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Canada Media The Almighty Buck Games News

Canadian Libraries Want $300,000 To Buy Games 229

Posted by timothy
from the but-nothing-that-can't-get-past-the-border dept.
AirborneGamer writes "The Toronto Public Library is asking for $300K to build up a collection of video games. They have not said if they will buy all types of games, or leave out the M-rated ones. As the City Councilor of Toronto said about the project, 'It may be the only time a young person comes in. It can act as a magnet to attract people. Once we get them in there, you can be darn sure that our librarians will be hard at work to introduce them to everything else the library can offer.' This is a good plan actually, and besides bringing kids into the library it will bring in parents and or guardians who otherwise may not visit the library on their own."
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Canadian Libraries Want $300,000 To Buy Games

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  • by trdrstv (986999) on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:18AM (#31655482)
    Libraries are becoming increasingly less relevant to the generations who grew up with the internet at their disposal. I personally only made the trips back to the library when they started offering DVD's/ Blurays.
    • Books still do in-depth coverage that just isn't being done by the vast majority of the sites on the Internet.

      They also have the advantage of better editing (compare, for example, to slashdot ...)

      Libraries also do other things than just lend out books - if you or someone you know has pre-school kids, for example, you might want to check out their other programs. Ditto for pretty much any other age group, right up to seniors.

      As a meeting place, they're also a lot safer than the local bar.

      This is a great idea.

      • As a meeting place, they're also a lot safer than the local bar.

        It struck me as odd that the local library had a condom machine in the toilet, but maybe I'm just missing out on some of the more modern uses for a library.

        I've actually only just joined the library. They have much newer books than Project Gutenberg, so I can read recent fiction for free (and since I can get through most novels in an afternoon, it's a lot cheaper than buying them). I'm currently in the process of moving house, and after creating a large stack of boxes of books I'm a lot less keen on th

        • As they said on Family Guy:

          "What's a library, dad?"
          "Oh, it's just a place where homeless people come to shave and go BM."
          - Chris and Peter in Peter Griffin: Husband, Father...Brother? "
      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        The web is quick 'n' dirty information, like indeed on /. It's where you see it first - or well at least well before the information arrives in book form. Traditional newspapers are in between. Way faster than books though lagging well behind web sites.

        Books are great for reference of slowly-changing information, though web sites and e-books have their merit in that realm too. Books are certainly unbeaten when it comes to historical reference.

        Nevertheless I believe books are here to stay for a long time t

      • Not necessarily... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Pollux (102520) <`ge.ten.atadet' `ta' `reteps'> on Monday March 29, 2010 @09:38AM (#31656202) Journal

        As a meeting place, they're also a lot safer than the local bar.

        My mother's assistant director at a suburban public library. They just developed a "youth center," filled with Wii & Playstation consoles to attract youth to the library and give them a place to hang out.

        What they soon discovered was that it got more attention than they expected. Kids would just loiter there all day on the weekend, or all evening on weekdays. Many parents also dropped their kids off at the library in the morning and left them there all day. The library isn't built to be a babysitting service, but lots of parents didn't see it that way. They started having problems with graffiti, fights, turf wars, and other general mischief, and complaints from the general patrons have been on the rise.

        Free video games in public places may attract kids, but they often attract the wrong kind of kids. The jury's out on whether or not the attraction actually increases awareness and utilization of the public library.

    • Libraries provide the internet. Have you been to one lately? They've been adding computers for people from the community to use for free.
  • by dmgxmichael (1219692) on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:20AM (#31655492) Homepage
    Sure you can play Super Street Fighter IV Jimmy, as soon as you finish reading War and Peace :D
  • by Drethon (1445051) on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:21AM (#31655496)
    In Michigan our local library always carried computer games. Not always up to date but a good selection of Maxis games, tycoon types and even a few shooters. It seemed to work out quite well to me...
    • In Michigan our local library always carried computer games. Not always up to date but a good selection of Maxis games, tycoon types and even a few shooters. It seemed to work out quite well to me...

