can get more kids through the doors, and even get ONE kid to start reading more, then it is money well spent.. too many illiterate brats floating around these days, lazy parents and underpaid /underpowered teachers…

Steven (profile) says:

Qué?

It is common knowledge that children enjoy games and toys, so there appears to have been little need to purchase the games.

Sounds a bit counter-intuitive, dont you think? The kids enjoy the games and toys, so dont buy them so they wont have fun. Maybe it’s just my 17 year old mind at work here, but I think if my library had video games I would definatly go there. It would be a better place to meet with friends. And while kids are waiting for a turn, they might find a nice book that they like. If nothing, it will increase traffic at the library. It’s impossible to see this as a bad thing. And atleast she didn’t buy a PS3 or Xbox 360. PS2s are pretty cheap so it’s not like it was a huge waste of money. Put the system in it’s own room with some books to maybe spark intrest and books around it and BAM, presto-change-o, you have advertising to books people might read!

Different Mike says:

Difference in arguments

It’s actually quite entertaining to read the differences in arguments between the sides on this one. On one side we have people who support it who seem to bring up very good, logical points and are good at expressing their thoughts. On the other side we have people who are against it who seem to make arguments based on circular logic, misapplied statistics, and emotion.

Very entertaining.

SunKing says:

No, just NO.

Pfffft… a Playstation in a library is rediculous. Get it out of there. It’s not a place for being entertained nor a creche ffs.

“What if the library moved books and magazines about music near the game? Suddenly you’ve got kids interested in music, playing a game, taking turns, possibly reading the books near them about the very song they just played when they aren’t playing. Next to this, you have CDs of the bands in the game.”

If if takes such desperate trickery just to get kids to read a book then I’m guessing that they’re just not interested in it. What next? A pool table and widescreen TV showing cartoons? Why not have free sweets? Or just offer people money to come a read a book! Please! Someone! Anyone! PLEASE READ A BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sheri Stebanuk says:

disagree

I would have to say that although the intent is to get the kids into the libraries, video games do not have a place here. Under the assumption that a library is still a place people (students/public) go to study, read, relax, etc., video games (unless in a separate room) would highly disrupt patrons that are there to use the library for its’ traditional and original purposes. Video games in this day and age motivate people (young and old) to be more active; which is just one reason why they would not work in a place that is supposed to be quiet and peaceful.

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