The library at the University of Calgary is going to become way more fun in the coming months.
We could go on and on about how schools are embracing videogames for use in education, as is the case with students being required to play Portal, StarCraft being used to teach managerial skills, and even textbooks becoming RPGs, but then we'd be here all day. Instead, we should just move ahead and examine the latest merger of videogames and school, which involves the University of Calgary adding videogames to its library for "study and research."
Jerremie Clyde, a college librarian, is pioneering the videogame collection of the university's library which is scheduled to be released to students in March 2011. Signing out games will work in the same way as it does for books. Let's just hope the library creates a penalty ruleset to prevent mishandling because some people really don't know how to take care of their videogames.
In addition to game sign-outs, students will be able to play games in "multimedia rooms" in the library itself. Part of Clyde's goal is to show the oblivious that videogames aren't just making people kill each other and beat up prostitutes. He points out that games can be used to study "history, procedural rhetoric, human-computer interaction, feminist studies, and casualty-free epidemiology" too.
And the awesome librarian doesn't think that students will abuse the videogame collection, which when complete will contain games from Atari to Xbox 360. "There's potential for students to goof off already," he says. "They have games in iPhones and smartphones, web-based games like Farmville, they're already there. This doesn't really add to that ... As soon as you have to do it for study and research, it becomes a bit like work. You find yourself slogging through a game, wondering how a developer has done something, or looking for how it's rendering light, and it becomes a bit of a slog."
"People will be treating [games] the same as books or film documentaries," Clyde believes. He calls videogames a "sophisticated media form," and is "surprised" that more universities haven't been doing the same thing.
Clyde appears to have an answer to any criticism of the project, even towards budgetary concerns, because the collection won't even use "half-a-percent" of the library's $9 million budget. If you'll excuse me, I have to go "study" now.
Thanks for the tip PedroSteckecilo!