      I don't think the ones in the Capitol Area District Library (near Lansing) do. :/

      They used to charge to load out video games (but not computer games), at least during the Genesis/SNES era. When I say "charge" it was actually fairly cheap. Something like $1 for 5 days.

      I'm pretty sure they don't do this any more

    • by RJFerret (1279530)

      The library of a friend of mine loans out not just games, but entire game systems. I'm not sure if teens check it out as much as older people, or which department it's kept in. I kind of doubt they're kept in the teen department where general circulation might miss them.

      eReaders too, despite being in violation of the user agreement for one big name reader, who of course has gained many sales after patrons try it and subsequently buy their own.

  • DRM? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeFM (12491) on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:21AM (#31655500) Homepage Journal
    I wonder how DRM would work out with this sort of concept. If the game tries to keep itself from passing from user to user.
    • by dingen (958134)
      I'm sure there's a solution for this, as you can rent games from lots of places other than the library, right? Maybe there are special editions of the games which are specially made for rental and not meant for sale or something?
      • I'm sure there's a solution for this, as you can rent games from lots of places other than the library, right?

        At least in the United States, 17 USC 109 reserves the right to rent or lend copies of computer programs exclusively to the copyright owner with three exceptions: 1. nonprofit libraries, 2. software embedded into a device that can't be copied out of the device, and 3. console games. So nonprofit libraries are the only place that one can try PC games without a demo before buying them. What does Canada's copyright statute say about this?

  • Good idea, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kokuyo (549451) on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:22AM (#31655510) Journal

    All the popular titles use some kind of DRM. Did they keep this in mind? What will the publishers say? Are there for rent versions or will the librarians just have to go and unlock the games through dozens of different hotlines or however this works?

    Or are they only talking about console games?

    • by trdrstv (986999)
      For computer games I don't think this is feasable anymore. I'm assuming they mean console games. OTOH, it would be nice if they included links on the Library's page for DRM free PC games made available by the Publisher. Things like C&C, GTA, and the 'Elder Scrolls' I &II are free to download.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      And that is exactly why you should do what ever you can to get as many games as possible into the library. If you want someone champing fair use to the industry, you couldn't do better the librarians.

  • by somersault (912633) on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:23AM (#31655514) Homepage Journal

    Ooh, Super Mario Brothers! Well, if you like this, you may also like:

    The Encyclopaedia of Plumbing
    The Mushroom Index: food, fun, or poison?
    Carnivorous plants of South America
    The Princess Diaries

    • I hope they'll have better recommendations than the one the company I rent films from uses for their online streaming section. At the end of pretty much everything I've watched, it's told me that Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption are at the top of the 'more like this' list. I've never seen a film that is like both of those, and I'm not certain that I'd want to.
    • Obviously you remember the days of HotBot web search.
    • Ooh, Super Mario Brothers! Well, if you like this, you may also like:

      Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Carroll. The SMB1 team cited this book as an inspiration.

  • by dingen (958134) on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:24AM (#31655526)
    Back in the early '90ies, I got loads of games from the public city library in my home town. It was especially great for adventure games, because they have a limited replay value anyway. And my library got all the CD-ROM versions, which meant you could get full speech on games like Day of the Tentacle, which was awesome of course.
  • I've seen video games in my library for a couple years now.
  • by C4st13v4n14 (1001121) on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:31AM (#31655586)

    I'm an American living in Norway and I was shocked to find that my local library has a large collection of Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 games that can be checked out. They also have a sound-proof room where you can play Guitar Hero and Rock Band, as well as a large collection of contemporary music CDs with everything from Metallica to obscure Norwegian music. You can listen to them there or check them out. My wife checked one out and lost it, only finding it several months later and they didn't even make her pay a fee or a late charge. I've been here a while now but back when I had just moved here and was learning Norwegian, I used to go in and use the computers. They had children's games with everything from Oregon Trail-type clones to Harry Potter. It helped me learn vocabulary that wasn't in my books and get a working knowledge of the language, not just the grammatically-correct style that almost no one speaks. One day, a new bitchy librarian decided that I wasn't allowed to use the ones with the games on them because they're "for children", even though there are ten of those PCs and hardly any children in there. Norwegians can be like that, but I digress. I never counted how many PCs they actually have in there, but there are at least 30 for surfing the web, research, or looking through the library's online catalogues. Interestingly, the ones for games run Windows and all the others run Linux.

