Published on April 24th, 2015 | by Amanda Gomez
Creating a Gaming Analysis Lab in an Academic Library
About a year ago, a professor in our Arts department at the Sul Ross State University came into the library asking for a space where students could analyze video games. The University recently added a Computer Science Gaming Technology program and he would be assisting in developing classes in design.
He also hoped for equipment and games that the library budget alone would not be able to support. Luckily, a grant was able to assist with funding.
What items did we choose?
The library would purchase with departmental funds the following:
- 58 Playstation2 games
- 25 Playstation 3 games
- 20 Wii games
- 15 XBOX games
- 16 XBOX360 games
Selection of these items relied on the gaming department, however they were flexible and suggested that I add or delete items from the list. As the Collection Development Librarian, I had final decision-making power. It’s one of the perks. The gaming lab would also rely heavily on donations. An advertisement was placed in our local paper and soon donations were coming in. Among these donations were
- 28 Nintendo games
- 4 Gameboy games
- 13 Super Nintendo games
- 1 Sega Genesis game
We also received some odds and ends like Gameboy attachments, and Nintendo Power magazines. All other equipment such as 2 computer monitors, Alienware hard drives, gaming consoles and television were purchased with grant funding.
Circulation Policies & Security
The gaming room only accommodates four people at a time. We decided on this limitation in order to prevent excess noise and theft. The video games themselves do not have any security on them but are shelved behind the circulation desk. We have a binder with a list of the games and accessories that can be checked out. Accessories are for in-house use only while games can leave the building. Only faculty, staff and students have the ability to check out video games but anyone can request the use of our gaming room and use of the Alienware computer and its uploaded games. All of our hardware is bolted to the wall.
So far, the issues we’ve had are not related to theft or noise which is what we had expected. Instead, our problems are technical such as students changing passwords on our computers and removing software that we had uploaded. We have created signage for our “Rules of Conduct.”
There are two groups on campus that support gaming and use the lab and our materials often. One is a general gaming group that meets twice a week. On Thursdays they discuss issues in gaming or design and on Saturdays they participate in gaming. The other group is a competitive gaming group that organizes teams to compete in gaming activities.
I am the advisor for the competitive gaming group and we hope to have programs in the library to teach new users how to play and encourage community users to participate as well. In addition, we are in the early stages of planning a mini-con where gaming will be an integral part of the event.