The Sacramento Public Library is the target of recent criticism due to its upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops tournament.
Libraries have been scrambling to gain the attention of the world's new technology-focused population, and one effective method they've found is to embrace the videogame. Videogames and videogame tournaments are not uncommon to see in public libraries these days, but not everybody is happy that kids are playing games in such close proximity to books.
According to the Sacramento Bee, The Sacramento Public Library is planning to host a Call of Duty: Black Ops tournament as part of its humorously named "Nerd Fest." Even though the library will only allow those 17 and older to play, the tournament is still attracting the ire of activists that likely have nothing better to do than rail on videogame violence... again.
"If they come in there for video game violence, are they ever going to go in there for books?" community television talk show host Jeanie Keltner asked. She, the Sacramento chapter of Veterans for Peace, and other activists are reportedly calling on the Sacramento Public Library to cancel this and any future Black Ops events.
Library director Rivkah Sass isn't backing down and says that the tournament will proceed on December 11 as planned. Her opinion is that it makes the community aware that the library has something for everyone, and is "simply providing a program and people are free to attend or not." Dr. Steven Schlozman of the Department of Child Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital echoes her positivity, and told the Bee: "This might be an opportunity for the library and the veterans group to talk a little bit about war, not in an angry way, but to tell the kids, 'You should know this is a game, and it's different than going to war.'"
It should be obvious that I'm totally biased and going to side the the library here. While libraries used to be the go to place for research or a little weekend reading, iPhones, Nintendo DSs, and the internet have reduced their overall reach. Libraries face figuring out new ways to get kids and adults inside, or extinction, and the Ghostbusters won't always be around to save them. Besides, once dozens of teenagers enter a library, I bet at least a few would end up wandering over to the history section to read a little bit about what Black Ops' conflicts were fought over, and that's really the ultimate goal isn't it?