    • by CRCulver (715279)

      I'm an American living in Finland and am similarly amazed at what is on offer in the public libraries here. Heck, here the library even has real musical instruments you can reserve. Very rarely do I not find a CD I'm looking for in the libraries here, and I like some pretty obscure music. Yes, Nordic libraries are just one of the reasons I've decided I'm here to stay.

    • by eht (8912)

      I am an American Living in America, and my local libraries have video games, mostly Wii, PS3, Xbox360, I have not seen any computer video games. By local libraries I mean 37 in my county alone with the ability to get materials from any library in northern NJ.

      http://mainlib.org/ [mainlib.org]

      • by Simonetta (207550)

        I am an Oregonian living in pre-secessionist Cascadia/Ecotopia. Our libraries have books, DVDs, audio CDs, graphic novels/zines, newspapers, magazines, broadband web access, and Wi-Fi. No musical instruments, electronics, software, or games.

        Our libraries are crowded with people from all over the world. Trying to learn how to live and thrive in their new country. After our separation from the USA, which will probably happen within twenty years, I hope that they choose to stay with us. E

    • ...as an American living in Norway, you ARE aware that Norway is a state awash in petrodollars, yes?

      It pretty much destroys the point I think you were trying to make, ie "lookit all the cool stuff they have in their libraries, they don't even charge late fees!!"

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CRCulver (715279)

        All the Nordic countries have libraries like this, and only Norway has significant amounts of oil. As I posted above, in Finland, where the only natural resource is wood (and Brazil is beating us out on wood exports these days) and there isn't much to the economy besides Nokia, the libraries are just as good. It's simply a different use of citizen's taxes than in other countries.

  • The Netherlands (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Aggrajag (716041) on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:32AM (#31655594)
    I lived in the Netherlands about ten years ago and my local library had an extensive collection of music and movies (VHS and DVD). In addition they had quite a lot of older PC-games. The best part was their kick ass English book section with a lot of sci-fi and fantasy.
    • by thomst (1640045)

      I now live in rural southern Ohio. My library has a modest selection of DVDs, no PC games, and one aisle of Manga, graphic novels, science fiction, and fantasy - and most of the sf/fantasy section is Star Wars novels, fantasy series aimed at idiots, and similar dreck. Not ONE Heinlein novel. No Zelazny. No Iain M. Banks. No ... but you get the picture.

      I feel like I'm living in a third-world country, here - or at least a third-rate one ...

  • Call me conservative (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lord Byron II (671689) on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:34AM (#31655610)

    But I hate the idea of tax money going to frivolous things like this. Personally, I can't stand that my library lends DVDs and music too. Public libraries, in my opinion, should solely be about self-improvement and betterment. Books, movies, and music should be classics, self-help, technical, etc. It doesn't make a lot of sense to have the library just be a surrogate Blockbuster/Netflix/Gamefly.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:42AM (#31655686)

      Libraries are there to upkeep culture and the arts, and modern media and video games are very much a part of our culture. Just because something isn't "Moby Dick" doesn't mean it isn't poignant or worthwhile.

    • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Monday March 29, 2010 @09:03AM (#31655838)

      We won't call you "conservative," we'll just call you short-sighted and ill-informed.

      The "classics" for which you pine were once upon a time a previous generation's pop culture, in very many cases. And I wish I had a dollar for every kid who picked up a copy of Bullfinch or Hamilton after playing a game in the "God of War" series -- or watching a season of Xena, for that matter.

      Culture is one long conversation, the present building upon the past, creating the shapers of its future. Guys like you who want to pick, choose, and control aren't enabling Art, you're obstructing her.

    • +1

      Call me conservative also, but I think libraries should be places of knowledge. I think the intentions of the Toronto libraries are good, but 'getting kids through the door with video games' is IMO naive -- as in it doesn't work like that (from my experience).

      When pop CDs/DVDs were introduced at my local library, it slowly turned into a 'hang-out' space where chatter was ok because the librarians didn't want to confront or play the 'stickler librarian' role. Did it achieve the goal of getting non-reader
    • Not conservative (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)

      Short sighted would be more correct. I do understand that it can be confusing with Neo-Cons destroying everything conservative.

      DVD lending has given me and my kids looks into other cultures. An example of that would be Anime.
      An added bonus is that going to the library is a normal experience for my children.

      "Public libraries, in my opinion, should solely be about self-improvement and betterment. "
      So no sci-fi? romance?

      who do you think you are where you get to tell people they need for self-improvement and be

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RJFerret (1279530)

      Don't presume it's tax dollars. At a large library here, they are no longer buying DVDs in favor of Bluray because the donor who provides money for the video collection now wants Bluray.

      Also don't forget, the form of media delivery doesn't impact it's value of "self-improvement and betterment".

      Libraries were formed as surrogate book stores, specifically to bring content to a wider audience. They are currently in a significant shift as their patrons are demanding fewer books and more online/electronic reso

  • Our local library does this. they have XBox 360, PS3, and Wii games available (I think PS2 as well, but not sure). It's definitely a great way to get folks into the library and see what else might be in there.

  • My libraries has popular videos. Frugal people go there and check out videos. There is no real educational purpose to it. I think it is ok because there part of what a library does is provide a cultural reference, which does include the popular tv shows and movies. Die Hard, for instance, provides a unique cultural path of America over the past 20 years or so.

    Video games now serve that function and having them in libraries is probably long overdue. The only issue I see is which console to support. Unl

  • by JoeWalsh (32530) on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:45AM (#31655706)

    Why can't they just download them for free like everyone else?

  • Why don't they just spend a couple o' grand on porno.

    I remember my formative years spent in the school library, searching the dictionary for all the rude words. While I was there, I noticed some other books as well.

  • You could convert a library into a cybercafe or a disco, and that may atract more/different type of people. But thats not really atracting more people to a library, more like atracting people to a cybercafe/disco that use to be a library.

    The idea sould be make the library more interesting, that could be adding a cybercafe to it, anything really, but thats that "fit" the existing things, so the core of the experience is not damaged.

    If you want to make a romantic sci-fi movie, your first step can't be to drop

    • by geekoid (135745)

      You are stupid.

      Hoe id checking out a book, different from a movie? CD? Video game?

      Unless 'library' means something else in Canada then it does in the US, then this fits in perfectly with what they do. Mayne they use a metric library~

  • Maybe some locals can donates some game that aren't used too much?

  • Pay the kids to go into the library :)
  • "Harry Potter is selling well, so kids are reading more books!", went the cry. As it turned out, kids were just reading more Harry Potter. There was no halo effect.
  • Do you stop carrying books if they move to books on tape? Do libraries refuse to carry fiction? No. Libraries are places where we store and share media, not just written words. Video games are the new media and deserve to be stored. As for copyright protection, the library should have the legal write to circumvent it, but the holders will probably object and attempt to use the force of law to prevent it.
  • Wouldn't they achieve the same result by carrying game strategy guides? That way kids are actually learning to go to a library to use it for research purposes. Some may not agree that the research topic is worthwhile, but I can't believe those detractors would think video games themselves would hold more research value.

  • A link to a blog with no sources or names. Great.

    Here's a link to the actual story [thestar.com] with things like details

    Some notes:

    1. It isn't "The City Councilor". This is ONE city councilor. There are 44 of them. This has been pitched by one (Adam Vaughan). This is like one senator saying "We should do something about Washington's birthday", and being reported as "US Government Changes Washington's Birthday"
    2. Mr. Vaughan sits on (amongst other boards) The Library Board [wikipedia.org]. So is it any surprise he's pitching a radical plan
  • Much like many older "brick and mortar" stores have had to do to survive over the years, libraries need to follow suit. They either need to feature a very strong online presence (as in actually useful) or merge their resources together into a massive central location that's easily accessible and relatively clean/safe.

    In recent years, libraries have gotten a bad rap for stock-housing materials that are so outdated that the materials themselves are either no longer relevant or are now historically inaccurate.

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